Everyone experiences grief and loss. Following a loss, a few kind and comforting words can make a huge difference. The kind gesture of giving a card with some thoughtful words demonstrates the importance of the relationship and offers support.
This page contains help for expressing condolences and includes several different examples and aspects for writing a sympathy card message. Use the table of contents to jump to a section.
Although I don't know exactly what to write in this card, my hope is that you know you have my support and that I'm thinking of you.
I was saddened to hear of your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
I'll be thinking of you. Please think of me if you need anything. I'm available to talk or help any way you need me.
We don't always get to know why things happen the way they do. I hope you do get to see something meaningful and significant that matters come from this loss.
Memories are one place we can visit those we've lost. Since memories are portable, we can take our lost loved ones with us anywhere at anytime.
Life isn't always easy or simple. Thank goodness for friends who can laugh and cry with you. You have been that friend for me, and I'll be that friend for you anytime.
I don't know that my words or my sympathy will help, but I'll listen and pray.
If I could get you a card that could give you a hug, I would. Since they don't make that kind of card, I'll have to give you one in person.
I don't have the words to express exactly what I'd like to say. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.
Those we lose live on in our hearts and minds. May your good memories and love remain and live on.
We all have different types of reactions to loss. I'd like you to know that you don't have to experience this loss on our own. I'd like you to lean on me by allowing me to listen to any time you need to talk.
You will be in our thoughts and our prayers. Let us know if you need anything.
We have hope through He who knows every need we have. We're praying for you and your family.
My heart goes out to you even though I don't have the right words to express myself.
I am sorry for your loss. Don't hesitate to let me know how I can help.
I want you know that I am available to help with anything. Just ask.
I am praying for you to have peace and encouragement. I will keep you in my prayers.
My deepest sympathies for your loss. Please accept my condolences.
Please forgive me for my own loss of words to express my condolences for your loss. Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with in the coming days and weeks.
I am deeply saddened to hear that __________ passed. I will be praying for you.
If you ever need anyone to talk to, know that I am willing to listen. I am sorry for your loss.
I am at a loss of words of what to say. Please accept my condolences anyway and know that I am thinking of you.
I was saddened to hear that you dad died. I remember him as a smart guy with a good sense of humor. You have some of his good qualities. I am truly sorry for your loss.
My condolences on your loss. I want you to know that I think of you often and wonder how you are doing. Expect me to give you a call soon to check on you.
Feel free to call me any time you want to talk. Even though I don't know what you are feeling, I can listen and joke around with you.
I know this is just a card, but I want to send it with a message of love and warm thoughts. I remember __________ and will miss his/her_________________.
I have valued you and ___________ friendship for many years and will definitely miss hanging out with you both, but I am still planning on seeing plenty of you. I will see you are our next book club meeting.
I have no idea what to say to you to send my condolences, so when we talk next time expect me to just listen to you and check on how you are doing. Feel free to ask me to help in any way you think I can.
I know that it can be tough to lose someone close, and I know that everyone deals with the loss in different ways. I want you to know that I am praying for you, because God knows what you need right now.
May your heart feel the warmth that I wish to send in this card to you. I wish I could be there at the funeral, and I know my card is not a replacement for my presence. Please accept my condolences.
When someone like ____________ passes, I try to be thankful that I got to be with them and still have the great memories, but it doesn't seem to be enough to console me. I am sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences.
The only think more difficult than dying is having to lose someone else and continue living. It's funny how tough life can be, but it's worth it. The memories will continue to be comfort.
I am sorry for your loss. Please know that I will be checking on you frequently over the coming weeks to make sure you are o.k. and see if I can help you in any way.
I am praying for peace, comfort, and strength in this difficult time for you and your family.
What strength we lose when we lose someone close is gained in the experience of loss we must endure.
Let God give you strength when you need it. Let Him give you peace and restoration with his love for you.
My heart goes out to you in this difficult time. Please accept my condolences and know that I will be praying for you.
No one knows when a great tragedy might strike any of us. Only God knows that. I think that’s the way God wants it so that we can lean on each other and on Him. I do want you to know that I am here for you and you can expect me to call you and check in on you.
There’s no way I can even try to imagine what you are going through. All I can do is pray and depend on the Lord to renew your spirits and provide you with what you need.
I never had the opportunity to meet ____ but I know you talked highly of him/her, and I know your loss is great. My condolences to you and your family.
It’s easy to question ‘why’ in a situation like this, and it’s easy to become angry in a situation like this. The problem is, you don’t always get to know why. That’s where faith is required of us. Our belief in His plan for our lives is all we have.
The question of whether we should be happy for someone when they die comes down to what our beliefs are about what happens to you when you die. I know that your strong beliefs can be of comfort to you in a difficult time.
This is just another example that proves that the world is not fair. In this imperfect world we live in, we must trust God who is perfect.
Your loss is unfathomable, and I can only offer my sympathy. I am deeply sorry for your loss.
Feelings of anger, confusion, denial, grief, and loss are all normal when going through a loss. Please don’t hesitate to give me a call to talk about how you are feeling any time.
People say, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ but in reality, it’s more like a theft. It feels more like you have been robbed when something or someone so precious to you has been taken. Know that any feelings you have are justified, and people react in their own way. I will be supportive of you no matter what.
__________ was an amazing person who I admired because he/she was ________. Know that he/she will be missed.
Please allow me mow your lawn/bring you dinner/take care of your dog to help you out in this time of need.
Even though I didn't know _________ very well, you talked about him/her and I know that you lost someone special. Please accept my condolences.
