Writing a sympathy card or bereavement card can be very difficult. You want to tell the recipient that you are thinking of them, but finding the right words and worrying you might say the wrong thing make it hard to know where to start.
It’s important to reach out to people who have experienced loss and a condolence card can help them feel loved and supported. Our tips below will help you write a meaningful message to let them know you care.
Three things to think about before you write your message:
- If you knew the deceased, but not the family you’re sending the card to, mention your connection to their loved one
- Tell the person who is grieving why their loved one was special to you and mention a memory you have of them
- If you know the bereaved person well, make a genuine offer of help. It is usually better to say exactly what you can do, whether it’s a practical thing like delivering meals or emotional support like spending time with them whether they want to talk or not. Make sure you follow up on your offer with a phone call or message to let them know you really want to help.
You might find a few words are all you need, to let them know you care. Especially if the card already has a printed message or you don’t know the bereaved very well:
- With heartfelt condolences
- Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts
- I am very sorry for your loss
- Holding you close in our hearts and thoughts
- It was a pleasure knowing Daniel. He will be missed
- Wishing you as much peace as possible during this difficult time
- Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time of great sadness
- Thinking of you
- We hope you find comfort in those around you
- Claire will remain in our hearts forever
- Sending love and best wishes during this sad time
- I’m going to miss him, too
- My thoughts are with you and your family
- Remembering your wonderful mum and wishing you comfort
- Thinking of you all as we remember your grandmother’s remarkable life.
Make it Personal
If you knew the deceased well, let the grieving person know what you loved about them
- It was a pleasure working with your father for nine years. He will be deeply missed
- Sarah was an amazing person who led a remarkable life. I feel so lucky to have known her at college
- Your father was a very kind man. His funeral service was a lovely tribute to him. He will be deeply missed
- I feel privileged to have known your mother. You must miss her warm smile. I’m thinking of you
- Your brother was a good man. I’m grateful that I had the chance to know him as both a colleague and a friend
- Your daughter was one-in-a-million. Such a sweet, generous person. I will miss her
- Your sister was the funniest person I’ve ever met. She brought happiness and laughter to everyone
- I was incredibly sad to hear about Brian’s passing. He was a wonderful man and I feel truly blessed to have had him in my life. I have so many lovely memories to look back on.
Offers of help
Offering genuine support to people in their time of need is a way to ease some of their worries.
- I’m thinking of your family and want to help in any way I can. I’ll call to see when would be the best time to bring over a meal
- You must have so much on your mind right now. We’d like to make one less worry by offering to come around and take care of your garden
- We’re here for you whenever you need a good meal, want to cry, or any moment in between
- When a death occurs in a family, it leaves behind an emptiness that can only be filled by the love of others and time. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help
- I can’t imagine what you are feeling, but I want to express my condolences to you. Please let me know of any way I can help.
Sympathy Sign offs
You could end your message with the following closings:
- With sympathy
- With heartfelt sympathy
- With thoughts and prayers
- With love at this sad time
- Thinking of you.
What Not To Write In A Sympathy Card
Try to avoid using these phrases in a bereavement card…
- “ know how you feel.” We all experience grief differently
- “You should…” Instead of advice, offer support
- “You will…” Avoid guessing how their grief journey will go
- “This happened for a reason.” Even with the best intentions, this thought sounds like it’s justifying the death
If you are struggling to find your own words, finding a quote that sums up your sentiment could be an option. Here are some ideas:
- “If there ever comes a day where we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.” – Winnie The Pooh
- “Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.” Albert Einstein
- “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?” – Winnie The Pooh
- “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.” – Gandhi
- “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” – Victor Hugo
If you are looking for a special way for someone’s memory to live on we can engrave their handwriting on to a piece of jewellery, so they will be close to your heart forever. See our handwriting range here.
We also offer a range of beautiful memorial products here.