How to write a condolence message
Writing a condolence message can be a challenge. Comforting someone who is grieving is not an easy task, and while there is nothing you can do to take their pain away, messages of sympathy are a way to let the person know you are thinking of them during their most difficult time.
Writing sympathy card messages
Sometimes it can be hard to find the right words to offer support and empathy – but there are some simple steps you can follow to make it a little easier.
The first step is to decide who you are going to address your sympathy card to, which may not always be as obvious as it seems. If you are unsure of who you should address your message to, choose the closest relative of the person who has passed away, usually the wife, husband or eldest child. If a friends parent has passed away, write the sympathy card to your friend. If you feel it is appropriate, add “and family” onto the end of your greeting.
Once you have chosen the person you are going to send your sympathy card to, the next step is to decide on an appropriate sympathy card message. It’s probably best to avoid writing long passages, as the recipient is likely to be receiving many cards and messages during this time. Instead, try:
- Telling them you are sorry for their loss
- Sharing a memory about the person who has passed away (this depends on the relationship you had with the person who has died, along with the person you are sending the card to. If you feel it is appropriate, you could share a memory to let their loved ones know how much the deceased meant to you, too)
- Include a condolences quote, bible verse or religious saying if appropriate
Short condolence messages
If you didn’t have a close relationship to the person who has passed away, but would still like to express your sympathy, you can include a short condolence message in your card. Examples include:
- Heartfelt thoughts go out to you in this time of sorrow
- I am thinking about you and sending love
- Our family is keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers
- Thinking of you during this difficult time
- Someone so special can never be forgotten
If you’re still in doubt about what you should (or shouldn’t) include in your sympathy message, choosing a short and meaningful condolences quote is an ideal way to share your sentiment. The quotes you choose will depend heavily upon the relationship you had with the deceased, but some popular examples include:
- “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever” – Alfred Lord Tennyson
- “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.” – Mahatma Gandhi
-“Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
If the recipient of the sympathy card is Christian, then a biblical verse may provide some comfort. The same, of course, goes for other religions. Here are some appropriate verses from the bible:
- "Blessed for those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
- "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of this saints.” – Psalm 116:15
- “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heard of the sea.” – Psalm 46:1-2
Writing funeral card messages
Whether you will be attending the funeral or are simply sending a funeral card to express your sympathy, it’s important to include a message that is both heartfelt and appropriate. Funeral cards, especially if they are included within a bouquet of flowers, are often shorter in length – though no less heartfelt. Examples include:
- Treasured memories
- Till we meet again
- We'll always love and miss you so much
- Always in my heart
- Rest in peace
Saying goodbye is never easy, but at Simplicity we are here to help
We understand that no one can understand what your loss feels like to you, but one of the best ways to deal with grief is to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone who isn’t a friend or family member, which is why we offer our GriefChat service.