How to write a condolence card

Kate BucklandBlog

Writing a condolence card for the family of someone who has died is an experience that is often emotional and challenging. We want to adequately convey our love, support and sympathy, but at the same time we also don’t want to say the wrong thing. We want the person we’re writing the message for to know we are thinking of them and we are sorry for their loss, but we don’t want to upset them more.

The truth is that there’s isn’t a perfect way of expressing your condolences to someone who has lost someone they love. No matter how much we want to, nothing we can say will heal their pain or bring their loved one back. We can, however, provide some comfort in letting them know that they are not alone, and that both they and the person they have lost are loved. The aim of a well written condolence message is to convey support, empathy and comfort.

Our top tip for writing a good sympathy card is to sit down and take your time. Don’t let the fear of saying the wrong thing cause you to say nothing at all. Knowing someone is there can go a long way to someone feeling seen and supported in a time of grief. Sometimes we need to show people that in darkness, there can be light. Your message just might be that flicker of light that is needed.

We suggest that you write your condolence message in first person, and be as specific as you can. Do you have a favourite memory of the person who has passed? Share it! Make sure you say it your way, too. Don’t rely on the message that is already printed inside the card – it’s the words that come from you that count the most.

The following are some examples of condolence messages for different situations. Feel free to use these and change them accordingly if you so wish, or to draw inspiration from them to come up with your own.

General sympathy note wording

  • Dear (name), I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t know exactly what to say, but I want you to know that my thoughts are with you and I wish you comfort and peace.
  • Wishing you strength and comfort through this difficult time.
  • Please accept my warmest condolences. I’m truly sorry for your loss.
  • Please know that I am here for you during this time (however please do not say this unless you genuinely mean it, or better yet, make a direct offer of practical help)
  • Words fail to express my deep sorrow for your loss.
  • Words can’t express how much (name of deceased) has meant to me over the years. He/she always brought so much light to the lives of those around him/her and he/she will be truly missed.
  • I know how much (Name) meant to you, and I can’t imagine what this loss feels like.

Loss of a mother

  • There are so few words that can truly offer comfort when we lose the person who brought us into this world. (Mother’s name) was a wonderful woman and I know that the days, weeks and months ahead will not be an easy path. Please know you are surrounded by people who love you, and our thoughts are with you and your family.
  • Nothing can truly cut the ties of motherhood. She is with us all still in love, memory, and family. Know we are here to support you all through everything that may come.
  • You took such good care of your mother over the past few years. She was lucky to have you.
  • A mother is always with us. First in her lifetime, and then in our memory.
  • I didn’t know your mother well, but she must have been incredible to have raised someone as wonderful as you.
  • You’ll always remember how it felt to be loved by her. I hope those memories will bring you some comfort in time.

Loss of a father

  • Your Father was so proud of you and loved you so much. I hope this comforts you as you deal with his loss.
  • I like to believe that when we lose someone close to us, like a Father, they still live through us and give us strength. The time we have spent with those we’ve lost makes them a part of us
  • 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.
  • Such a strong man will never truly be gone, for he has left such a loving presence in our hearts.
  • Nobody could tell a funny story like your father. Remember (insert funny memory here)? My face hurt for a full day after from laughing so hard. I’ll always cherish those memories and fun times spent with him.
  • I’m so sorry about your father’s death. I hope the good memories you have of him will comfort you in the days ahead.

Loss of a spouse

  • What beautiful memories the two of you have made together. I can’t imagine the loss you have suffered, but know I’m here for you now and always.
  • Though the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming. I know you can get through this.
  • Losing the one you love is so hard. And so, I’m praying hard for you, for peace, for comfort, for whatever you need right now.
  • Nothing compares to the love of a spouse. I want you to know that I am thinking about you and I’m here for you always.
  • The love your husband/wife had for you is something that can never be taken away. Hold on to that and know that he/she is with you always.
  • Your husband/wife was an amazing person. He/she will be missed for his/her goodness in life. Stay strong and know there is a whole community at your side.
  • 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.
  • (Name) was not just a great companion to you, but also a very wonderful human being, having touched the lives of many. His/Her passing has brought sadness to many around and we are all going to miss him/her. 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.
  • (Name) was amazing – full of love love, sincerity, and joy. He/she will be immensely missed. May you take comfort in the love of friends and family during this difficult time.
  • 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.

Loss of a sibling

  • I never would have felt ready to say good-bye to someone as special as your brother/sister, but this timing feels especially tough. Wishing your family comfort and strength for the days and weeks ahead.
  • Words, no matter how kind, can’t mend your heartache. However, those who care for you wish you comfort and peace of mind.
  • Words don’t do justice to how I feel for you right now, as you bear the burden of the passing of your brother/sister. If there is any way I can share this burden with you to help you through, I’m here.
  • The impact s/he made in the lives of those around him/her is a testament to the kind of person she was. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister/brother.
  • It was an honour to have gotten to know your brother/sister. He/She was a wonderful person, and I’m sorry for your loss.
  • I will never forget the great times we had growing up, and every instance your brother/sister became a part of them. I’m deeply saddened by your loss and extend my condolences to you and your family.
  • I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now, and I am at a total loss for words. I am thinking of you, pulling for you to get through the grief and on to happier days. I truly hope that you find comfort in your family during these dark times. Please accept my deepest sympathies and condolences for the loss of your sister/brother.

Loss of a child

  • My heartfelt condolences to you for the death of such a wonderful child who brought so much joy and happiness to all around. I am so sorry and if there is anything I can do to help make this grief even a little bearable please let me know.
  • One step at a time is all you need to take as you go through this difficult moment of losing (name). I am always here whenever you want or need to talk or if you need me for anything else.
  • My deepest sympathies for the loss of your beautiful daughter. Her beauty brought us radiance and we will miss her terribly.
  • Learning about your son’s/daughter’s death was heartbreaking and I cannot imagine the anguish you must be feeling right now. Should you need me for anything at anytime please let me know, for you are not alone.
  • Your son may be gone but he has left footprints in our hearts and lives and we will forever treasure the precious memories of him. Please accept our deepest sympathies.
  • We celebrate the life of a very fine young man who we will miss terribly. May his memory be a blessing to your whole family.
  •  I am so sorry to hear of your loss, a life so full and bright has been taken from us too soon. When I remember (Name), I am reminded of their spirit, of their kindness, and their laughter. Sending you our love and know that you are ever-present in our thoughts. The loss of [name] is such terrible news. I hope you find the strength from knowing that you were such a wonderful parent, that you made their days bright and happy. They spent their days loved and cherished. I know this cannot bring them back to you, but please know that their memories were happy, and you gave all of yourself, and, in return, had the most wonderful [boy/girl] who was a credit to you. Their memory lives on forever in our minds and our hearts. . Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things in our lives. Saying goodbye to a child is unspeakable. It is so deeply saddening and painful. Please know that you are not alone. We stand together with you in sadness, and stand together with you in pain. Please know you are loved and supported.