Offering condolences to a friend or loved one during their time of need is important. Finding the right words for condolence messages can be difficult.
You want to make sure you don’t say the wrong thing, or something that might be misconstrued as offensive. You also want to ensure that your words of condolence are heartfelt and meaningful, the sort of thing that would be comforting.
But expressing yourself through a short message this way requires thought and consideration.
The sympathy and condolence messages below will give you some inspiration and ideas, taking away some of the pressure you can feel when attempting to come up with the perfect words. Just know that the grieving will appreciate your message as long as it is from the heart and shows you have taken the time and consideration to think of them.
Use these condolence messages and examples as a guide for what you want to say in your sympathy or condolence card.
We can’t begin to imagine what you are feeling, but let us share our heart-felt condolence
Today and always, may loving memories bring you peace, comfort, and strength
I am at a loss for words during this sorrowful time. Please know that I am thinking of you and praying for peace and comfort
With our love and deepest sympathy as we remember __________
Please accept our most sincere sympathies for the loss of your __________. May the prayers of all people who love you bring solace to your soul
We can’t begin to imagine what you are feeling, but let us share our heart-felt condolence
Please accept my deepest condolences. I am praying for strength and comfort for you at this time
Thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort as you remember a friend who was so close to you
Thinking of your family with love and wanting to help out in any way I can
I know this must be a very difficult and demanding time for you all. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers
Short Condolence Messages
My heart is with you in your time of sorrow
Our deepest sympathy
With love and remembrance
Forever remembered, forever missed
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time
You are in my thoughts and prayers
My prayers are with you and your family
Thinking of you during this difficult time
Words can’t express how saddened we are to hear of your loss
May God give you comfort in your time of grief
May the passage of time heal your grief
My family extends to you our deepest condolences
The news of __________ death brings much sadness
May the passage of time heal your grief
We know the day will come but death always leaves us with grief
We are thinking of you during these difficult times
My prayers are for you during this sorrowful time
I am sorry about your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers
When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure
May your memories give you peace and comfort
Sharing in your sorrow. With love and friendship
Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts
May your heart and soul find peace and comfort
May you be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding you
We send you thoughts of peace and courage
We pray the love of God enfolds you during your journey through grief
With caring thoughts and love
Our family is keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers
Holding you close in my thoughts and hoping you are holding up well
“It is not length of life, but depth of life.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
“When you lose someone you love, you gain an angel you know” ~ Unknown
“Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same” ~ Unknown
“For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity” ~ William Penn
“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” ~ Unknown
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live” ~ Norman Cousins
“Those we love can never be more than a thought away, for as long as there’s a memory they live in our hearts to stay.” ~ Unknown
“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” ~ Unknown
“Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
“There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.” ~ Aeschylus
“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” ~ Helen Keller
“A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.” ~ Maya Angelou
Condolence Messages for Loss of Father
Our fathers are the rocks in our lives. So when we lose our dad it is so devastating. Send your condolences with these sample messages.
Your father was a great man. Please accept my deepest condolences for your loss
The loss of your dad has come as such a shock to us all. He will be missed so deeply
I’ll never forget your father’s loving smile and generous spirit. Life won’t be the same without him. My thoughts are with you
We can’t begin to imagine how hard this is for you but please remember we’re here if you need anything at all.
Please accept our condolences for the loss of your father. He will live on forever in our hearts
He may be gone but your dad would have been so proud of you. Let’s celebrate his life and remember the good times. Our condolences go out to you
I know how close you and your dad were. I’m wishing you strength and love to get through this awful time
He may be gone but he’ll be smiling down on you. Let’s make a toast to him and remember what an incredible man and father he was
Deepest condolences for your father’s passing
Your dad touched everyone who knew him. Life will be a little less bright and fun without him. You’ll be in our prayers.
More examples can be seen with our words of sympathy for loss of father
Condolence Messages for Loss of Mother
Losing your mother is one of the most heartbreaking moments in anyone’s life. Having people around you when you face such difficult times is incredibly important. So be there for whoever has lost their mom and show them how much you care with comforting words.
I know there is nothing I can say to ease the pain but you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Your mother was one of the most amazing people I ever met. Her warmth and generosity was unrivalled. Her loss has shocked everyone and we’re all sending you our love. Stay strong.
