When someone in your life experiences a loss, it’s hard to find the words to express how you feel. You want your condolence message to feel sincere without sounding like a store-bought card.
You want to express that you’ll be there for them without being overbearing. It’s hard to find the right balance, especially if you’re writing the condolence message to a coworker or someone you’re not particularly close to.
If you’re trying to find the words to say you support someone in their grief, here are some tips on how you can craft a thoughtful condolence message.
Writing a Thoughtful Condolence Message
When someone you know is going through the grieving process, you might ask yourself, “What is the best condolence message I could write for them?”
The most important part of a sympathy message is to avoid sounding generic. While you don’t want to get overly specific if you aren’t particularly close, just saying “thoughts and prayers” won’t come across as sincere sympathy.
When you’re sending your condolences, think about what you are trying to offer the person. Here are some objectives to consider when writing your message.
- Trying to say you’re there for them?
- Offering tangible assistance?
- Expressing your sympathies?
- Acknowledging their grief?
- Expressing your empathy, as you’ve experienced loss as well?
Think about how you want them to feel when they finish reading your message. Then you can work backward and figure out how you can make those thoughts known.
Crafting Your Message
Once you’ve taken a look at what you want to say to the person experiencing loss, here are some examples of how you can express each of those points.
I’m Here for You
If you’re trying to say you’re there to offer assistance, here are some ways you can craft that message.
- If you need anything, I’m here.
- I’m always available if you need me.
- I’m just a phone call away.
- Let me know if there’s anything I can help with.
- I’m here for you as you process this loss.
If there’s a specific skill you have that would come in handy, you can make the offering more specific. For example, if you have graphic design skills, let them know that you’re happy to design the program or funeral cards for the services.
I’m Sorry You’re Experiencing This
Sometimes, all you can do is say I’m sorry. Here are some ways you can word that thought without sounding insincere.
- I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Losing someone is never easy.
- May your loved one’s soul rest in peace.
- Words can’t express my deepest sympathies for what you’re going through.
- I am deeply saddened to hear of your loss and I wish you well in this trying time.
No loss is easy, but sometimes if someone is in a lot of pain for a long time, you can acknowledge that this death could be a comfort.
You can say something like, “I hope you find peace and comfort knowing your loved one is no longer suffering. I know you did everything you could for them while they were here.”
Things Not to Include in a Condolence Message
While it’s hard to find the right words when someone is experiencing a time of sorrow, you need to be extremely careful not to say the wrong words. Here are some things to stay away from when penning your heartfelt condolence letter.
- Religious imagery. Unless you are sure of the person’s religious affiliation, do not say something like “they are with God now,” or “you now have an angel watching over you.” While some people may find comfort in this image, this person could have a bad relationship with religion, and thinking of their relative with God will not always be a positive image.
- Look on the bright side. Sometimes, if someone is long suffering from an illness, their passing can be a blessing. However, that does not make it any easier for the people losing them. Don’t say “look on the bright side, at least they aren’t in pain anymore.”You can say you hope the suffering person is at peace now, but don’t tell the grieving person that they shouldn’t be grieving as much as they are.
- Being too personal. Grief is a very difficult emotion to process. Everyone takes the death of a loved one differently. If you are not particularly close to someone, do not try to become their best friend.You can offer support, opening up that line of communication, but don’t constantly barrage them with texts or calls. There’s a lot to process and a lot to do to prepare for a funeral, so their emotions and time are overbooked.Don’t ask prying questions or continuously bring it up. Express your condolences, let them know you’re there if they need anything, and let them come to you if they need your help.
Specific Examples of Condolence Messages
If you’re struggling with where to start, here are some specific examples you can draw inspiration from.
Short Condolence Message
If you aren’t extremely close to the person who experienced loss, writing a sweet and short condolence message is the way to go. Here are short messages you could write in a company sympathy card or as a comment on a Facebook post.
- I’m so sorry for your loss. My family and I are sharing in your sorrow and are thinking of you.
- Losing someone is never easy. Please accept our condolences.
- I’m here if you need me during this trying time.
Condolences Message for Loss of Father, Mother, or Parent
Losing a parent is an extremely heart-wrenching moment in someone’s life, no matter when it happens. Here are some thoughts you can include when someone loses a parent.
- Your father/mother/parent was so proud of the person you’ve become. You honor their memory every day.
- I can’t imagine the pain you’re feeling. Reach out if you ever need someone to lean on.
- You were such a blessing in your father/mother/parent’s life. They had such joy having you as a son/daughter/child.
Remember, your heartfelt condolence should be appropriately crafted based on how close you are to them. If you don’t know much about their relationship with their parent, don’t assume they were close.
This time could be even more complicated for them if they had a tumultuous relationship with their parent.
Condolence Message for a Friend
Watching your friend lose someone is a different kind of heartbreak. They won’t be themselves and sometimes you just don’t know what to say. Being close to someone experiencing loss can get messy. Here are some good things to say to a close friend.
- You can let your guard down around me. I’m here for you, no matter what, any time, day or night.
- You mean the world to me. I can’t imagine how you’re feeling right now, but I’ll be with you every step of the way.
- I’ve seen you survive through so much. You can do this, and I’ll be here to help you get through it.
If there’s a song or movie that means a lot in your relationship, you can pull some condolence quotes from them to add to your card. Be specific when expressing your support, so they know you truly are there for them.
Whether they need a self-care night or they need help planning the service, be there for them.
Condolence Messages Are Meant to Show You Care
No one likes talking about death. But you know what’s worse than discussing death? Feel like you’re completely alone when facing the passing of a loved one.
Your condolence message is meant to show this person that you care for them and want to see them through this hardship. Make sure you keep the tone appropriate to your level of closeness and choose words that express your sincerity.
Think about what you would want to read in a sympathy card. Knowing what you want to hear is a great place to start when choosing what to say to someone who is grieving.Published in
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.