It’s typical to receive sympathy cards when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. But what about the flood of sympathy calls, texts, and social media messages? Cards are one thing, but voicemails, texts, and social media messages are more difficult to ignore.
Those grieving can get easily overwhelmed with how connected everything is today. Especially during an emotional time while they’re funeral planning, grieving, and taking care of other tasks and responsibilities.
So how do you go about responding to these messages? Is it okay not to respond? Although it differs for everyone and there’s no one right way, we’ve come up with some general tips.
When grieving, it’s difficult enough to get through your daily routine in addition to funeral planning. So what do you do when you receive sudden sympathy messages? With texts, phone calls, and notifications for social media messages like with Facebook’s Messenger app, it may make it seem impossible to escape them.
To avoid being overwhelmed with messages, here are a few suggestions:
- Turn your phone on “do not disturb” when you’re focusing on grieving, funeral planning, or want some time alone to reflect. However, don’t abuse this feature. Hiding from your feelings doesn’t lead to healthy healing and can lead to complicated grief.
- Don’t feel obligated to respond to messages right away. Set aside some time to respond to them, such as in the evening.
- At night, keep your phone away from your bed, or even better, in another room. This way, you’re not tempted to check for messages and you have some time to yourself.
Remember that everyone grieves differently. While responding to messages helps some people grieve, it may be too painful for others, especially if the death was unexpected. Your family and friends will understand if you need some privacy.
In the next section, we’ll discuss some tips on what to reply with if you want to respond to the messages.
Responding to Sympathy Messages
For phone calls, don’t feel obligated to call back right away. And if a phone call is too much for you to handle, responding with a text is perfectly fine. It may be easier to type out your feelings rather than say them out loud. Or for some people, talking about it out loud may help with grieving.
When responding to social media messages and texts, you can choose to keep it brief or write a lengthier response. It also may depend on the person and what they said in their message.
For example, if they sent something along the lines of “I’m so sorry for your loss,” a simple “thank you” is probably enough. If they wrote something lengthier, then you can choose to write a more detailed response back or keep it simple. You’re not expected to write a long message back. They understand you’re grieving and care about you, not your response to their message. You can thank them for their support and leave it at that if you choose.
If you write a short response, you can always go back and write a longer message back after you’ve had more time to grieve and reflect. Or, on social media, you can write a longer post to all of your followers explaining your thanks for their kind words and request they have respect for your privacy. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the right decision for you and your healthy healing journey.
What are your thoughts on responding to sympathy social media messages, calls, and texts?