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What to Write in a Sympathy Card: The Ultimate Guide

This is the most comprehensive guide on what to write in a sympathy card. Period.

You’ll find over 130 sympathy messages for friends, family, coworkers and more on this page. As well as a complete guide to writing your own sympathy card messages.

So if you’re struggling with what to say in a sympathy card, this is the post for you.

Table of Contents
Sympathy Message Examples
Short and Simple
For a Friend
Writing your Own Sympathy Message
What Not to Write
Signing Your Card

Sympathy Message Examples

Writing a sympathy message can be hard. Finding the appropriate words and offering your condolences in a fairly short, simple way is difficult for most of us.

These examples should help to show you the sort of sympathy messages and sentiments that you can express in your card.

  • I’m/we’re so sorry for your loss. You are in my/our thoughts and prayers
  • Please know we’re thinking of you during this terrible time. If there’s anything you need we are here for you. Stay strong.
  • I know nothing I can say will help ease the pain but I wanted you to know you are firmly in my thoughts and I’m hoping you can find support in the loved ones around you
  • I’ll always remember ______ with such fondness and warmth. Those memories I have will live on forever and be cherished for years to come
  • You have my deepest condolences for the loss of such a wonderful person
  • Even though the pain will dull with time we will never forget _______
  • It was with great sadness we/I learned of _______’s passing. In these difficult times we/I wanted to offer our sincerest condolences and hope you find love and support
  • My heart goes out to you. Wishing you much love and support
  • It’s beyond cruel to lose someone we loved so dear. We’re so deeply sorry for your loss.
  • We feel blessed to have known _____ and their memory will live on in all of us

Sympathy message for a loved one

Short and Simple Sympathy Messages

You may want to say just a few short words of condolence in your card. Keeping things simple and not saying too much can often be more appropriate.

The following examples are suitable for most situations and can be used in a card or in person.

  • You are in my thoughts during this difficult time. Please accept my sympathies
  • You and your family will be in my prayers
  • Please accept heartfelt condolences
  • I was so saddened to hear of your loss
  • My heart is with you in this trying time
  • Know that you are in my thoughts and prayer
  • You have my sincerest sympathy
  • You are always in my thoughts
  • I hope you can find some peace and comfort
  • May God bless and comfort you

Condolence Messages For a Friend

A friend losing a loved one is never easy. We don’t want to see a close friend grieving or in pain. So expressing your sympathy for their loss and being there for them is part a strong friendship.

Try to show your support and offer anything they may need. And don’t be afraid to show your compassion and empathy in your sympathy wishes to them.

  • Words can’t fully express how sorry I am for your loss. I’m thinking of you at this terrible time and am there for you whatever you need
  • I was so sad to hear of the passing of _____. I know how close you were and just wanted to reach out and offer my condolences
  • Sending you comforting thoughts and wishes. I hope you’re feeling ok and know that I’m here if you need me
  • May your family and friends offer the support, strength and love you need in this tremendously difficult time
  • I can’t begin to understand what you’re going through but am here if you need anyone to talk to.
  • _____’s memory will never be forgotten, and I hope you can find comfort in the people who love you
  • Sending my deepest sympathies for your terrible loss
  • The loss of ______ came as such a shock. I know how hard this must be for you. May you find comfort in those around you and some peace during this tough time
  • Losing someone so special to us is unbearable. My words will have little comfort but please know you’re in my thoughts and prayers during this awful time
  • The memory of _____ and they’re incredible life will remain with us forever. They were truly special and we will miss them so much. My deepest condolences

If you want more help with what to write in a sympathy card to a friend then try our condolence messages for friends.

condolence message

Sympathy Messages for loss of Mother

The loss of someone as important as a mother is heartbreaking for her children. It’s an incredibly difficult time for them and one that should be handled with sensitivity.

Use your message to be positive about the persons mother. Maybe mention a story or anecdote about them. Or just a fond memory you have. Whatever it is, show your respects with a heartfelt message of sympathy for the loss of a mother.