Words will mean very little but your mom touched me like very few could. Her spirit will live on in you. My condolences on your loss
A mother’s place can never be filled, and her loss will be with you forever. But her memories should be treasured and her life celebrated for the amazing woman she was. I’ll be here for you whatever you need
If there’s anything you need to help get through this awful time, just ask. We’re wishing you strength and love
You have my deepest condolences for the loss of your mom. She was a truly special woman.
The memories of your mother will never fade. She had such a positive impact on everyone who knew her that they will live on forever in our hearts. My deepest sympathy for your loss
Our thoughts go out to you in this trying and difficult time. Your mother was such a good friend if ours we want to be there to help in any way we can
We will miss your mom so much. You’re in our thoughts and anything we can do to help please don’t hesitate to call
Keep strong and remember how proud your mom was of you
If you need some extra help try our guide to the best words of sympathy for the loss of a mother
Condolence Messages for Loss of Sister
Siblings are often very close so when one passes away it can have a really profound impact on the others. Reach out to and be there for those who have lost their sister with a message of sympathy and love.
I was so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. She was a wonderful person and will be missed greatly. Please accept my condolences
I know how close you and your sister were and how much her passing will have hurt you. I’m here to talk or listen if you need me
Your sisters warmth and charitable spirit was an inspiration to us all. We are so sorry for your loss
My thoughts and prayers go out to you during this terrible time. Your sister was an amazing person and will be missed greatly
We send you our deepest sympathies for the loss of your sister
The memories of your sister will never fade. She was one in a million. Please accept my deepest condolences
“My sister may not always be at my side, but she is always in my heart” ~ Unknown
I know my words won’t offer much in the way of relief from the grief but I wanted to offer my condolences. Your sister was a fantastic person and will be missed so much
Your sister was such a kind, loving girl that I can’t imagine a world without her. My prayers go out to you and hope you find strength in family and friends
I feel blessed to have known your sister and the time we spent together. I will never forget the wonderful memories I have of her. I hope your keeping strong and you know I’m here if you need me
Find more examples messages with our sympathy messages for loss of sister
Condolence Messages for Loss of a Brother
The loss of a brother is devastating to the siblings. Reach out to them with some warm memories you have of their brother.
It was so upsetting to learn of your brothers passing. You have my deepest condolences
There are few people who were as amazing and fun as your brother. I’m going to miss him so much. May he rest in peace
I can’t understand how you must be feeling and I know you are your brother we’re so close. If there is anything I can do to help then I will be there. You are in my thoughts
Getting to know your brother was one of the greatest privileges and to lose him so young feels so cruel. I won’t ever forget him though and his legacy will live on
Sending my condolences for your tragic loss. I will be thinking of and praying for you and your family
See our loss of brother quotes for more examples.
Condolence Messages for Loss of a Friend
Losing a friend is utterly heartbreaking. Send some condolences and be there for whoever it is that is grieving.
My heart goes out to you as you grieve a truly terrible loss. My condolences
I know my words can’t take away your pain or hope to make things better but I wanted to reach out to say how sorry I am
I’m always here for you. I hope you can find comfort in friends and family and it brings you some light amongst the darkness
I will be praying for you and to find the strength to cope with the loss of someone so important to you
I will be thinking of you as you mourn a tragic loss. If you need someone to talk to or listen then I’m only a phone call away
Try our condolence messages for friends if you need some further ideas.
Condolence Messages for Loss of a Pet
Pets are just as important to their owners as family, so when they lose one it can be an incredibly hard time for them. Be mindful of their grief and approach them as you would with any other loss.
I’m very sorry for the passing of your beloved pet. My condolences
I know your furry friend was more to you than ‘just a pet’. She was like a member of the family. I’m deeply sorry about her passing
Hold on to those cherished memories of _____ and remember the good times. My sympathy and love
It’s so heartbreaking to say goodbye to such a special companion. I will be thinking of you
Losing a true friend is always so hard. May you take comfort in knowing they had a wonderful live with you and the love you gave them. My condolences
Our pet condolence messages and pet loss quotes will help you with even more examples.
Condolence Messages for Flowers
Sending flowers after a loss is a lovely way to offer your sympathy. A beautiful bouquet of flowers can really cheer up and let those mourning know you are thinking of them. Include a few words of condolence on a note with the flowers to show they are in your thoughts.
My condolences and love to you and your family
May these flowers mean more than any words ever could
May your dad rest in peace and forever be in our hearts
With love and heartfelt sympathy
May these words and beautiful flowers remind you of your departed loved one
Religious Condolence Messages and Bible Verses
The Bible and other religious texts can be a huge comfort to some when they are grieving. A well chosen verse or faith based message would be an appropriate choice for someone who you know is religious and has a strong faith.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” – Matthew 5:4
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” – Psalm 46:1
“The memory of the righteous is a blessing” – Proverbs 10:7
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” – Philemon
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” – John 14:18
For more verses and quotes see our sympathy religious quotes or Bible verses for loss.
