Finding the right words to express condolences to a person who’s lost someone can be challenging and emotional. You want to acknowledge their loss and grief, but also don’t want to say the wrong thing.
Although there are multiple ways to communicate condolences, taking the time to send a thoughtful message -note, card or letter- adds a personal touch. It provides the space to recognize a loss, honor the deceased and acknowledge people’s grief. Besides bringing individual comfort, a message is a personal way to show families support at a time that matters most.
According to experts, handwritten notes are one of the most personal forms of communication. The recipient may forget the day you called or visited but your card is a keepsake. It will be kept and reread, in the weeks, months and years following the funerals.
The best time to send a condolence message would depend on your relationship with the person grieving. Usually, within the first couple of weeks. However, if you miss that opportunity, it’s never too late.
Steps-by-steps guide to write Condolence Messages
The first thing to consider when writing a condolence message is to ensure your words are heartfelt. It is also essential to convey your emotions with the right tone in your writing. Remember that your words matter, so you should empathize with their pain to let them know you share in their grief.
Writing a Short Condolence Message
These condolence messages are great starters to your personnel message. Use them to get your message flowing or as inspiration.
Common Condolence Message
“I am so sorry for your loss.”
“My deepest sympathy for your loss.”
“Wishing you strength and comfort through this difficult time.”
“My heart goes out to you and your family.”
“Please accept my warmest condolences. I’m truly sorry for your loss.”
“Words fail to express my deep sorrow for your loss.”
“Thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort.”
“I hope you know I'm here for you during this time of sorrow.”
Religious Condolence Message
“We are holding your family in our hearts and lifting you in prayer.”
“Please accept my deepest condolences and know that God loves you and can restore your spirits, give you peace, and strengthen you.”
“Wherever a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.”
“I am praying for you to find peace and healing through our Lord’s infinite love.”
“May God wrap His arms around you and give you peace and hope.”
“May God turn your time of darkness into light again. May He stay by your side during this difficult time.”
“I pray that God will grant you the strength you need to get through this difficult time”.
“May the Lord give you comfort and peace in your time of bereavement.”
Condolence Message For Loss of Mother
“You took such good care of your Mom these last few years. She was lucky to have you.”
“I miss your wonderful Mother along with you and wish you comfort and peace during this difficult time.”
“Your Mom’s kindness, generosity and caring nature was contagious, and her memory will live on forever.”
“Your Mom’s amazing qualities are being carried on beautifully by you. She will be greatly missed and always remembered.”
“I didn’t know your Mom well, but she must have been incredible to raise someone as special as you.”
“Your Mother will forever remain in our hearts and memories.”
“You’ll always remember how it felt to be loved by her. I hope those memories will bring you some comfort in time.”
“A Mother is with us always, first in her lifetime, then forever in our memory.”
Condolence Message For Loss of Father
“Your Dad did a great job raising you. May you always feel his pride and love.”
“A father’s guiding hand always sits on the shoulder of his children. May your Dad’s memory always be your guiding light.”
“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.”
“Nobody could tell a better story than your Dad. I will always cherish the times I got to know him.”
“Your Father was a one-of-a-kind person that lived a truly remarkable life. I feel lucky I got to know him.”
“The lessons your Dad taught you, the love he gave, the way he cared for people… all those good things live on in you.”
“Your Father was so proud of you and loved you so much. I hope this comforts you as you deal with his loss. I would love to help you in any way possible. Let me know what I can do.”
“I will always treasure the fun memories I have with your Dad. He will be missed by many.”
Condolence Message For Loss of Husband
“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.”
“It’s just not fair. If you ever want to talk, know I’m always here for you”.
“Words cannot describe who your husband truly was and so words also cannot describe the loss we are all feeling now”.
“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.”
“It was truly a pleasure to work with your husband. He will be missed by many.”
“Someone who shared so much of life with you will forever be a part of you. Keeping you in my prayers as you remember your husband.”
“Be gentle with yourself and take all the time you need to heal. Remember, you’re not alone.”
“My heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your husband. His memory will not be forgotten.”
Condolence Message For Loss of Wife
“No one can ever replace the amazing person your wife was. My thoughts are with you during this time.”
“Please know that I’m here for you, to listen, comfort and lean on during this difficult time.”
“The love your wife had for you is something that can never be taken away. Hold on to that and know that she is with you always.”
“The love and joy your kind hearted wife brought to the world will never be forgotten.”
“I know this must be a difficult time for you and your family. As we keep you in our thoughts and prayers, please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help out.”
“There are no words, but there is much love surrounding you and your family and in the memories of your loving wife.”
“What the two of you shared was truly something special. You loved each other so well.”
“When someone as special as your wife lives the way she did, her legacy is sure to live on through the many lives she touched.”
Condolence Message For Loss of a Child
“It feels wrong that you should have to say goodbye to your child. Whatever you’re feeling, please know you’re not alone. We’re here to support you in any way we can in the weeks and months to come.”
“I hope there’s some comfort in knowing just how loved and adored your daughter/son was.”
“I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I’m deeply sorry for your loss.”
“I wish that I could bring you comfort and acceptance, but all I can do is stand beside you. I’m here if you need anything.”
