The hardest card to write is a condolence card.  What do you say when someone loses a loved one?  Sympathy messages can be a real struggle to word correctly, but while you may find it difficult, it is still important to do.

Of course, nothing you can say will take away the pain of loss that the bereaved person is feeling, but your words show that they are not grieving alone.  They show that you care.

Sympathy messages PIN

Guidelines for a condolence card:

  • Make sure you have the correct address.  If you need to check, ask another family member or close friend, rather than the intended recipient.
  • Choose a simple card
  • Keep it short.  You don’t need to fill the card.  Any words you write will be appreciated.
  • If you don’t know what to write, it’s absolutely okay to say that.
  • Don’t delay.  Send your card as soon as possible and definitely before commenting on social media.

Grief quote

Ideas for sympathy messages:

  1. Acknowledge their loss
    “We are so sad to hear that your Grandmother passed away…”
    “I’m so sorry for your loss…”
  2. Express your sympathy
    “My heart goes out to you”
    “I can’t imagine how you are feeling right now…”
    “We are mourning with you”
  3. Share a memory about the person who has passed away
    “Your father was so kind.  He always put others before himself.  I remember when he…”
    “I will miss your sister’s warm smile and incredible friendship. She was my rock when…”
  4. Include well wishes
    “I’m thinking of you and your family at this sad time”
    “Sending you love and strength”
    “I can’t find the right words to write here, but please know that I am thinking of you…”
  5. Sign off respectfully
    “With deepest sympathy”
    “Please accept my condolences”
    “With love”

And few DON’Ts:

  • Don’t say you know how they are feeling.
    Everyone experiences grief differently and copes in their own way.
  • Don’t offer advice.
  • Don’t dwell on how the person died or how old they were.
  • Don’t say it ‘happened for a reason’.
  • Don’t use religious quotes or verses unless you are absolutely sure that they share the same beliefs that you do.

I hope this article has helped you.
Remember that it is not what you write that is important, it is the simple fact that you have written at all.









5 thoughts on “Sympathy Messages: What to write in a condolence card

  1. JoElla says:

    Thanks for these phrases. Found exactly what I needed to write in my card and inside a book I am sending to a friend who has just lost her husband suddenly. He was only 62 years old.

  2. Bernice Ortega says:

    My best friend has lost her son suddenly in a car accident on New Year’s Day at 4:00 am, we have friends for 60 yrs, she godmothers to my daughter. When she called me. About the death of her son I was shocked, she told me as soon as she knew the details. She would call me haven’t heard from you since, on social media, I learned of a go find me page it’s been 7 days. She lives for 1 hr. From me, her son in Arizona we’re she sail she was, she’s home I want to send flowers but I don’t know about the funeral I want to reach out but I don’t what to say her heart is broken and my. I can’t find the words Could you help me please? Bernice. Ortega

    • The Paperdashery says:

      I’m so sorry to hear this, Bernice. Grief is a terrible thing to go through, but it’s far worse when we feel alone. The most important thing is for you to let your friend know that you are here for her and that you’re thinking of her. You don’t need to say a lot and you don’t have to have the perfect words. Just making contact will be a huge comfort for your friend. Let her know that you’re only a phone call away and that you’re ready to support her. I am thinking of you both at this sad time.

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