Miss Card Etiquette,
A business associate passed away a little over a month ago. We just learned about the sad news recently, and we are unsure if we should send a note with our condolences or just ‘let it go.’ We wonder if it is considered rude to send anything at this point since so much time has passed. What should we do?
Condolences are definitely something that should be expressed immediately, when at all possible. But if you didn’t learn about someone’s passing until a month after the fact, you can certainly still send a sympathy card. Much like a late thank you, it’s never too late.
In fact, it’s better to send a sympathy card late than to not send one at all. But you want to take extra care that your tardiness doesn’t seem dismissive and that your message doesn’t sound as though you’re making excuses for yourself.
Definitely include a handwritten note, and keep it simple, sincere and honest. Express your condolences, explain why your card is late, express concern for the well being of the survivor(s), and try to keep it at that. After all, if you knew the deceased well enough to be writing long personal letters about them, you’d certainly have heard about the sad event sooner.
Something along these lines would be appropriate in most cases:
I just learned of [deceased]’s passing. I wish I’d heard the news sooner, so I could have called or been able to help in some way. I’m very sorry for your loss, and hope you’re feeling alright. He was a good person, and will be missed by everyone.
With sincere condolences,”
Remember, simple and sincere is always the best policy in upsetting situations.
Here is our complete selection of sympathy cards, all of which are appropriate for business situations.