Rest in Peace Messages
Saying ‘rest in peace’ is a traditional way of saying goodbye to someone. It conveys your sadness at their passing and let’s you wish your condolences too.
You were my world. I will cherish every second I spent with you. Rest in peace
No words can describe how sorry I am for your loss. My sincerest condolences to you and your family
Goodbyes are not forever, and not the end; It simply means I’ll miss you until we meet again. RIP
It’s so hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember. Rest in peace
RIP to my truest friend. I’m lost without you
Say ‘rest in peace’ with our rest in peace quotes.
The loss of a child is something only few can imagine. It is hard to even think of the pain it must bring. No words can ever make up for such a loss but it’s important to reach out and let the bereaved mother or father know they have the love and support of their friends.
I know how little these words mean but if you need to talk I’m always here
Nothing I could hope to say to ease your pain but I’m constantly thinking of you
Sending our most heartfelt condolences and hoping you find strength to make it through this tragedy
All I can offer is a friendly ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. I’m so very sorry this has happened
We are so saddened by your loss. Your baby girl was the sweetest angel and she touched so many lives. We will never forget her
Use our guide to miscarriage condolences and words of sympathy for the loss of a child to help you even more.
Grief affects us all in different ways. Dealing with it can be very hard but knowing others have gone through the same can help us to not feel alone.
“Grit your teeth and let it hurt. Don’t deny it, don’t be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever” – Rabbi Harold Kushner
“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love” – E.A. Bucchianeri
“Perhaps they are not the stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy” – Inuit Proverb
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us” – Helen Keller
“When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure” – Unknown
A greater range of quotes can be found at our grief quotes.
Why do we Send Condolence Messages
Simply: because we care. After losing someone close to you the world becomes a very lonely, quite often scary place. Having friends, family and even strangers offering their condolences and thoughts can provide comfort amongst the grief.
Knowing you’re not alone, that people are there for you if you need them – that makes a big difference. So if you’re looking for a reason to send someone your condolences, that should be enough.
There are other reasons too. If you’re hesitating about sending condolences then there are a few things you can consider.
- Condolences help to bring comfort to those grieving. They offer support, love and the knowledge they aren’t alone. Whilst words may not seem like much they can have a much greater impact than we are aware.
- When dealing with a loss it can be difficult for the family and people closest to the deceased to communicate. Grief is overwhelming. It can make just the thought of talking to people seem like an impossible task. But they can read and appreciate the condolences of others in their own time. So sending condolences is a great way to let them know they are in your thoughts without putting any additional pressure on to them during such a tragic time.
- If you are a long distance from those coping with a loss or are unable to attend the funeral or memorial then sending condolences allows you to express your sympathy from afar.
- When you write condolences about the death of someone you knew it gives you the opportunity to grieve yourself. You can think about what the deceased meant to you and remember some warm memories you have of them. You may even want to include those thoughts in your condolence message.
- If you can then you can use your condolence note to offer help. That might be things like running errands for them, cooking some meals, picking up their kids from school etc. Whatever you can do will be greatly appreciated and a condolence card is a good time to offer it.
- From a personal perspective if you have not made any effort to get in touch with and send condolences then at a later date when you see those who lost their loved one you may feel embarrassed or regret not doing so.
Whilst writing such a personal message may not come easily it’s still a touching gesture and one you should try to do. If you’re struggling then the messages we have here should help you to find the right words to properly express how you’re feeling.
Should I Send a Condolence Message
This is a personal decision but there aren’t many reasons why you wouldn’t want to. The relationship and how well you knew the deceased will play a part in your choice of whether to reach out, but offering your condolences is always going to be appreciated.
Regardless of how close you were the family and friends of the departed will be grateful to anyone who sends their love during such a tragic time.
If you still aren’t sure then think of the types of people you know that might suffer a loss and how you would feel about reaching out to them ave what you might say.
- Losing a family member is the hardest bereavement and so when offering your sympathy try to be as understanding as you can. Perhaps share a happy memory or story of the deceased that the family will find comforting.
- A coworker is someone you may get to know very well despite only seeing them at work. When reaching out to the bereaved you can let them know just how close you became and how much you enjoyed working with them.
