A hand-written card will always be one of the most personal forms of communication. When someone you know is grieving, a hand-written sympathy card is a great way to help them understand how much the person they’ve lost was valued, respected and loved. And if you know the grieving person better than you knew the person who has died, a sympathy card gives you the chance to offer your support to them.

 

What is a Good Sympathy Message? 

Expressing your condolences doesn’t have to be complicated. Keeping a few basic tips in mind can help you avoid “greeting card” vocabulary and turns of phrase that sound nothing like you. That’s not to say you can’t buy a card—feel free to buy a pre-printed card or use your own stationery. What’s important is that your sympathy message conveys a heartfelt sentiment that feels personal for the one receiving it.

 

Here, we’re bringing you some of our favorite tips for putting together the most meaningful sympathy message that’s just right for the occasion. Whether you know someone who’s suffered a devastating loss like a parent or spouse, or you need a sympathy message for a friend, we’ve got you covered with some examples you can use for inspiration. Looking for a more casual sympathy message for a coworker or neighbor? We’ve got plenty of those, and even some simple sympathy messages if all you need is something quick and short. 

 

Tips to Craft the Best Sympathy Messages

Rest assured that whatever you write will be appreciated, but here are a few points to ensure you craft a condolence message that comes from a place of authenticity. 

 

1. Write in the First Person

“I will really miss him,” is a personal statement and feels very different than, “He will be missed.” An easy way to know you’re on the right track is to imagine what you would say if the person you’re writing to were standing there in front of you. 

 

2. Say It Your Way 

While greeting cards definitely nail it when it comes to sympathy messages for loss, they’re not the most personal option. If you buy a card, and you like its messaging, consider rephrasing it in your own words. People don’t always read the printed greeting, and even if they do, they know that someone in an office park cubicle probably wrote it. They will definitely read and appreciate your more personal version.

 

3. Acknowledge the Death 

Statements like, “We’re so sorry to hear the news,” can feel a bit like you’re avoiding the elephant in the room. It may sound counter-intuitive, but acknowledging clearly that someone has died (or passed away, gone to Heaven, reunited with God—however you prefer to say it) conveys that you’re comfortable talking about it and willing to share in what the family is going through. 

 

4. Get Specific

Remember when your high school English teacher taught you to use your details? Same’s true here. Including the name or role (e.g., mother or nephew) of the person who has died humanizes your message and makes it feel real. It may sound surprising, but people writing sympathy card messages often forget or avoid mentioning the name of the person who has died and opt instead for “your loss,” which can unintentionally read as distance or a lack of warmth. 

 

5. Share an Appreciation or Reflection 

If you did know the person, offering a glimpse into what they meant to you can be a comfort and a gift to those who are grieving. Fond memories or lessons learned can also offer a little levity, which can have a healing effect during an intensely emotional time. 

 

6. Include a Picture 

If you have a special photo of you and the person who has died, consider including a copy with the sympathy card. It’s a way to communicate your connection and appreciation for them, while also offering the family a new memory. Just make sure the image is positive in spirit. 

 

7. It’s Never Too Late 

Whether it be two days, two months or two years, it’s never too late to send a sympathy message. Regardless of why time has passed, the person is still gone, and the family still misses them. Your sincere words will always be appreciated, and for the loved ones, knowing that the memory of their dear one lives on will likely be an unexpected and welcome gift. 

 

8. A Simple Don’t

If you’ve experienced loss in your life, resist the temptation to offer advice on what might’ve worked for you during your grieving process, and avoid versions of “things are going to get better” or “things happen for a reason.” Although you mean well, these types of sentiments often fall flat to those who are in the middle of sadness after a death. Grief needs to be fully experienced. No need to speed up the process or find novel ways around it. As a friend, you don’t have to solve the situation. Showing you care—and taking the time to write them personally—is more than enough.

 

 

What to Write in a Sympathy Card

No matter how much you prepare, it’s easy to find yourself completely stuck when it comes time to pen your own condolence message. After all, the pressure’s on to say the right thing. If you’re wondering what to write in a sympathy card, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got lots of inspirational sympathy messages for you to choose from,  organized into categories for easy reference.

 

In this section: 

Sympathy Message for Flowers

Sympathy Message for Loss of Mother

Sympathy Message for Loss of Father

Sympathy Message for Loss of Husband or Wife

Casual Sympathy Messages

Deepest Sympathy Messages

Short Sympathy Messages

 

 

Sympathy Message for Flowers

Sending flowers as a way to honor someone who’s passed? Don’t forget to include a card. Not only will this help the family identify who the flowers are from (key during this hectic, sad time), but it’s also a nice chance to express your condolences. Since cards that come with flower arrangements are notoriously small, you’ll want to craft a short but impactful sympathy message. 