  • Nothing I can say will ease the pain but I hope you can take a small amount of comfort knowing that so many care about you. You have my most sincere condolences
  • Our mothers are the most important and special people in our lives, and yours was truly one in a million. She was an amazing woman and I’m so deeply sorry for your loss
  • To try and comfort you when you have lost your mother is pointless. All I will say is she was an incredible person and I will miss her dearly
  • The love of a mother is an unbreakable bond that will live on forever. You will always have her in your heart and her memory will remain amongst all who knew her
  • You and your family are in my prayers. I’m so sorry for your loss
  • I hope you can take comfort from knowing the incredible inspiration your mother was to others. Everyone who knew her was influenced and inspired by her warmth and kindness. She will be missed so much
  • You have my deepest sympathy for the loss of your mother. She was a remarkable woman and will be sorely missed
  • The time I spent with your mother are some of the happiest memories I have. She was always smiling, so cheerful and just a pleasure to be around. Her loss leaves behind a gaping hole in all our hearts. If you need anything during this time then please don’t hesitate to ask
  • I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you and your family. Please accept my condolences and you will be in my prayers
  • Your mother was loved by all who knew her. Those touched by her mere presence share your grief and we wanted to extend our sincere condolences for her loss

For even more examples of what to write in a sympathy card for loss of mother then use our example words of sympathy for the loss of a mother.

Sympathy Messages for loss of Father

Much like losing a mother, the loss of a father will be devastating to his family. In a time like this it can be comforting for his children to be reminded of the sort of man he was. Reflect on the positive qualities he had and how you admired him. The examples here should give you an idea of how to express those condolences.

  • Your father was a great man and his loss will be felt by so many. He will be missed greatly. You have my deepest condolences
  • I will always remember your dads amazing sense of humor and laughter. He brought joy with him wherever he was. His loss is heartbreaking
  • Here’s to one of the greatest men I knew – your father. I’m going to miss him so much. Please accept my most heartfelt condolences
  • I saw how strong the bond was between you and your father. I can’t begin to understand your pain but wanted to offer my support and any help you might need
  • I hope you will find some comfort in knowing that your dad was beloved by all who knew him. He was a great man and leaves behind a brilliant legacy. I’m so sorry for your loss
  • I’m truly sorry for the loss of your father – a wonderful man. If you need to talk or just someone to listen then don’t hesitate in getting in touch
  • Your father was a kind hearted, warm and generous man. You have my most sincere condolences on his passing
  • We will remember your dad as the life and soul of the party he was. I will celebrate his life and the good times we had. I’m very sorry for your loss
  • You and your family are in my thoughts during this extremely difficult time
  • You will be in my prayers hoping you can find some comfort as you mourn your father

If you need more help with what to write in a sympathy card for loss of father then try our words of sympathy for the loss of a father.

Loss of Son Sympathy Card Messages

There can be nothing as painful as losing a child. Most of us will be unable to comprehend the pain and heartbreak it brings. A parent outliving their son is one of life’s tragedies.

Words will do nothing to help that pain but showing they are loved and have people who care for them may bring some comfort. So use the sympathy messages below to try and offer some solace in such a dreadful time.

  • I have no words to help you heal and can offer nothing other than my support. I’m just so terribly sorry for your loss
  • There are no right things I could say at this time, just that I am here for you
  • There can be no pain more terrible and deep than that of losing a son. My heart, soul and prayers go out to you
  • I was truly blessed to have known your son. He can never be replaced and was such a special person. You have my deepest sympathy
  • The popularity of your son is testament to how much he was loved. He spread happiness everywhere and we were lucky to have had him in our lives. We are so sorry for his passing
  • The joy filled smile of your baby boy is something all who met him will cherish. He was beyond special. Please accept our heartfelt condolences
  • I wish I could say or do something that might lessen your pain. Please don’t think twice about reaching out for help if you need it
  • Your son will not be forgotten and his imprint in our lives last forever. Sending the warmest thoughts and condolences at the incredibly sad time
  • I am beyond sorry for your devastating loss. My heart aches for you and your family
  • Your son was an amazing person who will be remembered for all the great things he did. I wish you some peace during this terrible time

sympathy message for loss of son

Loss of Daughter Sympathy Card Messages

The loss of a daughter will be equally as crushing as that of a son. Try to offer your condolences on the most thoughtful way you can with these sympathy messages.

