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Do you send money with sympathy cards?
Old 08-06-2022, 07:03 PM   #1
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Do you send money with sympathy cards?

A friend recently died and it started a rather opinionated discussion of whether the sympathy cards should include money and if so how much.

Family is middle class, no young kids, if that matters. Some folks were saying it was only right to gift minimum $100 and others said "tacky". No charities were listed in the obit. I had mailed my card to the wife (no money) already so I don't know if I goofed or what.

Edited to add: I know he has life insurance.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:22 PM   #2
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I'll be interested in reading this. Our rural area has changed. It used be the if you donated it was used to do a memorial to the family church or the cemetery or a favorite charity of the deceased. This way they could make a nice donation in memory of the family member. In the last 10 years it's turned into giving them cash which can help for the final expenses or go directly into their checking account..I don't like it...DH cousin who we were close to spent her last days in resident hospice.. the family asked in the obit that anyone wanting to remember her should please donated directly to the non profit hospice. We wrote a check and were generous.


I will say DH also had a married cousin and spouse die within about a year of each other. They were fairly young and we knew their kids might be struggling with the cost of the funeral. Mom had cancer and Dad had a heart attack while Mom was sick and there was no income. We wrote a very generous check to the family but in this case it was a close relative and we knew the circumstances. I've also just stopped sticking money in cards for non relatives. If they think we are cheap I don't care.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:30 PM   #3
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I have never heard or seen of the custom. Donations to charity yes, but directly, no.
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Do you send money with sympathy cards?
Old 08-06-2022, 08:15 PM   #4
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Do you send money with sympathy cards?

Unless you know them well, I don't think it's appropriare.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:21 PM   #5
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Never heard of this either.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:26 PM   #6
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
I have never heard or seen of the custom. Donations to charity yes, but directly, no.


Same.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:49 PM   #8
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These days it seems folks will establish a go fund me account to help with expenses if they have the need. No, I have never thought of just sending cash with the sympathy card. Seems tacky to me.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:11 PM   #9
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I've never heard of giving money along with a sympathy card. I do know it's good form to offer the grieving family some help. Perhaps prepare a meal for them, offer to take the kids after school, do some grocery shopping, etc. But, give them money because a loved one had died? Never heard of it. Never seen it done.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:12 PM   #10
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I grew up in a small town and my DM passed away when I was 12. Back then, the tradition was that flowers and wreaths were brought to the family's house. I thought that was really weird - massive amounts of flowers.... I still distinctly remember the smell in the house. Not a good memory, obviously.
I think gifting cash (unless close family) is pretty odd too, but I do like the idea of donating to a charity in the deceased's honor (if charity has been specified or is otherwise known). I have done that many times.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:21 PM   #11
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:26 PM   #12
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When our 20 year old daughter died in an auto accident, of the over 100 sympathy cards we received, exactly one had money in it.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:34 PM   #13
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I've never heard of giving money along with a sympathy card. I do know it's good form to offer the grieving family some help. Perhaps prepare a meal for them, offer to take the kids after school, do some grocery shopping, etc. But, give them money because a loved one had died? Never heard of it. Never seen it done.

Actually many years ago in this area they actually called it memorial money it was understood that the money would go somewhere (in memory of) certain dead person...it was a charitable gesture. I've been living here since I was nineteen and didn't realize it was regional.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:49 PM   #14
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I have seen it many times but not with $100 maybe a $20
I always thought it was a little something to help pay for the Funeral.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:12 PM   #15
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In the industrialized part of the midwest I grew up in, I never heard of it. Sounds tacky to me, and I think it would mix messages. To my knowledge, it's not done around here, either.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:37 PM   #16
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Well glad to hear I am not the only one who didn't know this "custom". I thought maybe I just had no manners (probable) and that if it didn't say in the obituary please give to cancer research or whatever it was pretty much you didn't do anything.

Edited to add: "didn't do anything FINANCIAL." I mean of course if I lived closer than 2K miles I could offer some practical help but it it seems not likely in this case.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:38 PM   #17
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Never heard of this. Donation to a charity that meant something to the deceased, yes. Pay for a mass to be said in their honor, yes. Direct donation with sympathy card to family, never.
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Old 08-07-2022, 02:25 AM   #18
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As a usual procedure no, but I don't think of any act of kindness as "tacky". Depending, there have been charities, mass cards; flowers, sweets, a meal and/ or sympathy cards depending. I'm glad there was life insurance.

I do think need matters. Long ago, someone may have given a widow strapped for cash an envelope with $500 and asked her to do the kindness of accepting it.
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Old 08-07-2022, 04:59 AM   #19
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I received several $10 and $20 when a family member died. I was grateful and did not think it was tacky.
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Old 08-07-2022, 05:10 AM   #20
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I had never heard of money in sympathy cards either - until we moved to the Islands. There, it is traditional for the family to cater a full meal for all funeral guests - and there can be very large gatherings to feed. A friend of ours lost her husband and there were over 1000 people who attended the celebration of life with a full catered meal afterwards.

For this reason, it is traditional in the Island to at least cover the cost of a catered meal in the sympathy card. $20 per person is NOT considered a lot for this purpose. Meals typically include two to four meat dishes, rice, noodles, salad(s) soft drinks/coffee/tee, and all in a style appropriate to the gathering (typically, Chinese, Japanese, "oriental", Filipino or a fusion of all/part of these.) It isn't inappropriate to include even more for a close friend as it's understood that not everyone is generous in their sympathy cards. We have often given $100 to close friends at such times. Funerals/celebrations of life are very expensive in the Islands - especially if there is interment rather than cremation (which is much more common.)
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