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What to Write in a Sympathy Card

August 14th, 2023

Finding the right words to comfort a grieving friend or loved one can make us all feel overwhelmed and helpless. While there often isn’t anything we can do to directly alleviate their emotional distress, the simple act of showing someone they aren’t alone by sending a card with a thoughtful sympathy message or a meaningful gift can play an important role in their grieving process. While striving to get every word perfectly “right” may seem like a daunting task, taking a moment to simply “write” what is on your mind and in your heart has an immense power to lift others up.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

What to Write for the Loss of a Father

Losing a father can be especially difficult. It’s difficult for many to imagine life without a dad in their life. The loss can leave a vast emptiness, children may be left feeling responsible for comforting others – like their mother or their own children – as well. Keep your message sincere and heartfelt, and let them know they’re not alone.

  • I am deeply sorry for your loss. Your father will always hold a special place in our hearts. May his memory be a source of comfort and inspiration.
  • We were so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. I see so much of him in you. We’re keeping you in our thoughts and sending strength.
  • Your dad was one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He could always make everyone smile. What a man! He will be dearly missed.
  • Your father was very special to us, our community and, most importantly, to you and your family. He was so proud of you and loved you with his whole heart.
  • Even though I didn’t know your father, I heard time and time again that he was an amazing man. My deepest sympathies for your loss.

Gift Suggestion: Consider sending a thoughtfully personalized memorial lantern that will light up to remind them of their father’s love.

What to Write for the Loss of a Mother

The bond between mother and child is a special one, which makes the loss of a mother especially difficult. No matter our age, a part of us always needs our mom, which makes recognizing the significance of this loss especially important.

  • The bond between mother and child is a special one, which makes the loss of a mother especially difficult. No matter our age, a part of us always needs our mom, which makes recognizing the significance of this loss especially important.
  • Losing a mom is such a profound loss, and I want you to know you are not alone. Remember to take care of yourself and lean on loved ones (including me!) for support.
  • I’m truly sorry for the pain and grief you are going through. Your mom’s spirit will continue to nurture and guide you. Our thoughts are with you and your family.
  • My deepest condolences for your loss. Even though I didn’t know her, I always heard so many wonderful things about your mother. Her memory lives on through you.
  • Your mother was such an amazing person. She continually inspired me with her spirit and her fierce love for her children. I know that she loved you so much!

Gift suggestion: A personalized memorial gift like an inscribed wind chime can help comfort a grieving friend or loved one by showing them their mom will always be there to guide and support them.

What to Write for the Loss of a Grandparent

The loss of a grandparent represents the circle of life and is often the first experience many have dealing with grief and loss. Creating a place to reflect and remember them, like a sympathy garden planted with their favorite flowers, can help the healing process.

  • Please accept my deepest sympathies. Your grandmother was an amazing woman, and her legacy will live through you, your children and the generations to come. Sending strength and love.
  • When we think about the Greatest Generation, we think of your grandfather. His service to our country, devotion to his family and dedication to his work will never be forgotten. You and your family are in our hearts and prayers.
  • I wish I could be with you in person, but know I am thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. Your grandma set the bar for matriarchs, and I know she will be dearly missed. Hope to give you healing hug soon in person.
  • Though I never met your grandpa, I know he would be so proud of you! I hope you find peace and comfort in your wonderful memories with him.
  • Your grandmother was an incredible woman, which continues to shine through in you. Your bond was close and unbreakable. I am so sorry and here for you always.

Gift suggestion: Choose a peaceful spot with a beautiful view to place a thoughtfully customized memorial bench where you can reflect on cherished memories.

What to Write for the Loss of a Husband or Wife

When a spouse dies, so many dreams of a future spent together die as well. This loss can be especially difficult for a surviving spouse who must also emotionally support children who are grieving the death of their parent. Widows and widowers are also often faced with a sudden shift in financial circumstances and even social circles. Take care to write a thoughtful condolence message that recognizes their pain and shows them they are not alone.

  • We were so saddened to learn of the sudden death of your husband. He was a great man, and his loss will be felt and mourned by so many. We are here for you during this difficult time.
  • What a wonderful 15 years you had together. The rest of us can only aspire to the legacy of love you and your wife shared. So sorry to hear of her sudden passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
  • A love like yours will live on forever. Your husband was a wonderful father, husband and friend. I hope your memories bring you all peace, comfort and strength.
  • Even though you lost half of you, know that you are not alone. Please lean on your friends and family during this distressing time. We are here for you, today and always.
  • She may longer be here with us, but your wife’s beautiful memories will live on forever. She fought bravely and will serve as an inspiration for many for all the years to come.