  • Your baby girl’s memory will last forever in the memory of all that we’re privileged to know her. We are very sorry for your loss
  • My most sincere condolences to you and your family. It is unfair and a tragedy to lose someone as young and vibrant as your daughter. She will be missed greatly
  • Your daughters spirit and soul created memories that will live on after her. The loss is incomprehensible and we are so sorry
  • Please remember that we will be with you during this time of grief. Don’t hesitate to reach out
  • Your wonderful daughter was loved by all. She has been taken too soon and will always be in our hearts
  • It’s hard to think of a world without ______ in it. She was such a vibrant, beautiful woman and I still can’t believe she is gone. You have my deepest sympathies
  • Even now the loss of your daughter is still hard to make sense of. I just can’t believe she is gone. My heart goes out to you during this awful time
  • My prayers are with you and your family. I hope you can find some strength to make it through
  • I only wanted to send this note to let you know if you need someone to listen or a shoulder to cry on I will always be there for you
  • I can only hope you eventually find some peace. My sincerest condolences

Condolences for Loss of Husband

Losing anyone from your life is terrible. But the loss of a spouse is one of the worst. For someone you have loved more than almost anyone and have spent your life with – the pain will be immense.

So if you know someone that has suffered the loss of their husband then these words of sympathy should offer support in their time of grieving.

  • Your husband was a good man, and his passing has affected us greatly. He will be deeply missed. Our condolences
  • I will never forget what a great friend and Dad your husband was. I can’t believe he’s gone and wish you my most heartfelt sympathies
  • Your husband was the definition of a great guy. He made time for everyone and was always a joy to be around. We can’t express how much we will miss him
  • The memories I have of your husband are some of my fondest. Every time I think of him I smile. You and your entire family are in my constant thoughts
  • Your husbands quiet strength and dignity was an inspiration. I looked up to him in so many ways. I’m going to miss him dearly and will be there for you whatever you may need
  • We will celebrate his life and all the good he did. There will be tears but his memory won’t be forgotten. You have our deepest sympathy for your loss
  • I can’t imagine the pain you are suffering, but I will always be here for you, and am just a phone call away
  • Nothing I can say will help gifts make things better but please know that I’m thinking of you constantly. You have my deepest sympathy for your loss
  • I hope loved ones and family can help you find strength to get through what is an absolute tragedy. My sympathies for your loss
  • Sending love and courage to get through the coming days. We won’t ever forget your husband

Condolence Messages for Loss of Wife

As with losing a husband, the loss of a wife will affect their partner and family profoundly. Show your support and reach out to offer some comfort with a touching sympathy card message.

  • Although she is gone the memories of her will live on forever. Hold on to those and keep the memories alive. Sending you our love and prayers
  • Your wife was a truly amazing woman. Her love and warmth was appreciated by all who knew her. I’m so sorry for your loss
  • Sending loving thoughts and thinking of you during this horribly sad time
  • No words could adequately describe the pain you’re having to go through. Your wife will be missed greatly but the light she brought to so many lives not forgotten
  • No words will ever be enough to express the sorrow I feel for your lost wife. But I hope you can take some comfort from knowing I’ll be there for you
  • ______ was a truly wonderful person. When we heard the news our hearts broke. We’re if you need is for anything
  • Your wife is irreplaceable and will never be forgotten. We will miss her more than words can say
  • I can’t comprehend the loss of someone so important like your wife. But her life won’t be forgotten, and her memories will live on in our hearts. Our thoughts are with you
  • Hold on to the countless good times you had. I hope you can stay strong and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need to talk
  • Sending the deepest condolences to you and your whole family

Loss of Brother Sympathy Message Examples

Siblings are often extremely close to one another. So losing a brother will have a dramatic and painful impact on his brothers and sisters.

