Writing a sympathy card is never a welcomed task. Finding the right words to express condolences to a person who’s lost someone can be a challenging and emotional experience. You want to acknowledge their loss and grief, but also don’t want to say the wrong thing. It can be especially difficult if you didn’t know the deceased personally.
For help finding the right words, we’ve rounded up some thoughtful messages to write inside a sympathy card, note or letter for someone dealing with the death of a loved one. These messages will show the bereaved how much you care while remaining respectful and supportive.
Whether it’s a friend coping with the sudden loss of a spouse or a colleague whose mom recently passed, sharing your heartfelt sympathy lets them know that they’re not alone and that you’re thinking of them.
“Handwritten notes are one of the most personal forms of communication,” says Tanea Smith, owner of She’s Got Papers, an online stationery boutique. “The recipient may forget the day you called or visited but your card is a keepsake. It will be kept and reread. In the days after a funeral the family is bombarded with guests and comfort. In the weeks, months and years following the tangible items will remain.”
While these messages are intended to spark ideas and serve as inspiration, you should always be authentic and include a personal memory or anecdote, if possible.
“Reminders of that funny moment at the family gathering, the first time you met the deceased, milestones you may have shared, or something that was unique to the deceased are all things you want to share,” says Smith. Just be sure to avoid writing things that could be upsetting or misinterpreted.
“Never write, ‘They're in a better place and there's no more pain,’” says Smith. “While you may feel this way, any phrase that brings attention to the death can produce more grief and sadness. You want your words to do the opposite, not highlighting the death but celebrating the life.”
Shirley Enebrad, an author and certified grief recovery specialist agrees. “Never make it about you and your experience with loss,” she says. “Focus on the griever and his or her feelings. Absolutely never say, "I know how you feel.” Additionally, it’s always best not to ask how you can help. “Do not ask them to contact you if they need anything,” Enebrad says. “Tell them you will follow up in a few weeks to offer your services to go shopping, clean their windows, sweep their garage, cook them a meal or something tangible.”
Also, remember to send your sympathy card within the first couple of weeks. However, if you miss that opportunity, it’s never too late. In fact, it might have a positive impact on the grieving recipient who may feel like everyone has moved on while they’re still grappling with their loss.
“We're all going to leave our mark on the hearts of those who knew us when we exit this world,” says Smith. “Sending a sympathy card is an opportunity to celebrate someone's life while lifting the spirits of their loved one at the same time.”
Ideas for Writing a Sympathy Card Message for a Friend
“I know there are no words that can ease your pain. Just know that I’ll always be here for you no matter what.”
“Thinking of you during this difficult time.”
“Sending healing prayers and comfort during this tough time.”
“You’re not alone. I’m here to be a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen to anything that you may want to share.”
“My heart goes out to you for the loss of your dear friend. I know how much she meant to you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.”
“I cannot imagine the pain and heartache you’re feeling. I am praying for your peace and comfort.”
“Losing someone so close is so hard. I will be here to support you at any time and any hour. Sending you so much love.
“I know that grief comes in waves. That’s why I intend to be with you throughout this difficult journey.”
“Be kind and gentle with yourself. Take your time and know that you have my full support.”
“I recall how much time you two spent together. You were virtually inseparable. May all your wonderful memories comfort you during this heartbreaking time.”
Ideas for Writing a Sympathy Card Message for a Colleague
“Thinking of you and your family as you celebrate the life of your beloved.”
“May your happy memories give you peace and comfort during this challenging time.”
“I am sharing in your sadness as you remember your loved one.”
“Praying for you during this difficult time. If you ever want to talk, I’m here.”
“Deepest condolences to you and your family for your loss.”
“Words cannot express how saddened we are to learn of your loss. Please take your time. We are all here for you.”
“My heartfelt sympathy to you and yours at this sad time.”
“Please accept my sincere condolences.”
“My heart breaks for you. I’m here to listen to any stories you may want to share about your loved one.”
Ideas for Writing a Sympathy Card Message for Someone Who Lost a Mom or Dad
“I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing your mom, but I’m sure she was a special person because she raised an amazing human being: you@ Wishing you peace and comfort during this unimaginable time.”
“Your dad’s amazing personality lives on through you. Sending you love during this difficult time.”
“There is no one in this world like your mother. She was a special person, and she will always be with you.”
“Your mother will forever remain in our hearts and memories.”
“Your father was such an inspiration in my life —I’ll never forget the valuable lessons he taught me.”
“Nothing I can say will take away the pain you’re experiencing. Just want you to know that I care about you, and I share in your sadness.”
“May you look back on the precious memories and find peace in knowing that your father raised an amazing person.”
“A mother’s love is eternal. Hold on to that infinite love and let it be your guiding light.”
“I will always cherish the wonderful memories I have with your dad. He will be forever missed.”
“From what I’ve heard, your mother was a phenomenal woman. What good memories you must have. Lean on them to remind you of the joy she brought into your life”
“I’m a firm believer that when we lose someone close to us, like a father, they continue to live on through us and give us unbelievable strength. They’re so connected to us that they become a part of us.”
Ideas for Writing a Sympathy Card Message for Someone Who Lost a Husband or Wife
“Love never dies. Your wife’s love for you is everlasting.”
“Your husband was such a wonderful man. He was also an outstanding partner who will live in our hearts and memories forever.”
“No words can express how sorry I am for the loss of your wife. I didn’t know her personally, but I know how much you loved her, and I am here for you.”
“I know your husband must’ve been an amazing man because you always beamed with pride whenever you spoke of him. Sending you an abundance of love.”
“It was such a privilege and honor to work with your wife. She was an incredibly smart and thoughtful woman. May her memory live on forever.”
“I’ll always admire the love shared between you and your husband. You shared a one-of-kind bond that can never be broken.”
“I’m deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved partner. You complemented each other like no other couple I know. May your precious memories bring you comfort.”
“I was incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of your dear wife. She was always so thoughtful and kind. She will truly be missed.”
“Your partner was such a special person. They will live in my heart forever.”
“Someone who shared so much life with you will always be a part of you. Bonds like yours are forever.”
You Might Also Like