Gift suggestion: Consider sending a gift that makes a widow or widower feel comforted and supported, like a personalized sympathy blanket to curl up in.

What to Write for the Loss of a Friend

The loss of a close friend is often one of the hardest losses to bear. While best friends play integral roles in our life, the grieving process often focuses on immediate family and romantic relationships, making mourning particularly lonely. It’s important to recognize their grief and remind them that even though their friend is gone, they are not alone.

  • Loss is always hard. But when those we love are taken from us too soon, the loss can seem unbearable. I am here for you, today and always. Sending my deepest sympathies.
  • I was so saddened to hear about the sudden loss of your dear friend. May her memory live on through you.
  • Sending our deepest sympathies on the loss of your childhood friend. I know he was like a brother to you. We are so sorry to hear of his sudden passing.
  • While we all knew and loved her, I know this loss is hitting you especially hard. I am here for you in any way that can help ease the pain. Sending so much love.
  • I love you, and know that she loved you, too. It’s so hard to imagine life without her. Grief is a journey, and I’m always here by your side.

Gift suggestion: Remind them of the special times they shared with their departed friend with a photo memorial gift that captures cherished moments.

What to Write for the Loss of a Child

When the worst happens, it’s difficult not feel helpless and overwhelmed. The loss of a child is incredibly heartbreaking and represents a pain that may truly never go away. Be patient, be sincere, and be available while giving them the space and time they need to heal.

  • The world has taken the greatest love of all. Our heart breaks for you a million times over. Sending love, peace and strength during this devastating time.
  • There truly are no words to express my sympathies right now. I cannot fathom what you're going through, but I love you and am thinking of you.
  • Life seems incredibly cruel, and I know you are struggling to find meaning in what has happened. If I can do anything to help ease the pain or everyday tasks, please let me know how I can help.
  • The loss of a child is the most awful thing that could happen, and I am so sorry it happened to you.
  • Even though the world is dark right now, I hope your bright memories keep shining through in the most beautiful way. You will always be their mom. Today and forever.

Gift suggestion: You can help keep cherished memories of a lost child alive with a thoughtful gift like a custom memorial stepping stone to place in a garden, near a favorite swing or beneath a special tree.

What to the Write for the Loss of a Pet

The love of a pet is unconditional, which makes a pet’s death often as deep and painful as the loss of any close friend or family member. While nothing can fill the void of this loss, acknowledging their grief and letting them know they are not alone can help the grieving process.

  • I am sorry to hear your dog crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Pets are such cherished members of the family. Yours will be dearly missed by all.
  • Your sweet dog brought so much joy to everyone she encountered at dog beach. I will always remember her jumping in the waves to fetch her ball. She was so lucky to have chosen you!
  • Sending love and comfort after hearing about the loss of such a special cat. Your little guy had so much personality and so many treat-filled lives.
  • I am so sorry for your loss. I know how much you loved your pup. And when I looked at her gazing at you, I knew the adoration was mutual.
  • Losing such a big part of your family is never easy. I know your cat will be dearly missed. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

Gift suggestion: Sending a sympathy keepsake with their pet’s name or photo, like a Christmas ornament, can be a touching gesture that will be forever appreciated.

How to Sign a Sympathy Card

Wrap up your sentiments in a warm and sincere way that matches the tone of your card and gift. Here are a few suggestions.

  • With heartfelt sympathy,
  • With deepest sympathy,
  • With sincere condolences,
  • My condolences
  • My heart goes out to you,
  • Deepest condolences,
  • Thinking of your family,
  • Thinking of you during this sad time,
  • With love during this hard time,
  • Sharing in your sadness,
  • With warm thoughts and love,
  • Wishing you peace and strength,
  • With love and prayers,
  • God bless you and your family,
  • Keeping you in our prayers,

Whatever the circumstances, bereaved friends and family will appreciate a note of condolence during such difficult times. A meaningful gift to brighten their day and provide comfort is also always welcome. And if you’ve promised to help with meals, chores, carpools and more, don’t forget to stay true to your word. Follow up with the family during the weeks and months ahead, but don’t overwhelm them. Just let them know you are there, and let time heal the rest.