Show your understanding and empathy with a heartfelt condolence message for the loss of a brother. Use the examples below to help.

  • I was so sad to learn of the passing of your brother. I will cherish the memories I have of him. If you need anything at all I’m here for you
  • I know what a close bond you and your brother had, so his loss must have been so much harder for you. I just wanted to pass on my condolences
  • Learning of your brothers death was such a shock. He was a great friend and everyone was so delighted to have known him. You have my deepest sympathy for your loss
  • Losing a sibling must be incredibly hard and my thoughts are with you as you mourn your brother
  • We are all grieving for this tragic loss. Your brother was beloved by all who knew him and will be revered as a special guy. I hope you can fund strength and love in those surrounding you
  • Your brother was taken too soon and will leave behind a huge hole in many lives. I hope you and your family can find peace after such a tragic loss
  • Sending my love after the loss of your dear brother. Please pass my condolences to your entire family
  • May the memories of your bother provide some comfort during this dreadful time. Please accept my condolences
  • Your brother was as kind as he was brave. It was an honor to have known him. May he rest in peace
  • We were privileged to get to know your brother. We will always be thankful for the time we had with him. My deepest condolences to you and your whole family

Loss of Sister Sympathy Message Wording

Just as with losing a brother, the loss of a sister will be impossible to bear. Her siblings will be bereft with the death of their beloved family member. Try to be there for them and show that through a supportive sympathy message.

  • I cannot imagine a world without your sister. She was so vibrant and bubbly. I just can’t believe she’s gone. I’m going to miss her more than words can say. You have my deepest sympathy
  • i wish I had one more day just to tell your sister what she meant to me. I will miss her every day. I am so sorry for your loss
  • Your sister was an inspiring and brilliant person. I feel like the world is already a less special place without her. May she rest in peace
  • She may be gone but her life lives on through the memories we made together. My condolences to you
  • I will be forever grateful to have known your sister. She was always so upbeat and happy. I will miss her so deeply
  • I just wanted to extended my sincerest condolences to your family for the loss of your sister. She will be remembered for only good
  • I was so sorry to hear of your sisters passing. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this awful time
  • I know that nothing I can do will comfort you but I wanted to reach out and say how much your sister will be missed. If you need to talk, I’m here
  • We were so deeply sorry to hear of your loss. She was a wonderful woman who’s time was cut so short. Our sympathies
  • I know your site would have wanted you to stay strong even during this time of loss. She was a remarkable person and will be deeply missed

Loss of a Coworker Sympathy Sentiments

Work colleagues may not be as close as family or friends. But losing someone you are used to seeing every day at work can be deeply affecting.

Use these messages to send a sympathy note or card to the family of your coworker expressing your sorrow for their loss.

  • I enjoyed working with ______ so much and his/her cheerful personality was appreciated by everyone in the office. They will be dearly missed
  • ______ made coming to work every day that bit more enjoyable. I’m going to miss him/her. My condolences
  • I was so sad to hear of your loss. Whilst I didn’t work much with _____ I always found him/her to be a generous and friendly. I’m very sorry for your loss
  • ______ was a legend of our office. They will always be in our hearts
  • Wishing you peace and hope in these difficult times
  • The office just won’t be the same without _____. My thoughts are with you
  • We have all felt the loss of _____ at work and we are all sending our condolences
  • I know we weren’t very close but I wanted to extend my sympathy for your loss
  • We lost not only a coworker, but also a friend. They will be missed. Condolences for your loss
  • I will remember ______ with a great fondness. Work won’t feel the same without them. You have my condolences

What to Write in a Sympathy Card for Someone you don’t Know Well

Writing a sympathy message for someone you don’t know well can be even more difficult than to a loved one. Striking the right tone and using appropriate words is important. Use these examples as a guide for what to say.

