What to Write in a Sympathy Card When You Just Can't Find the Right Words

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It's hard to know what to write in a sympathy card that could give a grieving person any comfort in their time of heartache. But, it's important that you reach out during this time with a thoughtful message of love and support.

Whether they're grieving the loss of a parent, spouse, or beloved friend, their emotional pain in the aftermath can feel very isolating. Along with sending the griever a card or sympathy gift upon hearing the sad news, keep checking in with how they're doing while respecting however much or little they wish to share. This may never feel easy to do, but your compassion and willingness to listen or help can be such a balm for them.

When writing a sympathy card, try to add a personal touch to your message, if possible. It can be very comforting to the griever to read memories about their late loved one, as well as hear others lovingly recall specific traits or unique interests they had.

However, if words are failing you, and you just need a place to start your note, here are some ideas of what to write in a sympathy card.

"Sending love and strength to you and your family."

If you didn't know the deceased person, but you're close to the griever, this is a good way to express condolences.

"Words alone cannot lighten a heavy heart."

Instead of dismissing the pain they are going through, this message empathizes with their grief.

"We miss them so much."

Simple but effective, saying this acknowledges that you and your family are feeling the loss alongside them.

"My heart breaks to hear that they are gone."

Whether their death was sudden or a long time coming, heartbreak is felt just the same.

"Their vibrant spirit lives on through you."

This can be particularly meaningful to say to an immediate family member of the deceased, especially if they were close.

"They touched so many lives with their warmth and generosity."

You can use different descriptors that feel specific to the deceased person, but this is a way to draw special attention to some of the wonderful things they did for others when they were alive.

"I feel grateful to have known such a special person."

If you knew their late loved one personally, this is an opportunity to share a personal story of how you most vividly remember them.

"Sharing in your sadness over their loss."

Whether or not you are aware of the circumstances of their loved one's passing, the sadness you feel is coming from a real place, and it's OK to express that.

"I’m here for you — please don't hesitate to text me anytime if you want to talk."

Your offer of support here must be genuine. If they do reach out, make sure you carve out as much time as they need. But if you don't hear anything back, you can still follow up at a later date to make a specific offer, such as bringing them a meal, carpooling their kids, or doing anything else that would greatly help them out.

"We love them and always will."

This heartfelt message is poignant and to the point.

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