Sympathy Messages: What To Write In A Sympathy Card

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When somebody passes away, it can be difficult to know what to say, when to say it and how. There's a lot to navigate through, from how well you know their family to when you heard the sad news.

Our guide to sympathy card messages will give you the confidence that you’re sending a message of comfort and support and not making an emotional time even more so.

When to Send a Sympathy Card

You should aim to send a sympathy card as soon as you hear the news and really no later than two weeks after. You want it to be seen as a heartfelt gesture, not an afterthought.

Even if you’ve seen the bereaved person face-to-face and offered your condolences, follow up with a card. It shows you really care. You can give additional words of comfort or offer practical help.

You may hear about somebody passing several weeks or months after the event. It’s never too late to send your sympathies — just ensure that the card contains a personal note explaining that you’ve only just heard about their loss. You may want to send a ‘thinking of you’ card rather than a traditional sympathy card.

A death sparks a flurry of condolences, but the bereaved person may be especially grateful for a card at difficult times, such as anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas.

Sympathy flowers go hand in hand with sympathy cards. You can find out more about when to send them and how to choose them in our guide to sympathy flowers etiquette.

What Not to Write in a Sympathy Card

All sympathy cards are written with good intentions, but here are a few sentiments to avoid:

  • He had a good innings: The person who has passed may be just a few years shy of their centenary, but that doesn’t lessen the grief of their loved ones. From sons and daughters to great-grandchildren, the deceased will have been a constant in their lives.
  • I know what you’re going through: The person grieving may draw some strength and comfort from seeing how you’ve coped with loss, but remember that this is their bereavement; it’s not about you. Also, the grieving process may play out very differently for somebody who has lost a loved one unexpectedly rather than to a long illness.
  • It happened for a reason: You may believe every passing is God’s will or part of a bigger picture, but the bereaved person may not. It may seem particularly insensitive if the death was unexpected or they were young.
  • Things will get easier: You can’t make predictions. While some people learn to live with loss over time, for others, the intensity of their grief remains.
  • She was too young: There’s no reason to remind the bereaved person of the painful circumstances. Keep your messages supportive and comforting.
  • You should…: Now is not the time for advice; the bereaved person will be living moment to moment in their grief. Offer sympathy and your love.

Uplifting Sympathy Card Messages

How well you knew the person or their family will influence your sympathy message. If you’re particularly close, you may feel comfortable in being less conventional in what you write.

There may be a song with poignant words that the deceased liked or a quotation from somebody they admired. The internet is a great tool for helping you find these.

These uplifting sympathy messages may be a good starting point to explore what you want to say:

  • He’s alive in your memories. You made so many together; he will live on forever.
  • She lived life to the full. There are so many special times filled with fun and laughter that we can remember and take comfort in.
  • I don’t pretend to know how you feel, but I am here for hugs, love and everything in between.
  • Those we love don’t go away; they walk beside us every day.
  • Someone as amazing as X will never be forgotten.
  • When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.
  • She was loved. You were loved. Saying goodbye is so hard, but remember the joy in finding each other.

Short & Simple Sympathy Card Messages

It can be difficult to write a message of condolence, but it’s important to do it and let the grieving person know you’re thinking about them. If you’re struggling to pen a unique message, find a card with a pre-written sentiment that says what you’ve been trying to. You can then add one of these short and simple sympathy card messages.

  • I was so sad to hear that X passed away. You are all in our thoughts.
  • I’m going to miss him too.
  • X was hugely loved and respected by us all. Sending my heartfelt sympathy.
  • Your X was a very special person. Sharing in your sadness as you remember her.
  • Remembering your wonderful X and sending our thoughts and prayers.
  • It was a pleasure working with your X for X years. I will miss him greatly.
  • Our thoughts are with you as you remember X’s incredible life.
  • X meant such a lot to me. I will remember him fondly. Sending caring thoughts.

Sympathy Card Messages for the Loss of a Father 

No matter our age, we may still be a ‘daddy’s girl’ or a son who sees their dad as a hero. Their death can affect us profoundly, even if the relationship wasn’t always straightforward. In writing sympathy messages for the loss of a father, think about the words that would offer you comfort, and even make you smile.

Here are some examples:

  • Your father was a wonderful man. He was kind and so generous. I was lucky to know him.
  • Your dad’s family was his world. You loved him, and he loved you immensely. He will live on in all your hearts.
  • All the good things about your dad live on in you — his kindness, generosity and good looks! It’s so hard saying goodbye to your father. He was one of a kind.
  • I always remember your dad saying/doing X. It makes me laugh to this day. He was one of a kind. I’ll miss him a lot.
  • I’m so grateful I got to know your dad both as a colleague and as a friend. I have X years of happy memories shared.
  • Your dad was so proud of you all. He never stopped talking about you and the grandchildren. You meant the world to him as he did to you.
  • You were such a support and comfort to your dad. He really loved and appreciated you. You should take comfort in that.

Sympathy Card Messages for the Loss of a Mother

However old we become, we remain our mother’s little boy or girl. We look to them for love, guidance and support. When we lose them, it can leave a gaping hole in our lives.

In writing sympathy messages for the loss of a mother, reflect on the special — often unbreakable — bond children have with their mums.

Here are a few examples:

  • Your mother was an amazing woman. She was kind, generous and full of fun. She will be missed by so many people.
  • I always remember the time at your house when your mum said/did X. I still laugh about it now. Sharing in your fond memories of her.
  • Your mother was like a second mum to me. She was so caring and gave great advice! I will miss her too.
  • Your mum was great to work with. Not only was she a colleague of X years, but she was also a wonderful friend.
  • It’s so hard saying goodbye to your mother. Things will never be the same without her, but we have so many great memories to take comfort in. Thinking of you.
  • Your mum’s family was her world. She was so proud of you all and so happy. Take comfort in that.
  • All the good things about your mother live on in you — her kindness, generosity and good looks!
  • You were such support and comfort to your mum. She really loved and appreciated you. Take heart from that.

