Dear Ms. Cards Etiquette,
A neighbor had a son die in Iraq last year. Is it appropriate to send a Sympathy card to them on Memorial Day?
Sadly, Nancy, this is not an uncommon question.
Memorial Day, more than ever, is a day when military families must face the death of their loved ones. During all the pomp and circumstance, they stand with their heads held high, often holding back tears. While they are proud of their relative for defending our country and doing a job that many of the rest of us do not have the guts to do, they also know that they were not near their loved one in the last hours of their life.
It is a particularly difficult time, and it is important for friends to be supportive.
However, to your question, a sympathy card is only used one time: when the funeral has been announced or if you have just heard of the person’s death. Since you have known of this person’s death, and, I am assuming, have already sent one sympathy card, then you don’t want to send another one.
This is, however, a perfect time for a thinking of you card to let the family know they are in your thoughts. Since this is your neighbor, you might also want to drop by and say hello or attend the Memorial Day services with them.