Non-Religious Cards to Help You Cope with Someone’s Death

Laura Beck gave birth to her first child Truman back in August… but he died just three days later. As hard as it was to cope with the loss, it didn’t help that so many of the people around her were using the phrase “angel baby,” or telling her he was in a “better place,” or that it was all part of “God’s plan.”

As all of us who have dealt with the death of a loved one know it’s hard for other people to talk about it without bringing religion or supernatural thinking into the conversation.

So Laura started a “Faith-Free Design campaign” to counter that and to help others dealing with the same kind of grief. Her site is called Tru Love Studios (and her website is here).

Laura hopes to turn these into remembrance cards or calendars very soon. She wants people to know “that there are non-religious people out here that know how to make funerals and memorials special without involving God.”

Check out her other designs and give the Facebook page a Like.

And, on a related note, if you’re dealing with someone’s death right now, there’s a fantastic non-religious page to talk to other people about your loss at Grief Beyond Belief.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Johannsone

    oh my stars, I love these. Thanks for sharing

  • Rod Chlebek

    Good to see. Much more practical than offering something outside of what we know.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHDBKLZW5HWGTQFXPIF2Y5E7JA JR

    Absolutely LOVE the first one:

    “This is a HORRIBLY difficult time….” (emphasis mine).

    Gee, thanks for reminding me?

    • Anonymous

      My guess is that if you’ve just lost a loved one, this card isn’t going to suddenly remind you of it since it will be front and center in your mind. Maybe “very difficult” instead of “horribly difficult” would have been more delicate wording, though.

  • Sue

    Is it really difficult to find non-religious sympathy cards in the US?  Or am I just reading this wrong?

    • Paul Iannacone

      Non-religious cards are out there, but I think the post was more about how difficult it is, as a non-believer, to receive religious cards when dealing with grief and loss.  Hearing “It’s all part of god’s plan,” over and over can be very difficult.  Especially, as is in this case, after the loss of a child.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      I’m confused, too. There are plenty of non-religious sympathy cards in the United States. Hallmark stores helpfully have little tabs that mark the religious section with a cross, so you can’t pick one up by accident. Many of the cards are secular, with messages that should be inoffensive to atheists. With all due respect to the OP, I don’t see any need to create a new atheist card line.

      The problem is not that there are no secular cards available, but that religious people can be insensitive and often send religious cards to those who are grieving, even when they don’t know the person’s position on the supernatural. If they don’t know whether the person believes in an afterlife, why on earth would they send a card asserting that the deceased is in heaven? It’s sheer arrogance, or maybe they really are so ignorant as to assume that everyone shares their belief system.

  • Anonymous

    One of the greatest comforts for me when a loved one dies is to remember the good things or even silly things that involved them in life.  My mother died five years ago and the other day we were joking (yes, actually joking) about her and about taking the kids to the panto about six months before she died.  My granny died three years ago.  I can’t think of her without remembering her flaming red hair and her matching temper or the fact that spoilt her grand children and great grand children (several dozen of us) rotten.  My unwife’s father died two years ago.  His funeral made people laugh and cry as his life was laid out .  There may not be anything exceptional about growing up in Germany before the war, as a POW in England and working in bomb disposal, raising three daughters, going deaf and being too stubborn to admit it but it was his life and it was worth celebrating.

    A three day old child still has memories to give, nine months of preparation and love don’t disappear because of a short life and the love we feel for our children isn’t diminished if we only have them around for a little while.Some people cannot face those good memories until they have come to terms with the grief that they feel.  That is perfectly understandable.  The religious injection of their chosen god is an attempt to break through this grief but for me it is unwelcome.  Like evangelising at a funeral pushing gods onto people who are grieving is something that should just not be done.  It is rude and offensive even if the intentions were good.These designs don’t push an agenda or make false promises.  They celebrate the connection that exists between loved ones without intruding on it.  I like them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    Those ambiguous background images are just daring someone to mess with the message.

    • Guest

      Thank you for defacing my art Larry. I appreciate that you find yourself humorous. Nothing quite like ripping on a bereaved mother. :P

      • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

        I wasn’t ripping on anyone. It’s just funny that the background images are so vaguely connected or completely unrelated to the messages. Like I said, it’s daring people to misinterpret it.

  • Anonymous

    Those are awesome

    You have to be completely fucked up in the head to think that the death of a child is somehow part of some big cosmic plan.

    • Javier Fonseca

      There are people like that… in my country they’re like… A LOT!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    Added caption to first one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    Added  caption to second one.

  • http://www.bblss.org Miki

    These are nice.  I especially like the one on her FB page that says, “Crying doesn’t mean you are weak.  Since birth it has always been a sign that you are alive.” 