  • Although we don’t know each other well I wanted to send my condolences for your loss. I hope you will accept my sympathy and thoughts
  • We never had the opportunity to meet but I knew your husband/wife well and wanted to pass on my condolences. Their good nature and kindness will be missed. Wishing you all my sympathy
  • My deepest condolences for your loss. Although I never had the chance to meet your mother/father I remember how highly you spoke of them and how close you were. My heart goes out to you in your time of sorrow
  • We may not be all that close but I know how hard things must be for you. Please accept my sympathy for your loss
  • Although our connection is limited I understand the pain a loss like you’ve experienced causes. I will be thinking of you

Loss of Pet Sympathy Card Messages

We love our pets just as much as family. They become equally as important to us, and we grieve their loss in the same way. The passing of a pet is deeply moving and will be felt very strongly by their owners.

So you should offer your condolences and sympathy in the same way you would any other loss. Show respect and understand for the bereaved and their grief.

  • I know how close you and ______ were. I hope the lovely memories you made together can provide some comfort as you grieve. He/she will always be in your heart
  • You and your family are in my thoughts as you mourn the loss of a lovable pet and true friend
  • The loss of a pet is always hard, even more so when they’ve had such a huge impact on our lives. That love and friendship will never die though, and the memories live on in us forever
  • Losing your furry friend in such a sudden way is heartbreaking. Accept my most heartfelt condolences
  • Dogs show the sort of loyalty and unconditional love that makes your heart swell. To lose that is beyond cruel. I’m wishing you my sincerest sympathies
  • I was so sad to learn of the loss of your adorable cat. She was so friendly and I know how much you’ll miss her
  • Having to make the decision to put your beloved pet down is devastating. But you were the most wonderful owner she/he could have had and your courage in putting her/his wellbeing first is admirable. You have my deepest sympathies
  • Losing a family member, which a pet is, is a tragedy. I’ll be thinking of you and sending loving thoughts
  • The wonderful memories you shared with ______ will live on. They will be greatly missed and I’m so sorry for your loss
  • These words will do little to ease your pain but I’m thinking of you as you mourn your loss

Writing your Own Sympathy Message

If you make the decision to write your own sympathy message, rather than using one of the examples above, then you can follow some steps to get the perfect wording and format.

Whilst it may seem daunting trying to find the best words of condolence, it doesn’t have to. Most people will appreciate the time and effort you have taken to write and send a sympathy card.

Even if your words aren’t absolutely perfect, as long as you are sincere and they come from the heart then they will be received with gratitude and warmth.

Try following these guidelines:

Who is the Recipient

The way you write your sympathy message and the tone you take is determined by who it is intended for. A close family member will receive a very different type of message than an acquaintance.

If you aren’t very close to them then a short, simple condolence message is probably best. Avoid being too emotional or sentimental as it could be seen as inappropriate if you aren’t a family member or close friend. The same applies for jokes or anything humorous.

If the card is going to a friend or family member then you should be more open with what you say. You can talk about how much you will miss the deceased, what a great person they were, perhaps retell a short story you remember fondly involving them. You will want your message to be positive in the way it talks of the dead, and should be somewhat upbeat rather than focusing on the suffering they are going through.

Offering Help

Offering support and an ear to listen when someone has suffered a bereavement is a kind gesture. It’s the sort of thing that should definitely be included in a sympathy card, providing the recipient is someone you know well.

Losing someone causes untold grief, but alongside that there are things like a funeral that need to be arranged and belongings sorted. This can be overwhelming for many when combined with the effects of grieving and still having to live your own life (job, children etc).

So when sending your sympathy message, if you can, offer to help in some way. Even something as simple as taking the children to school for them or helping with parts of the funeral will be greatly appreciated.