“Though we only got to hold him/her for a little while, he/she brought us together and brought so many smiles. Celebrating all the days that were brighter because your beautiful son/daughter was here.”
“Those we have held in our arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever.”
“With the loss of a child, we are left with an emptiness that can only be filled by the love of others and time. Please know that we are here for you.”
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. A child’s love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
Condolence Message For Loss of a Sibling
“I’m heartbroken to hear about the loss of your brother/sister. Even though I never met him/her, I know how much he/she meant to you.”
“I hope it brings you some comfort in knowing that your brother/sister’s life will be celebrated with joy and gratitude by his/her many, many friends.”
“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.”
“I’m so sorry to hear you lost your brother/sister. I’m grateful I had the chance to meet him/her. He/She will be dearly missed.”
“Even though I never met your sister, I felt as though I knew her through all the wonderful things you told me about her.”
“Words, no matter how kind, can’t mend your heartache. However, those who care for you wish you comfort and peace of mind.”
Condolence Message For Loss of a Grandparent
“Your Grandfather/Grandmother was an amazing person and I’m glad I got a chance to know him/her. He/She will always be remembered.”
“May all of your happy memories of your Grandfather/Grandmother give you peace and comfort during this challenging time.”
“I’m so sorry to hear of your Grandfather/Grandmother’s passing. I will always remember him/her as a kind and loving member of your family.”
“Your Grandfather/Grandmother blessed so many people with his/her love and kindness. I hope that you will find comfort in your memories of him/her and knowing others miss him/her too.”
“Here’s to celebrating the life of a great person and mourning his/her passing with you in every possible way.”
“Thinking of you and sending love as you celebrate your Grandfather/Grandmother’s remarkable life.”
“When death occurs in a family, it leaves behind an emptiness that can only be filled by the love of others and time. Please reach out if there’s anything we can do to help.”
“One of the storms we all must face in our lives is the passing of someone dear to our hearts. I am sorry you are facing this right now, but I know you are strong enough to get through it.”
Condolence Message For Loss of a Friend
“Sending you thoughts of comfort during this difficult time. And remembering your dear friend with love.”
“This card isn’t meant to do anything for you but let you know that I am thinking of you at this time.”
“The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one.”
“The feelings of sorrow can be easier to navigate with a friend. Please know that I’m here for you during this difficult time.”
“I will miss him/her too, and will carry him/her in my heart, always.”
“He/She really made a difference in so many lives. I know he/she will be remembered with love.”
“I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s passing. I hope you know that I am here for you.”
Condolence Message For Loss of a Pet
“Our pets never truly leave us. They live on as memories that we will cherish forever.”
“Heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your beloved companion.”
“Our beloved pets hold such an important place in our lives and our hearts. Thinking of you as you remember your sweet dog/cat.”
“Wishing you smiles amid the tears as you remember happy times with your loyal companion and friend.”
Writing a Long Condolence Message
Although it is advisable to keep sympathy messages short and simple, you may write long condolences if you were close with the deceased or their loved ones.
Refer to the deceased by name.
Refer to the deceased by name in your letter. Saying and hearing the deceased’s name can be a comfort to the grieving individual and serve as a reminder of their presence.
Express your sympathy.
When you write to express your sympathy, include a line in your letter that states the obvious in a straightforward way. It’s perfectly fine to say, “I’m so sorry to hear that your mom died.”
Point out something special about the deceased.
You might feel an urge to keep your letter brief and unspecific so as not to overwhelm the person who is grieving — but try pointing out something special about the deceased. When you add personal details, your condolence letter will feel much more special and heartfelt.
Remind your friend or family member of his/her good qualities.
In the midst of grieving, it’s common to feel lost, helpless, and alone. In your letter, remind the bereaved of their own strengths and positive qualities that might help them cope or feel loved and supported.
Share a memory.
Share a favorite memory of the deceased in your letter. It can serve as a source of comfort, joy, and connection to the bereaved — particularly if the memory is one that they might not have heard before.
Offer to help.
Consider doing something special to help your grieving family member or friend. Instead of saying, “I’m here for whatever you need,” you can say, “Can I bring you dinner next weekend?”
End with an expression of sympathy.
Instead of the traditional letter sign-off “sincerely,” “love, “or “thinking of you,” try something like: “You are in my thoughts and prayers,” or “I am here to support you,” or “I am with you in prayer and presence.” These statements help to underscore your ongoing sympathy and support as the bereaved navigate their loss.
What not to say in a condolence message
Much of the difficulty in writing words of condolence is the fear of saying something wrong.
Here are a few things to avoid in your sympathy message:
“I Know How You Feel”
When writing your condolence message, try not to say you know how the person feels since everyone experiences loss differently.
Words Of Advice
Stay clear from offering advice or saying “you should (fill in the blank).” Focus instead on kind and thoughtful words of comfort, love and support.
Never say “things happen for a reason,” “the person is in a better place,” or “it’s better this way.” Even if the deceased person experienced much pain and suffering before their passing, this is not a kind or comforting way to express your condolences.
If you’re concerned your message will come off wrong, keep your message short and simple.