- Friends we lose cause real grief but the comfort and support of others can help to ease that pain. Share your memories of them to bring some solace to those mourning their friend.
- Acquaintances or strangers still deserve condolences but keep your wording less personal and more general.
- The loss of a pet may not seem like they are that important to you but to their owners the loss can be just as devastating as a family member. Keep that in mind when considering whether to and what to say to those mourning a passed pet.
Ultimately whether you send condolences and what you say is your choice but it is a kind gesture to show you’re thinking of those grieving.
How to Express Condolences
It can be daunting knowing the right way to reach out with your condolences to those mourning a loss. There are so many different ways we communicate nowadays.
Do you send a card, an email, text message, make a phone call or visit/talk to someone in person? All are acceptable and the main thing isn’t so much the method but to show you care and are thinking of those grieving.
Talking to someone in person is always going to be more comforting than a card, email or text message. There’s nothing better than having a friend or loved by your side to help you through the hardest moments.
But before you rush out to see your mourning friend keep in mind that grief affects people very strongly and differently. Many will want to be left alone to grieve on their own or just with family. And the thought of talking to lots of people would be overwhelming whilst coping with the pain of a loss. So be careful.
If you do decide to see them then be sure to let them know when you are going to be there and also to give them the chance to say no or back out eg. “I’d really love to come over to see you and help with anything you need. Or just to talk. But if you don’t feel up to it then I completely understand and won’t be offended at all.”
Remember that actions can often be more powerful than words. Just listening, holding their hand or giving them a hug may be all they need.
Related: What to Say to Someone Who is Grieving
What to Say
- I’m so sorry for your loss
- You are in my thoughts
- You will be in my prayers
- An offer of help/support – I’m here for you if you need anything
- My deepest condolences
- My heartfelt sympathy
- Sweet stories or anecdotes, beloved memories – anything positive about the deceased to remember them well
- Just being there for them
- “They are in a better place now” – no one who has lost a loved one ever thinks this. Even if they’ve been suffering before passing away the family and friends never want to say goodbye to those special people. So this isn’t appropriate to say.
- “Everything happens for a reason” – losing a loved one doesn’t have a good reason. It only causes sadness and pain. Avoid saying this to those grieving
- “I understand what you’re going through” – whilst you may have lost someone too each persons grief is different. You can’t know what they’re feeling and should only try to support them rather than make it about yourself.
- “Life goes on” – this is true, but not what someone wants to hear just after they’ve lost someone they love.
- “Try not to be too sad” – let them grieve how they want to. If they want to be sad that’s fine and all you should do is support and comfort them.
- “They lived a full life” – this also might be true but even if they lived to 120 years old and achieved everything they could have ever wanted it won’t make their death any less painful.
- “Try to move on” – let people grieve at their own speed. Just because you think it’s been long enough doesn’t mean they are ready to move on.
See our guide to what not to say to someone grieving for more help.
The most traditional and usual way of expressing your condolences is with a card. They are readily available to buy in many places or you can even make your own if you’re the crafty type.
A card is a lovely gesture after a loss because it shows a certain amount of effort has gone into it. A text message or post on social media is good for its ease and speed but doesn’t require much thought.
Sending a card with a handwritten sympathy note shows some real care and attention has been taken. It means a little bit more.
You may even want to include a gift or put your card and note with some beautiful flowers. We have a full guide for good gift ideas.
A Condolence Letter/Email
You can go one step further than a card and send the bereaved a letter to offer your sympathy for their loss. This is usually longer than a standard note or condolence card.
A letter can be sent either directly after learning of the loss or some time after the funeral. You may also want to send a note or letter at major milestones – anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays etc. – that the deceaseds family will find hard.
How to Write a Condolence Message
Writing your own meaningful condolence message isn’t easy. Finding the words that offer the bereaved support and properly express your sadness and sorrow for their loss isn’t easy.
If you do decide to write your message rather than using the examples provided here then there are a few ways to make it easier and things to keep in mind.
Firstly it’s important to think about is who the message is for. If it’s a close friend or family member then your message will be very different to an acquaintance, for example.
The words you use with people your close to can be a lot more personal, emotional and informal. You can talk about shared experiences, memories you have of the deceased, funny stories etc.
For those you don’t know as well it’s better to keep it as a simple and short condolence. Stay quite formal and don’t over elaborate – just say how sorry for their loss you are.
You may also want to think about the cause of death. The way in which someone died may influence the way you write your message. A suicide or the loss of a child is going to be very different to an elderly relative passing away.
