To send inappropriate sympathy card?

(87 Posts)
Bluelilies Wed 24-Feb-16 10:58:15

Someone I know through a club/hobby has been diagnosed with terminal cancer sad He's in his early 70s, but appeared healthy so it's a bit of shock.

Anyway, people were talking about him last week at the club, and we agreed we should send a card. I offered to buy one which I did and then passed it round to be signed by everyone this week. I had thought everyone there was aware of the situation, and that he's been given just a few months to live, and isn't going to be back at the club. But it appears a couple of people weren't. These are people that know him less well. They've written things along the lines of "missing you, come back soon!", which is kind of inappropriate given he's not going to.

I've not been left with the card to send to him. What would you do? Send it anyway? Or just throw it quietly away and send him a personal email (or card) instead? I had thought about buying another card and making sure people sign it appropriately but that would delay sending it off, and a bit awkward all round having to explain why.

Bluelilies Wed 24-Feb-16 10:59:12

Sorry, that should read I've now been left with the card

CooPie10 Wed 24-Feb-16 11:00:12

I would just try to get another card and make people aware of the situation.

Katymac Wed 24-Feb-16 11:03:56

Even if they are aware of the situation lots of people won't write appropriate things

My Dad is practically in a coma gets get well soon card regularly

Ameliablue Wed 24-Feb-16 11:08:16

I would get another card as people should be made aware of the situation.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 24-Feb-16 11:11:23

FFS. Send the card. It's not your job to be the Grief Police - these people have sent kind thoughts and good wishes and I doubt the recipient will be distressed.

WonderingAspie Wed 24-Feb-16 11:11:42

I don't think I could send it.

KitKat1985 Wed 24-Feb-16 11:17:51

I wouldn't send it to be honest. My Dad is terminally ill and you'd be amazed how many people ask things like 'is he better now?'. Whereas I'm sure they don't mean any harm it's unnecessarily upsetting.

VestalVirgin Wed 24-Feb-16 11:19:24

I would send it. Acting as though he could get well when he won't is far better than acting as though someone will die when that is not the case.

Some people likely won't want to face depressing facts even when you inform them, so ... send the card.

MattDillonsPants Wed 24-Feb-16 11:26:13

Cars are not really appropriate in this situation. They're misguided. Send him flowers with a nice message which you can write from all at the club.

LaContessaDiPlump Wed 24-Feb-16 11:31:17

I think people wouldn't necessarily write the kind of things you consider appropriate anyway; people get very uncomfortable when forced to confront mortality (their own and that of others) and probably will still write 'Get well soon' even after your explanation of how bad it is.

I'd send the card, possibly with a note from you saying that a few people might have been confused over the nature of his illness (understatement) but that you all care about him and are thinking of him. He'll appreciate the sentiments expressed even if they are a bit inaccurate. I know my mother did when she was dying.

BlueMoonRising Wed 24-Feb-16 11:31:57

How's his sense of humour? My dad would have found that really funny when he was dying. Although my mum not so much..

hmcAsWas Wed 24-Feb-16 11:32:29

I agree with SolidGoldBrass

We can only consider this from our own perspectives, and if I was the recipient of the card and terminally ill (I know we can never fully know how we would react, but this is my best guess for me...), I wouldn't be offended and would appreciate the kindness and intent of the messages even if they do miss the mark

Everyone is different though

AliciaMayEmory Wed 24-Feb-16 11:35:28

Just send the card! You can't dictate what people write on a group card. You've all done a lovely thing and he'll be pleased that you are all thinking of him, so stop worrying.

caitlinohara Wed 24-Feb-16 11:37:29

It's a bit of a tricky sentiment to express anyway isn't it - sorry you're going to die? It's not a get well card because he won't, and it's not a sympathy card because he's not dead yet! Sorry to sound flippant, but I wouldn't know what to write either. I would send it anyway, it's kindly meant.

OneMillionScovilles Wed 24-Feb-16 11:37:34

DH had this a few years ago with a terminally ill (comatic) relative - although individuals not group. He says send it anyway - although the family were a bit wtf at Get Well Soon balloons(!)

YMMV as it's going directly to the individual. How do you think he'd take it?

OneMillionScovilles Wed 24-Feb-16 11:37:54


AliciaMayEmory Wed 24-Feb-16 11:38:36

PS when I read the title of this post I thought that you were thinking of sending a card with an inappropriate joke or picture on the front! blush

Kidnapped Wed 24-Feb-16 11:39:54

Maybe he'll be able to rally enough to return just to visit the club and see everyone. He might be looking forward to it, even if it doesn't actually happen in the future.

Those messages were well meant. You've been asked to send the card, so send the card.

Jessbow Wed 24-Feb-16 11:41:40

What can people write?
Thinking of you...........But not what they are actually thinking?

Its the thought that counts. Send the card, he might actually enjoy the thought that not everyone has written him off just yet.

caitlinohara Wed 24-Feb-16 11:41:43

Alicia me too! grin

hmcAsWas Wed 24-Feb-16 11:42:15

Yes - send it. I also struggle with you setting yourself up as guardian of good taste and appropriateness in this matter, however well intended you undoubtedly are

Artioo2 Wed 24-Feb-16 11:43:15

'Missing you, come back soon' is not an inappropriate sentiment, it's completely appropriate - they miss him and would like him to come back soon. The fact that he isn't able to do that doesn't make the sentiment invalid. Pussyfooting around someone who's ill because you're scared of saying the wrong thing is pointless. Nothing you or anyone else says is going to make the situation worse, better to just send the card and let him see how many people are thinking of him.

If I was in his situation I would rather get a card full of genuine upbeat sentiments, even if some of them made me think 'If only!', than get a card full of sympathy for my hopeless situation that had been policed by someone who thought they knew the best and only way to talk to me.

CatsCantTwerk Wed 24-Feb-16 11:50:12

Isn't a Sympathy card inappropriate in itself?

Isn't that what you send to close relatives of someone who has died?

Wouldn't a 'Thinking of You' card be more appropriate?

ouryve Wed 24-Feb-16 11:54:17

I think it's quite appropriate to wish someone would come back soon, fit and well, even if you were pretty sure they won't (stranger things have happened!)

Agree that a "sympathy" card probably isn't the best, though.

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