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Sympathy Messages: What to Write in a Sympathy Card

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.

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:

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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.