Don’t overlook religious beliefs either. Some people are very religious and you may want to make what you write reflect that. Others may be the complete opposite and would find any religious overtones unacceptable.
And you might be considering offering help in your message. This again would only be appropriate if you knew the person well. If you think they might want some assistance with the funeral or their children picking up from school, as examples, then you can include that in a condolence card or note.
If you need some ideas to get you started or help with the right words then use our example condolence messages as a starting point. You can even take parts of multiple messages and mix them up to create one that fits your situation.
When Should you Send Condolences
The sooner the better. If you can reach out to whoever it is that has suffered a loss instantly then do so. They will appreciate any and all messages of condolence.
As we are all connected in ways we didn’t use to be it means we learn of news faster and can reach people more easily. So there’s nothing holding you back from quickly sending a text message or commenting on social media.
This can be followed up later with a card or gift if you feel like you want to express your condolences in a more traditional way.
A Card, Flowers or Gift
A card with flowers or gift can also be sent very quickly. You can go online and buy a card this instance if you wanted and either have it sent directly to the grieving or send it yourself when it arrives.
Many florists are online as well and will deliver the flowers directly to whoever you request.
All of these can be sent as quickly as you like. If you have to wait a little while for whatever reason that’s fine too. There’s no real specific timeframe for sending condolences, but aiming for sooner rather than later is probably for the best.
If you opt to send a letter of condolence then you can either send it right away or maybe wait a while. A letter allows you to write more than a simple card and really open up about the deceased.
This can be great as a way of saying how sorry you are for their loss straightaway. But you could also think about sending a card with a simple condolence message and then waiting until after the funeral before sending your letter. That way you can check in with them to make sure they’re coping ok.
At the Funeral
When you attend the funeral then you express your condolences as soon as you greet the family of the deceased. It’s likely you will feel awkward at first but that’s perfectly natural.
The family will appreciate your kind words and the conversation will quickly settle into something more normal and less uncomfortable. Try to follow their lead and talk about what they want to.
Don’t only focus on the deceased or the funeral (unless they choose to). But also don’t try to avoid any talk of it either as that will come across as a little odd.
Offering Condolences via Text
You may be wondering if it’s acceptable to send your condolences via text? The answer is yes, it’s a convenient and simple way to send your condolences via a text message if you choose.
It may also be the only way you can communicate with the deceased in some circumstances. But there is also the generational divide to consider – your grandparents may not be quite as used to texting as your friends.
So it’s best to use your own judgement and decide whether to text or not depending on who the recipient is.
Condolence Text Message Examples
- You will be in my thoughts and prayers after such a terrible loss
- My deepest condolences to you and your family. Your mother will be missed so much
- I just wanted to reach out to say how sorry for your loss I was. I’m always here if you need me
- Please accept my condolences during this tragic time. My heart goes out to you
- I am praying for you and your family. May you find some peace at such a difficult time
- Your dad was a wonderful man who I as lucky to call a friend. May he rest in peace
- My sincerest sympathy to you for the loss of your sister
- I can’t begin to understand how hard this must be for you but if there’s anything you need I can be there
For more help with the etiquette and how to send your message we have a guide to offering condolences via text.
There are a few more things to consider when sending a condolence card. Follow these guidelines to avoid getting anything wrong:
- You should send your card or address it to the closet relative of the deceased if you knew them. If it’s a friend or colleague that has lost someone but you didn’t know them then address your card to that person.
- If you aren’t sure what the bereaved feels about religion it’s best to avoid anything religious as part of your condolences.
- Remember to include your last name when signing your sympathy card. The bereaved may receive multiple cards from people with the same name so will want to be able to know who sent what.
- Write your address on the envelope when you send a card. This allows for the bereaved to send you a thank you note for your condolences if they wish
- For people you don’t know that well it’s best to keep your message short and simple, and probably quite informal too.
For more help with the etiquette of expressing condolences see our condolence etiquette guide or etiquette tips for sending a sympathy card.
Condolences and Bereavement Resources
For more information on coping with bereavement or how to be there for those going through a loss these resources are helpful and cover a lot of questions you may have:
- Practical Help When Someone Dies – Bereavement Advice Center
- Coping with Grief and Loss – CDC
- 25 Professionals Share the Best Ways to Support Someone Who is Grieving
Sally Collins is a writer and the founder and owner of Sympathy Message Ideas. Her passion is to help others deal with grief and provide assistance with talking to those grieving. Learn more about Sally.