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Sympathy Message: 12 Tips + 81 Messages for a Sympathy Card

Writing a sympathy message or a funeral card is a challenge for many people. Death is a sensitive subject and every person grieves differently. We help you with valuable tips to express your sympathy appropriately.

A sympathy message usually includes not only personal words and sympathy wishes, but sometimes also money to support the bereaved family.

Phrases to Start a Sympathy Message

Phrases to Start a Sympathy Message

Many people find it particularly difficult to begin a condolence message. Formulating a perfect first sentence often takes some time.

To help you find the right words, we have some inspiration for you. First, of course, you should not forget the salutation, for example: Dear Anne, … / Dear Martha, dear Frank …, / Dear Miller family …

  1. … unfortunately it is a very sad occasion to write these lines.
  2. … it is so hard to find suitable and comforting words.
  3. … the world has become poorer by a dear person.
  4. … very affected and still quite under the shadow of the sudden passing, it is difficult to find the right words.
  5. … in these difficult hours of parting I accompany you in thought.
  6. … it is very difficult to find comforting words when a person who has accompanied us for a part of our journey says goodbye forever.
  7. … it is only when a person close to us or a loved one passes away and then much too soon that we become painfully aware that we are not immortal.

Mourning Sayings and Quotes for Your Sympathy Message

Sayings for Your Sympathy Message

If you can’t find the right words to say goodbye to a loved one yourself, it’s helpful to turn to quotes, aphorisms and funeral sayings. Here, you should choose carefully to convey the right message and neither be too intimate nor seem too distant.

Always keep the personal relationship in mind. When choosing a quote or saying for the death announcement, quotes (even prominent ones) can be a really nice alternative to your own words. The only important thing is that the deceased could have identified with the quote.

Comfort Sympathy Message

With the following sympathy messages you can give the bereaved some comforting words. If you know the family of the deceased particularly well, you can also offer your personal support in the message.

  1. "That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind."
    (William Wordsworth, English poet, 1770-1850)
  2. "What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like."
    (Saint Augustine, Roman bishop, 354-430 A.D.)
    Be sure that we will always stand by your side and support you in these difficult times.
  3. "Truly, it is in darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us."
    (Meister Eckhart, German philosopher, 1260-1328)
  4. "Please know that I am with you, I’m only a phone call away."
  5. "Thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort."

Short Sympathy Message

Short Sympathy Message

If you have only a distant relationship with the relatives of the deceased, a short sympathy message will suffice. You can also write it in a card and add some more personal words.

  1. "Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality."
    (Emily Dickinson, American poet, 1830-1886)
  2. "There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery."
    (Dante Alighieri, Italian poet and philosopher, 1265-1321)
  3. "There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief."
    (Aeschylus, Greek poet, 525-456 B.C.)
  4. "Tears are the silent language of grief."
    (Voltaire, French writer, 1694-1778)
  5. "A sorrow’s crown of sorrow is remembering happier times."
    (Alfred Lord Tennyson, British poet, 1809-1892)
  6. "Wishing you strength and comfort through this difficult time."
  7. "My heart goes out to you and your family."
  8. "Sharing in your sadness as you remember your lost loved one."
  9. "I hope you know I’m here for you during this time of sorrow."
  10. "Words fail to express my deep sorrow for your loss."

Sympathy Message for the Loss of a Father

It is always very sad when someone loses a parent. Depending on the relationship between the relatives and the deceased father, he may have been a great role model, for example.

It does not matter what the father died of. The grief is always painful.

All of the following messages are and have no author.

  1. "Your dad’s amazing personality lives on through you. Sending you love during this difficult time."
  2. "May you look back on the precious memories and find peace in knowing that your father raised an amazing person."
  3. "I’m a firm believer that when we lose someone close to us, like a father, they continue to live on through us and give us unbelievable strength. They’re so connected to us that they become a part of us."
  4. "Your father was such an inspiration in my life I’ll never forget the valuable lessons he taught me."
  5. "I will always cherish the wonderful memories I have with your dad. He will be forever missed."

Sympathy Message for the Loss of a Mother

Sympathy Message for the Loss of a Mother

Losing your mother is probably the worst thing that can happen to you. If you know someone who has recently lost their mother and you don’t have the right words, you can use one of the following messages. 

