What to Write in a Sympathy Card

When someone you care about experiences the loss of a loved one, finding the “right” words to say or write in a sympathy card can be challenging and feel overwhelming. 

Even the most skillful wordsmith may wonder, “What if I say the wrong thing and make them feel worse?” What’s important to remember is that your message should send a sincere sentiment that feels personal to the person receiving it, while expressing your love, compassion and support. 

To help, we’ve put together some valuable tips to use the next time you need to write a sympathy card. From losing a parent or spouse to saying goodbye to a pet, our suggestions can help you show your support and empathy to your loved ones during an emotionally difficult time. 

Why Write A Sympathy Card?

In today’s fast-paced, digital world, it may seem like sending a text or email in the place of a card could suffice. However, a handwritten sympathy card is one of the most intimate forms of communication and therefore, will always hold infinitely more meaning than that of a digital message.

When someone you know is grieving, words from the heart offer lasting comfort while showing how much the person they’ve lost was valued, respected, and loved. A condolence card can assist you in getting started on your message. 

Knowing What To Say In A Sympathy Card

While the pain someone feels after losing a loved one can’t be taken away with words, a short and sincere note can help them face the emotionally challenging road ahead. 

When it comes time to write, allow yourself at least ten uninterrupted minutes to reflect on what you would like to say and then speak sincerely from your heart. 

Composing Your Sympathy Card Message

Since sympathy cards usually already contain a pre-written message, feel free to keep your words short. A brief message can still be comforting and express your compassion.

Below are examples of what you may consider saying in a sympathy card according to your relationship with the deceased. Again, use these tips as a guide to help you express your love and support in your condolence card. 

Sympathy Messages For The Loss Of A Mother Or Father 

Losing a parent is emotionally painful to cope with, no matter how old you are. And whether you knew the person who passed or not, your words will bring comfort to their child during this time. 

It is comforting for a grieving person to hear how much his or her parent was loved and admired during their life. 

Here are some ways in which you can express sympathy for the loss of a parent:

  • Though I never met your mother, I know she was an exceptional woman to raise a daughter like you. I’m thinking of you and am here for you during this difficult time. 
  • Your dad always knew how to make someone smile and never knew a stranger. Hold onto your dear memories and let us know how we can help you through this painful time. 
  • I am saddened to hear that your mother passed away. I hope you feel surrounded by much love during this difficult time. Please know I am here to help you in any way I can.
  • I am so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. He was such an inspiration, and I will never forget him cheering us on at our basketball games. My thoughts are with you and your family during this incredibly sad time. 

Sympathy Messages For The Loss Of A Spouse

The passionate and deep bond shared between two people who are married is unlike any other. When one of the spouses passes, it is incredibly painful and even life-altering for the remaining partner.

If you have a loved one who is coping with the loss of a spouse, these messages can help comfort their broken heart:

  • “We’ve shared our lives these many years. You’ve held my hand; you’ve held my heart. So many blessings, so few tears – yet for a moment, we must part.” (Author Unknown) There are no words to say how sorry I am for the loss of (name). Wishing you as much peace as possible during this difficult time.
  • Your wife brought so much joy and happiness to everyone who knew her. The love you both shared could be seen through her smile, lighting up her whole face when she talked about you. She will be missed immensely. Our deepest condolences for this tremendous loss.
  • The happiness that (name) brought to the world will never be forgotten. Please stay strong and know we are here for you during this difficult time. 
  • I wish I could find the words to express how saddened I feel after learning about the passing of your dear husband. May you hold tight to all the amazing memories you shared together. My thoughts are with your whole family. 

Sympathy Messages For The Loss Of A Child

No parent should have to know the pain of losing a child, but tragically it can happen. The intense grief can be devastating, and the loss can be felt for a lifetime, changing the lives of the family involved forever. It can often feel impossible to know what to say during such a traumatic time. 

Some words of comfort to use in a sympathy card to grieving parents are: 

  • (Name) touched so many lives, and we are forever grateful for knowing him/her. Holding you in our hearts, surrounding you with love.
  • Children leave footprints on our hearts and are never forgotten. Your son’s memory will live on forever in every person who knew and loved him. 
  • Your daughter made a significant impact on the lives of so many people. Please know that I am always here for you, especially during this difficult time. 
  • (Name) brought tremendous love, light, and laughter in this world. We are all the better for knowing him/her. Our hearts are with you during this painful time. 

Sympathy Messages For The Loss Of A Baby/Stillbirth/Miscarriage

Unfortunately, someone we love can suffer the profound pain of a miscarriage, stillbirth, or the passing of an infant. It is unthinkable, and trying to find the right words during such a heartrending time can be incredibly tricky.

Try one of the messages below as inspiration or to copy as-is:

  • There are no words to take away the pain you are feeling. Please know I am thinking of you constantly and hope this message offers your peace and comfort during this difficult time. 
  • We are so sorry for your terrible loss. Our heart aches for you and your family, but please know we are here to support you in any way we can.  
  • I can’t express how sorry I am about the loss of your baby. But I hope you can take some comfort in knowing you are surrounded by love. You are always in my thoughts. 
  • I’m so sorry about the loss of your pregnancy. Please know you have my love and support during this painful time.  
  • My heart breaks to hear of your loss. Your sweet baby was so loved, and I hope you can find some comfort in the days ahead. 

Sympathy Messages For The Loss Of A Friend

Friends are often like family. So when a friend passes away, the loss we can feel can be tremendous. 

Here are some ways in which you can console someone who has lost a close friend:

  • No words can mend your heartache. However, I hope you can find comfort and peace from the love surrounding you. 
  • I am so sorry to hear about the passing of (name). I remember how inseparable both of you were in college, and how strangers would often think you were sisters. Please know I am here for you and hope you can find comfort in all the memories you two made. 
  • “The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one.” – Seneca.  I am so sorry for your loss and am here for you during this difficult time. 

Things To Avoid When Writing A Sympathy Card

Someone who has just experienced the passing of a loved one may be more sensitive to certain words during this emotionally difficult time. With that being said, it is important to be mindful and empathic, as well as choose your words wisely when writing a sympathy card. 

While you should always write from your heart, there are words and phrases to steer clear of as well as certain things to take into consideration:

  • “Death” and “Died”- Instead use gentler words like “loss” or “passing”. 
  • “I know how you feel….” – You may be able to relate to their loss. However, it is still better to not assume or state that you know how they are feeling as everyone grieves differently.
  • “I felt the same way when I lost my parent/spouse/child.” Same sentiment as above.
  • Details of the death
  • “This was part of God’s plan.”
  • Telling the person things will get easier soon – Remember, again everyone grieves differently and the time people can take to grieve also differs from individual to individual. 
  • Be careful about expressing religious sentiments in your sympathy card if the person you are writing to does not share your beliefs.
  • Advising the bereaved person on what they should do/feel. Put the focus instead on offering your compassion, comfort and support.

Your Words Of Sympathy Hold Powerful Meaning

While you might feel like you will never find the right words to say during , the fact that you tried will be incredibly meaningful and offer comfort to grieving loved ones. A sympathy card can’t take away the pain of losing someone but can help them feel loved and supported. 

Remember to always speak from your heart and to make your message as personal as possible. Your words will offer support to the grieving person, knowing that the memory of their loved one will continue to live on through others.

Consider Creating an Obituary to Honor The Memory of the Deceased

When we lose a loved one, creating an obituary for them is a wonderful way to honor their legacy and celebrate their life story. Lifememory.com offers the world’s largest network of obituaries making it easy for you to create a lasting, special reminder to pay tribute to your loved one’s memory.

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