  • Reginald Selkirk

    You are the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside

    Apparently this is a specialty card to give to your cardiologist.

    • LauraBeck12

      This card is for people who have miscarried or lost a child. 

  • Anonymous

    I understand this fills a need for some people, and so I’m happy its there, but I’m not very into the whole card thing, particularly in response to a death.

    If you are close enough to someone that giving your condolences is appropriate but you live too far away, then pick up the phone. Sure you don’t know what to say, no one does. But at least for me recieving an awkward call where someone casts about for something to say feels a lot more personal, a lot more caring, than a ready-to-go platitude on a card, even a god-free one.

    Of course that’s just the personal view of someone who only ever uses cards to attach to birthday presents. If it works for you, go for it.

    • walkamungus

      It’s much harder, but always appropriate, to write a letter to the bereaved expressing your sympathy — or like you say, to pick up the phone. The nice thing about the letter, though, is that the person can re-read it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/LittleBrownBird Sharon Combs

        I HATE talking on the phone and an awkward phone call that ends with me crying would be the worst thing to do to me when I am already grieving.  On the other hand, taking the time to choose a card and mail it so that I can open it when I have the time and strength to deal would be very welcome.  

  • Anonymous

    These cards are beautiful… and I do believe there is a need.  HOWEVER, the first one in the Grief-Loss section has so many misspellings/punctuation errors, I’d never purchase it and seeing that stopped me from looking further.  Please please… check spelling and punctuation, especially on something you want to sell.

    • LauraBeck12

      I do need help with editing. Most of my designs are not focused on punctuation and grammar at all. Thank you for pointing that out.

  • Jade

    These are beautiful, and a very good idea. So glad there are people like Laura Beck doing these things for grieving parents, spouses, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/PensiveAfeto Not You

    This is great!

  • http://profiles.google.com/jeffreysflowers Jeffrey Alcoforado

    I appreciate the effort, and I’m glad these are out there. A colleague of mine just lost her boyfriend, and I was thinking that there needed to be some secular condolence cards. While these are a good start, I would hope that they are just that – a start. Many of them are written from the perspective of the person who suffered a loss, and are addressed to the person that has died. I would not give this type of card unless the sentiment were somehow re-worded to express “even though this is not how I am feeling right now, this is how I feel like you are feeling right now, and I wish to express my solidarity and sympathy.” The lady also needs a thesaurus. There has to be a different way to say “I am so sorry.”

    • LauraBeck12

      If you can come up with any ways to help e say “I am so sorry” I am all ears. 
      This is a start, I started designing about  3 weeks ago. I am very much aware that I need to grow and progress. I will talk you words into consideration.

  • Elliott776

    “I hope your sadness and sorrow are accompanied by heartfelt memories and moments that you  all shared.”  I said something like this to an online friend who lost her mother.

    After a moment of silence (in chat) She and her family were appreciative and thankful for those words. I thought I may as well pass them along to any who can use them or tailor them for some one else who is mourning. 

    • LauraBeck12

      Thank you Elliott! I would love to design a grief card for you and call it the “Elliot Card”. Let me know what you think.

  • lf

    love the words. but the typography with the images need work!

  • Miss Beara

    I never will understand how telling someone that just lost a child, no matter the age, that it was all part of “god’s plan.” What kind of sick and twisted plan is that? A death of a 3 day old child that was loved deeply by his parents part of “god’s plan”? Children sick and dying of cancer… god’s plan? Various other causes of death, still part of “god’s plan”? It makes me sick.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    Carlton Cards has the best sympathy card I’ve seen. I thought it was so great that I bought it without even needing it. Someone else thought it was great, too…

    http://www.gloriousgaydays.com/2009/06/this-is-best-sympathy-card-ever.html

    But then my grandmother died a while later, and she really liked elephants (had knick-knacks of them all over the house), so I sent it to my dad (her son).

  • Jackie Pascoe

    I am very saddened for Laura’s loss.  My daughter Laura  had a baby in August who is bringing much joy into our lives.  The cards are a wonderful idea and so admirable that you are doing this good work, grown out of your own pain and need. We do need spiritual cards for joy and solace, that are non-religious, indeed. Ms Beck, if you want proofing I’ll be happy to oblige. (Ex English teacher, now tech writer with 20 odd years experience – countrymoosie@gmail.com)

  • Jenn T Robot

    I particularly like the last one.  It would have meant a lot to me if someone had given me a card like this after my mom died.  It still would.

  • Anonymous

    Adulting has some good advice on sympathy cards and condolences.


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