Sympathy Card Messages for the Loss of a Wife

To the bereaved person, losing a wife can seem like they are losing some of themselves. Whether they have been married for decades or just a few years, the bond is intense and the loss incredibly painful.

Sympathy messages for the loss of a wife should celebrate the relationship shared and what made her special.

Here are some examples:

  • You were like peas in a pod. You had such a special relationship and couldn’t have loved each other more than you did.
  • The experiences and adventures you shared will have given you so many wonderful memories. She will live on in those.
  • X was such a wonderful person. She was an inspiration to me. My heart goes out to you and the rest of the family.
  • X did so much and loved so much. She will always be in our thoughts and our conversations. Sending our deepest sympathy.
  • Someone who lived life with you will always be part of you. Our thoughts are with you.
  • The days ahead will be hard. I will be here for you whether you want to laugh, cry or share happy memories.
  • Even though we haven’t met in person, I just wanted to let you know how much your wife meant to me. She was so much fun to work with and a great friend.
  • We haven’t met, but I feel like I know you. X talked about you so much and with such fondness. She loved you very much.

Sympathy Card Messages for the Loss of a Husband

Losing a husband can stir up so many emotions — feelings of emptiness, loneliness and even concerns about coping with the practicalities of everyday life.

Sympathy messages for the loss of a husband should give comfort and look to raise a smile.

  • Take all the time you need to grieve and adjust. Know that I am here for you, always.
  • The days and weeks ahead will be hard, but you’ve got the strength to get through it. You have so many people to love and support you.
  • You and X had such a special relationship. The love you had for each other was clear to see. Take comfort in that.
  • I hope it helps to know how much X was loved by others too. He was a great friend and will be sadly missed.
  • I always remember X saying/doing X. I still laugh about it now. He was so full of fun. His memory will live on.
  • Take comfort in how much X loved you. Nothing made him happier than being with you and the children.
  • We haven’t met, but I just wanted to let you know what a great colleague your husband was. He made work more a pleasure than a chore. He will be greatly missed.
  • What a life you both had — so much fun and adventure! He’ll live on through all your wonderful memories.

Sympathy Card Messages for the Loss of a Child

Sympathy messages for the loss of a child may be the most heartbreaking you ever have to write. Parents having to say goodbye to their children is not the natural order of things.

No words will lessen the pain, but you can offer comfort through kindness.

  • In his short life, X was so loved. You raised such a happy boy. Take comfort in that.
  • She packed so much into her short life. She was fearless and fun. Sharing in your memories of her.
  • I cannot take away the pain, but I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I’m here to support you.
  • X brought so much joy to those around him. Remembering the days he made brighter.
  • Words cannot express our sorrow. We miss X so much too. In time, we will share our happy memories and take comfort in them.
  • I will never forget how welcome X made me on my first day at X. He will always be so special to me. I will remember him with such fondness.
  • X was such a kind and caring person — a reflection of you, her parents, and your love for her. Sending my deepest sympathy.

Sympathy Card Messages for the Loss of a Friend

A close friendship that has endured decades or that has come about through the trials and tribulations of life may be as strong as any family bond.

In writing a sympathy message for the loss of a friend, reflect on memories and the strength of friendship.

  • No get-together was complete without you two! X will be sadly missed. We're here for you.
  • My heart goes out to you on the loss of X. I know how much she meant to you. In time, take comfort in all the happy times you shared.
  • X was such a wonderful, kind person. We will miss her too. Sharing in your memories of her.
  • You were truly a great friend to X. He loved you dearly and was always talking about the adventures you had. Thinking of you.
  • I always remember that holiday where X said/did X. I still have the photo! Such happy times. Looking forward to sharing our happy memories in time.
  • My heart breaks for you. I cannot imagine how much you miss X. I am here for you always.

Sympathy Card Prayers

If the bereaved person draws strength from their faith, then sympathy card prayers will offer great comfort. A Bible verse or other religion-specific condolence shows respect; you have taken the time to understand what is important to them.

Here are some examples:

Christian:

May our Lord bless and comfort your family. I am here for you. May the soul of your loved one rest in peace and God give you comfort and peace. Our deepest sympathies to you and your family. We pray that God will give you strength and courage as you grieve.

Islamic:

May Allah give them an easy and pleasant journey and shower blessings on their grave. We pray the love of Allah enfolds you during these difficult times and He helps you heal with the passage of time.

Jewish:

May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

How to Sign Off a Sympathy Card

If you’re keeping it short and sweet or just looking for a personal way to close a card that has a pre-written verse, these sympathy card sign-offs will show you care:

  • With heartfelt/deepest sympathy
  • Thinking of you
  • Here for you
  • With all our love and support
  • Sending love and hugs
  • With love at this sad time
  • Sharing your sadness
  • Always in our hearts
  • You’re in our thoughts and prayers

A Flowercard Is the Perfect Way to Send Your Condolences

Sending flowers or a condolence card is a sincere way to show you’re thinking of someone who has lost a loved one. Flowercard lets you do both — combining a stunning floral arrangement with a beautifully designed card and personal message. Our sympathy flowers range lets you choose a bouquet that reflects the style of the person being remembered. There are also keepsakes and candles to personalise your gift.

While they can’t take away the pain of losing somebody close, flowers — and a card with a heartfelt message — can be a source of great comfort and, most importantly, show that you care.