 

  • I hope you find these flowers as beautiful as (name)’s spirit, and know I’m thinking of you in this sad time.
  • Please accept this arrangement as a sign of my deepest condolences.
  • I remember (name) always loved (type of flower). I have so many wonderful memories of him/her. So sorry for your loss.
  • Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.
  • We are so sorry to learn of the passing of (name). Hoping these flowers can contribute toward the beautiful service he/she deserves.

 

Sympathy Message for Loss of Mother

There isn’t much that’s more difficult than losing a parent, no matter how old you are. Opt for one of these powerful sympathy messages for anyone who has lost their mom. 

 

  • May you find peace and comfort in knowing that we share in your grief. Your mom was an amazing person and will be missed by many.
  • Moms are so special, and yours was truly wonderful. I’m so sorry for your loss.
  • No one can replace your mom, but I want you to know that I’m here whenever you need me.
  • Your mom was a special lady who touched the lives of everyone she knew. She will be sorely missed.
  • Sending my deepest sympathies on the loss of your mother, and wishing you comfort during this sad time.
  • Your mother touched so many people with her faith and kindness. I hope it will comfort you to know that others are missing her right along with you, and sending love and prayers your way.

 

Sympathy Message for Loss of Father

Losing a father isn’t any easier than losing a mother, which is why these heartfelt sympathy messages may come in handy for such an occasion. 

 

  • We are so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. He was an inspiration to many. You’re in our thoughts during this difficult time.
  • My condolences for the loss of your father. There will never be another like him.
  • Your father’s beautiful spirit lives on in you.
  • Life isn’t fair, and the loss of your father is proof of that. He was one of the good ones, and will be fondly remembered.
  • We hope it comforts you to know that we are sharing in your grief at the loss of your father.
  • No words can express how sorry I am that you are going through this most difficult rite of passage; that of losing your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

 

Sympathy Message for Loss of Husband or Wife

The loss of a husband or wife, regardless of age, can feel like losing part of oneself. Marriage is a journey that forges two people together in a way that can’t be mirrored in any other human relationship. That’s why the death of a spouse, especially if it was sudden, is so very devastating. Opt for one of these sympathy card messages.

 

  • Please accept my deepest sympathy over the death of your beloved husband/wife. S/He lived a beautiful life and will be missed by many.
  • I’m so sorry to learn of the passing of your dear husband/wife. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
  • No one can pretend to understand the pain you’re going through right now during this difficult time. I’m so sorry about (name)’s passing.
  • Your husband/wife was a good wo/man, and this isn’t fair. My condolences over his/her death.
  • There are no words that could truly express my deepest regrets over the loss of your husband/wife. I pray the coming months and years will bring you a comfort that will soothe your sorrow.
  • Speaking on behalf of our whole family, I am so sorry to hear of (name’s) death. We are sending love and sharing memories of the great moments we all had together, and the ways he touched our lives and hearts.

 

Casual Sympathy Messages

Perhaps you’d like to express your condolences to someone you’re not quite as close to as family or a good friend. These simple sympathy messages are great for just such an occasion. 

 

  • Thinking of your family in this difficult time. I’d like to help out in any way I can. Please reach out and let me know when would be a good night to bring over a meal.
  • I know this must be a very difficult time. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.
  • Celebrating the life of a great person and mourning his/her passing with you.
  • Just a note to let you know we share in your sadness as you mourn the passing of (name).
  • Thinking of you and hoping you’re doing okay.

 

Deepest Sympathy Messages 

Go a bit deeper and use these words to show just how incredibly sad you are that this special someone has passed. These deepest sympathy messages are suitable for anyone at any time, regardless of the relationship or specifics of the situation. 

 

  • I wanted to express my deepest condolences to you and your family during this sad time. (Name) will truly be missed.
  • My deepest sympathies go to you right now. Know that you’re in my thoughts every day.
  • Please accept my deepest and heartfelt condolences at the loss of your (relative/friend/other).
  • I was deeply saddened to learn of (name)’s passing. You have my deepest sympathy.
  • My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you in this time of infinite sadness.

 

 

Short Sympathy Messages

There’s nothing wrong with a short, succinct condolence message. These are especially perfect if you’re sending a small card with flowers, or if you need a short expression of sympathy to use on a craft for the person in mourning, like a photo frame or wreath. 

 

  • In loving memory
  • Gone but not forgotten
  • Always in our hearts
  • Thinking of you in this sad time
  • With heartfelt condolences
  • I share in your sadness
  • So sorry for your loss

 

 

Sending a sympathy message is a sign of respect and an act of comfort and kindness. More than anything, if  you speak from the heart and make it personal,  your condolences will be received with sincere gratitude and will help the person  who is grieving know that the memory of their loved one lives on through others.