I was shocked to hear that __________ passed. I will miss his/her (good quality).
Life can be tough. Sometimes a hug, someone listening, or a conversation with a friend helps. Let me know what you need anytime you need it.
Loss is not something that you have to endure on your own as long as I am around.
Please know that I am praying for you and care about you.
I don't know exactly what you are feeling, but I am willing to listen any time you want to talk.
I am at a loss of words for what to say to console you for your loss. Please accept my condolences anyway and know that I am thinking of you.
Words are inadequate for what I am feeling and wanting to express to you right now, but I do want you to know that I am thinking of you and will be calling you soon to check on you and see how you are doing.
You'll never hear me say that it’s easy to get over a loss. I know it can be difficult, and I’m here to talk anytime.
I can't think of anything I could say to make everything better. Instead, I’ll give you a hug and listen to anything you want to say.
No one can know for sure, but I think we will eventually get to see and talk to our loved ones who have passed on.
Just when you don't expect it blessings can happen. I’m praying that you are blessed just when you need to be.
The best thing about getting a card from me is that it’s just the beginning of me bugging you to make sure you are doing well.
What words could possibly do justice for me to express what you need to hear. Instead, I’ll give you a hug and listen to anything you want to say.
We'll keep you in our prayers and we'll be thinking about you.
(Name of deceased) will be missed.
I'll treasure the memories I have of (name of deceased).
We'll miss (name of deceased) because of how important he/she was to us.
What to Write in Different Situations
The following examples of sympathy messages are meant to help you figure out what to write depending on the situation and who has died. Keep in mind that these suggestions for your condolences can be altered to be perfect for your sympathy card.
I am sorry you had to lose your mom. She was a good woman and raised you well. I will be praying for you to have peace and comfort.
I am sorry you lost your dad. From what I hear from you, he was a great dad and just a great guy. He did an awesome job raising you. Please accept my condolences. (Father Sympathy Messages)
For the Death of a Wife or Husband
I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now. I am deeply sorry for your huge loss of your husband/wife. You spoke highly of him/her often and I know you loved him/her dearly. I want you to know that you have my sincere condolences.
I am sorry for the loss of your husband/wife. God can provide the strength you will need in the coming weeks and months. I will be praying for you.
For the Death of a Brother or Sister
I am sorry to hear that your brother died. I know that he wasn’t just a brother but a good friend to you too. I know that I can’t replace your brother, but I can continue to be your friend. Let’s hang out sometime soon. I’ll be giving you a call.
It’s a shame that dogs do live near as long as people, because it can hurt just as bad when you lose one that you love. Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your dog.
I always enjoyed watching your fish swim around when I came over. I felt relaxed watching him swim in his tank. I am sorry he ended up floating at the top. I hope you are able to get another fish soon, so I can enjoy a new one.
You can keep your messages brief, especially if you do not know the person well.
Do not infer that you know how the person is feeling. Many people react to loss in different ways and grieve at different rates.
Use humor very wisely. Only use humor if you know that it will be helpful. Save the jokes for happy occasions.
Feeling awkward around the person who has suffered a loss is common, but being willing to listen and hang out with the person will make you both feel better. A nicely written note is a great way to break the ice without having to say the right things perfectly on the spot.
Describe you own sad feelings, but be careful not to tell the grieving person how they feel.
Express something positive about the person who died, even if you heard some negative things about him or her at times.
Offer your support by offering to help with something specific. "I will call you on Tuesday" is much better than "I am here for you" which is much more general.
What Not to Write in a Sympathy Card
Here are a few things that you should never write in a sympathy card unless you want to offend the person you are giving the card.
"______ got what he deserved." This is a ridiculous thing to write to someone if it is a sympathy card. Only a total jerk would write something like that.
"You owe me money." If the person who died owed you money and you now think that the surviving family should pay you back, there are better ways to get your money than writing about it in your sympathy card. Wait a few weeks and write a letter explaining that the deceased owed you money, and that you would like to get your money back if possible. Another way to think about it is that you gave your money to the survivors as a bereavement gift.
"I guess it was just his time." This is cold and insensitive. Only write this if you are God or the Grim Reaper. You are not either, so it's not nice to rub it in after someone has already died. If you are a psychic and you knew when his time would be ahead of time, then you should have given everyone a warning.
"Time heals all wounds." If it's true, then don't be surprised if you get a wound from the bereaved when they inflict bodily harm on you. Then you can see if time heals your wounds.
"You'll be o.k." This is a stupid thing to write in a sympathy card, because it may not be true. You really can't predict whether anyone will be o.k.
"He had a good life." While this may be true in your eyes, most people surviving a loss would like to have had more time with their loved one. It's not time to put things in perspective in order to make the bereaved stop feeling sorry for their loss.
What to Say Instead of "Sorry for Your Loss"
Perhaps the most common short and simple message is "Sorry for your loss." It's a short saying, but not especially helpful. Here is a list of alternatives to say instead:
We're praying for you.
Let me know how I can help.
I'll be checking in on you.
We need each other now. I'll be in touch.
Take all the time you need.
You are in my thoughts.
I'm glad to have you there to support me.
I'm sorry you are experiencing this loss.
I am here anytime you'd like to talk.
This is a time I'd like to help you.
I'm glad we have each other to lean on.
Please reach out whenever you'd like.
How to End a Sympathy Note or Message
There are endless options of ways to end a sympathy note or message other than "Sincerely," and you can be more specific with one of these ideas: