cards & stationary

Sympathy Messages: What to Write in a Sympathy Card

Last Updated: Dec 28, 2017

Who knows what to say when someone passes away? After hearing the news, many of us have all the right intentions to reach out with condolences, but have no clue how to put the pen to paper. We have no clue where to begin or what to say.  We know that in the face of loss, sadness and shock it may seem as if nothing you do can help, but we know one thing that’s ever more true-acknowledgement is better than silence.

what to write in a sympathy card

It’s no easy task to sign a heartfelt sympathy card, but it is the right thing to do. You may sit and ponder things like what you would want those close to you to say in a moment like this. You may begin to write and then worry you might say the wrong things. It’s important to remember that in darkness sometimes all you need to be reminded of is a little light. Even though writing a card that says, ‘Sorry for your loss,’ isn’t easy, doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. And your words of condolence may be just the light that person needs.

Loss is profound and no one can know the kind of pain that someone else is in. Your words of sympathy aren’t going to take away the pain (we know that), but in moments like this it’s vital for those close to you, going through loss and sadness, to hear your support and love. These sympathy messages are by no means going to serve as the perfect words, but they will give you a guideline to follow for bringing warmth to a grieving heart. Use them as they are, combine them or customize them to express your feelings. It’s going to be uncomfortable but, get comfortable being uncomfortable because it’s important to take thoughtful action and take it quickly. This article has a lot of information and examples for specific sympathy card wording, jump to the specific person or situation below:

Sympathy Card Wording

Whether you want to express your own feelings, acknowledge the feelings of others, share a memory or offer ongoing support, you’re going to need to put all of these sentiments into words no matter what. Just starting to write the card always seems to be the hardest part of the process (that is for us at least). Remember that you can be brief and still come off as warm and comforting. Let your own judgment as well as these examples guide you in drafting your sympathy messages with a serious and sincere tone.

Here are Examples:

  • “We are deeply sorry about the loss of (insert name here.) As you grieve, know that we are remembering and honoring him/her.”
  • “I’ll remember your (____) in many positive ways-with a big smile and a great sense of humor, always great with a story.”
  • “I’m sure your heart is aching. We want you to know that we are here for you if your need anything. Expect us to check in soon.”
  • “Sorry for your loss. I celebrate the life of (___) and am mourning him/her with you in this trying time.”
  • “Our hearts go out to you and your family. Although I don’t know exactly what to say, I want you to know that I am with you in thought and wish you comfort and peace as you remember (insert name here.)”

Loss of a Father

They say that a father’s guiding hand always sits on the shoulder of his children and although he may be in a better place, losing such a strong figure in life is one of the hardest things many of us will go through. Most of the time, many of us place a great deal of importance on the way in which someone died. Instead, we believe in placing a great deal of importance on the way in which someone lived. Think about retelling how this person’s father lived, how he smiled and how he loved when drafting a sympathy card messages for the loss of a father.

loss of a husband wording example

Examples:

  • “Nobody could tell a funny story like your father. Remember at your birthday party- the story about the cake incident? My face hurt for a full day after from laughing so hard. I’ll always cherish those memories and fun times spent with him.”
  • “What a good and generous man your father was. I thought his funeral service was a wonderful tribute to him and all he has done for our community. He will be missed.”
  • “When you speak of him, speak not with tears, for thoughts of him should not be sad. Let memories of the times you shared give you comfort, for his life was rich because of you.”
  • “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. What an amazing life your father led. I will never forget the way he smiled and the way he loved you with every piece of his heart.”
  • “Let the memories of your fathers life provide you with the comfort you need during this challenging time.”

Loss of a Mother

Just as with the loss of a father, losing your mother is profound. It can be of great comfort for a grieving person to hear how much you admired his/her mother, too. Extend your caring thoughts, admiration and words of condolences with these examples.

Examples:

  • “Although no words can take away the sorrow that you bear. May it be comforting to you to know that others care.”
  • “There are so few comforting words when we need them most. The passing of the one who first introduced us to this planet and who loved us along its paths is never easy.”
  • “I have no idea what you must be going through in losing what I think is one of the most important compasses in your life. I know your mom was that to you and with this loss comes so many layers of heartache. Please know my heart is open to giving you anything you might need during this time of incredible loss.”
  • “Your mom was such a lovely woman. I often think about all the times we spent together and all the amazing meals your mom cooked. She was such a pleasure to have around. I have learned so much from her and will remember her always. I love you and am truly sorry for your loss.”
  • “My heart aches for you and your family during this time. Your mother was such an amazing person and she will truly be missed, My condolences.”

Loss of a Husband

The bond between a husband and his partner is unlike any other. In the face of death, it’s important for those that he has left behind to know how sorry you are for their immense loss.

Examples:

  • “If the bond between two people is strong, even death cannot do them apart. At least you have beautiful memories to look back to.”
  • “I can only imagine how difficult and demanding this time is for you. We’ll be mourning his passing with you and celebrating the life of a good man.
  • “Your husband was surely a gem of a person. He will be missed for his goodness in life. Sorry to hear about the loss. Stay strong and this shall pass with time.”
  • “He was an amazing friend, husband and exceptional human being. A great soul, may he rest in peace. Sorry to hear about this news. We stand with you in this time of need.”
  • “We’ve shared our lives these many years. You’ve held my hand; you’ve held my heart. So many blessings, so few tears – yet for a moment, we must part. Thinking of you and the loss of your husband in this time.”

Loss of Wife

Few events in life are as painful as the death of your spouse, your partner for life. At times the loss may make people uncertain they will survive it. If a loved one you know is going through the loss of his/her wife use these words to guide you in comforting his or her grieving heart. These short sympathy messages extend caring thoughts and support.

sympathy card wording for wife

Examples:

  • “When the person you love has gone away, remember you always have their memories with you. It is something that no one can take away from you. We are thinking of you during this sad time.”
  • “My words cannot fully express the sorrow I feel after learning about the death of your beloved wife. May you ever treasure the wonderful times you had and my thoughts are with your whole family.”
  • “We felt our hearts crush into tiny little bits when we heard about the sudden and untimely passing away of your dear wife. She was a wonderful human being. She will truly be missed by all.”
  • “Your dearest wife was not just a great companion to you, but also a very wonderful human being having touched the lives of many. Her passing has brought gloom to many around and we are all going to miss her lots. You being the closest to her, I know that I can never possibly understand the terrible loss you are suffering. But do know that my thoughts are with you.”
  • “Nothing can ever replace the amazing person I knew your wife to be. It is indeed sad to part ways with someone so sincere. May she rest in peace.”

Loss of a Coworker

There are many reasons that coping with the loss of a colleague can present unique challenges. Going from seeing someone across the hall on a daily basis to never seeing him/her again is hard to fathom. Look to these kind words of sympathy for the loss of a coworker to help guide you when drafting your short sympathy note for someone you work with.

Examples:

  • “I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts are with you.”
  • “Thinking of you in these difficult times.”
  • “My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It was a joy to work in the presence of (name of deceased.) I will never forget the warmth his/her smile brought to the office each and every day.”
  • “Thinking of you, wishing you hope in the midst of sorrow, comfort in the midst of pain.”
  • “(Name of coworker) will be in our hearts and memories.”

Loss of a Pet

The furry friends in our lives seem to become part of the family really quickly and grieving the loss of an animal companion is a very difficult process. Just remember that those close to us live forever in the memories we keep. Remind your loved one of that with your words of condolence for the loss of their pet.

sympathy examples for pets

Examples:

  • “When pets leave us, it can seem so sudden and cruel. I’m deeply saddened to know that your furry friend has passed on. You have my deepest sympathy.”
  • “Some dogs are incredibly lovable and fill up a void in your life you didn’t even know you had. When they pass, however, you realize just how big that void can be. I’m truly sorry for your loss.”
  • “In this tragic moment, we must celebrate the long life lived by your beloved cat, instead of letting those happy memories fade away in mourning.”
  • “I know words do little to ease the pain you feel when such a lovely pet passes on. Know that I am thinking of you during this time and always.”
  • “I know you were very close to (name of pet.) I’m sorry for your loss.”

Condolences to a Friend who Lost Someone Special

The loss of someone dear to us is never easy, but your loved one going through this grieving time may take comfort in the fact that you acknowledge his or her loss. Let these compassionate condolence messages guide your wishes.

sympathy card messages

Examples:

  • “Wishing you peace to bring you comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.”
  • “(Name of deceased) will remain in our hearts forever. May you be comforted by the outpouring of love and support.”
  • “This must be a very difficult time for you. I am up late if you need someone to talk to at night. Sent with love and remembrance.”
    “Words fall short of expressing my sorrow for your loss. I am deeply sorry to hear about the passing of (name of deceased.)”
  • “I can’t imagine the sadness you must be feeling from your loss. May the love of those around you help you through the days ahead.”

What to Write on Funeral Flower Bouquet

We are all aware of the tiny little card that comes clipped to a beautiful bouquet of flowers. When sending a funeral flower bouquet, here are some ideas to look to concerning what exactly to say. Short and sweet is the best way to share your emotions on the tiny blank space this small sympathy card provides.

Examples:

  • “Please know our loving thoughts embrace you.”
  • “Please accept these flowers and hear the words we are not able to speak.”
  • “My thoughts are with you.”
  • “Thinking of you in these difficult times.”
  • “Our hearts are filled with sorrow.”

How to Sign a Sympathy Card

How you sign your card will depend to a certain extent on the message that you’ve written. Here are some closings that you can use before signing your name.

Examples:

  • “With caring thoughts”
  • “My deepest sympathy”
  • “Warmest condolences”
  • “Please accept my condolences”
  • “With Sympathy”

Tip: Avoid using anything like “Sincerely” which can come off as too distant.

What NOT to Write on a Sympathy Card

Now that you have some solid guidance for what to write in your condolence messages, we want to also leave you with things that should be left out of your sympathy card.

Avoid saying: “I know how you feel.” Each type of loss is different for each person.
Avoid saying: “This happened for a reason” There’s no use in assigning blame for death.
Avoid saying: “He/she was so young.” A painful reminder is not needed.

Like we mentioned, sitting down and writing a sympathy card, no matter what the circumstance, is never an easy task. Use your own judgment and our examples to help guide you through the process. There are no set rules to this. The best advice we can give is to write from the heart in conveying your feelings.

Comments

  1. The idea behind this post is wonderful, but it really needs an editor. For example, under Mother it says, “Although no words can take away the sorrow that you bare.” “Bare” should be “bear”.

    And under Husband it says, “He must have gone away. But, he’s still right next to you. Love never dies. All I can say is, please take care of yourself.” …. “He MUST HAVE gone away”? In English, this grammar indicates that the speaker is making a guess. The rest of the quote is really no better.