Card Etiquette

Alongside deciding what to write on a sympathy card there are often questions around the etiquette in sending one. When is the right time to send it? Am I too late? Should I include a gift? And many more.

Hopefully the following will clear up any doubts you have and show the best way to navigate those questions.

When to Send it?

There isn’t any real set time frame for sending a sympathy card. The sooner the better, really. Sometimes that’s easier said than done though, especially if you only find out about the passing of someone a significant time after it has happened. So a few months would still be acceptable. But when possible, aim for sending it as quickly as you can

If you’re concerned you’re too late there is no harm in referencing it in your message – “I’m really very sorry for how late I am with this card”

Should I Send Flowers?

It’s certainly not mandatory and you shouldn’t feel compelled to do so. In most cases a sympathy note or card will be more than enough.

However, if you wanted to send a bouquet of flowers that would, I’m sure, be very appreciated. Sending flowers to offer sympathy for a loss is very common so wouldn’t be an odd gesture. They often come with a small card or note that you could write your message of condolence on.

Is an Email/Using Social Media Acceptable?

A sympathy card should be the priority. Whilst using Facebook to offer condolences is common now, it is very impersonal. Especially if you know and are close to the deceased or family. Where it may be more appropriate is if you didn’t know the deceased well. But a card will always be more thoughtful.

Should I Avoid Religion?

The decision regarding religion will come down to your own judgement. Only you know the recipient and their views towards religion. A very strong atheist is unlikely to appreciate any form of religious message. A devout Christian wouldn’t.

Generally most people won’t take offence to words like “you are in my prayers” but anything more than that may make some feel uncomfortable. The best thing to do is if you’re worried then avoid it, just to be on the safe side.

Following Up

In the future it might be quite nice to send an anniversary card to mark the passing. The anniversary of a loved ones death may bring back those feelings of heartache and grief experienced originally. So receiving a card with more words of support and comfort on that anniversary can be very touching. But it will not be seen as rude to not do this. Just that it might be a nice gesture if you remember.

What Not to Write

There are some phrases and words you should avoid when deciding on what to write in your sympathy messages. You may end up causing offence without meaning to.

  • Don’t bring up the circumstances surrounding the death itself. The memory of a loved ones passing is going to be terrible, so won’t want to be relived or reminded of it.
  • Stay away from words like “died” and “death”, as well as phrases such as “it’s for the best” or “it was God’s plan”. Negative words can be jarring for the recipient and using phrases that presume you know what the bereaved is feeling or what is next for them could come across as very insensitive.
  • Don’t compare your own loss with anyone else’s. Whilst there may be similarities everyone experiences loss and grief differently. Comparing yours with there’s could be seen as taking attention away from their own bereavement.
  • Send a sympathy card rather than using social media or an email. Those aren’t unacceptable ways to offer condolences but a card is much more personal and shows a degree of care and effort that has gone into wishing them sympathy for their loss.

Signing your Card

Choosing how to sign a sympathy card will depend on what sort of message you have used and your relationship with the recipient.

The most common closing will be a simple, short few words. “Sincerely” or anything else formal might not be appropriate for a sympathy card.


  • With caring thoughts
  • My sincerest sympathy
  • With sympathy
  • Our deepest condolences
  • You’re in my thoughts and prayers

If you’re close to the recipient, maybe a family member or good friend, then you can include they’re name in your closing or use the word “love” as well.


  • We/I will never forget _____
  • The life and memory of ______ will remain with us forever
  • With love
  • With loving thoughts
  • ______ will never be forgotten

For more examples see this guide for how to sign a sympathy.

I hope this guide of what to write in a condolence card has helped you. Whether you choose to write your own sympathy card messages or one of the examples provided here, as long as you speak from the heart and are genuine in what you say the exact words won’t matter. Just show you care and that you are there for the bereaved and they will appreciate the gesture.

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