All of the following messages are free for public use and have no author.

  1. "A mother is with us always, first in her lifetime, then forever in our memory."
  2. "Nothing I can say will take away the pain you’re experiencing. Just want you to know that I care about you, and I share in your sadness."
  3. "I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing your mom, but I’m sure she was a special person because she raised an amazing human being: you! Wishing you peace and comfort during this unimaginable time."
  4. "There is no one in this world like your mother. She was a special person, and she will always be with you."
  5. "From what I’ve heard, your mother was a phenomenal woman. What good memories you must have. Lean on them to remind you of the joy she brought into your life."

Sympathy Message to a Friend

If a friend of yours is currently grieving for someone, you can send them your condolences with a sympathy message.

All of the following messages are free for public use and have no author.

  1. "Thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace and comfort as you remember someone who was so close to you."
  2. "Thinking of you as you celebrate [name]’s beautiful life. He/she will live on in your heart."
  3. "I know there are no words that can ease your pain. Just know that I’ll always be here for you no matter what."
  4. "My heart goes out to you for the loss of your dear friend. I know how much she meant to you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers."
  5. "I know that grief comes in waves. That’s why I intend to be with you throughout this difficult journey."

Sympathy Message for the Loss of a Family Member

Sympathy Message for a Family Member

If someone is grieving the loss of a family member and you don’t know what to write in a sympathy message, you can use the following examples.

Of course, you can also make it more personal, for example, if you knew the deceased family member, you might add some personal recollections or acknowledgements. All of the following messages are free for public use and have no author.

  1. "Celebrating the life of a wonderful man/woman and mourning his/her passing with you."
  2. "[Name] has made a difference in so many lives. I’m grateful to have been a member of his/her family."
  3. "The joy that your grandfather brought to the world will never be forgotten. May you always feel his love and pride."
  4. "May all of your happy memories of your Grandmother/Grandfather give you peace and comfort during this challenging time."
  5. "Here’s to celebrating the life of a great person and mourning his/her passing with you in every possible way."

Sympathy Message for the Loss of Husband or Wife

The death of the wife or husband is difficult for the partner to cope with. It is even more important to express your sympathy and support to the bereaved person.

All of the following messages are free for public use and have no author.

  1. "I’m deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved partner. You complemented each other like no other couple I know. May your precious memories bring you comfort."
  2. "Someone who shared so much life with you will always be a part of you. Bonds like yours are forever."
  3. "I’ll always admire the love shared between you and your husband/wife. You shared a one-of-kind bond that can never be broken."
  4. "No words can express how sorry I am for the loss of your husband/wife. I didn’t know her personally, but I know how much you loved her, and I am here for you."
  5. "It was such a privilege and honor to work with your husband/wife. He/She was an incredibly smart and thoughtful man/woman. May his/her memory live on forever."

Sympathy Message for the Loss of a Child or Sibling

Sympathy Message for the Loss of a Child or Sibling

Few things are as bad as losing your own child. Sometimes it is illness or unforeseeable things that take a child or sibling out of life far too early.

So it’s only understandable if you don’t have the right words for your sympathy message.

All of the following messages are free for public use and have no author.

  1. "I never would have felt ready to say good-bye to someone as special as your sister/brother, but this timing feels especially tough. Wishing your family comfort and strength for the days and weeks ahead."
  2. "It feels wrong that you should have to say goodbye to your child. Whatever you’re feeling, please know you’re not alone. We’re here to support you in any way we can in the weeks and months to come."
  3. "With the loss of a child, we are left with an emptiness that can only be filled by the love of others and time. Please know that we are here for you." 
  4. "I hope there’s some comfort in knowing just how loved and adored your son/daughter was."
  5. "I’m heartbroken to hear about the loss of your sister/brother. Even though I never met her/him, I know how much she/he meant to you."
  6. "I feel so grateful to have known your brother/sister and will remember him/her always, and often."
  7. "I hope it brings you some comfort in knowing that your brother’s/sister’s life will be celebrated with joy and gratitude by his/her many, many friends."
  8. "I’m so sorry to hear you lost your brother/sister. I’m grateful I had the chance to meet him/her. He/She will be dearly missed."
  9. "Though we only got to hold him/her for a little while, he/she brought us together and brought so many smiles. Celebrating all the days that were brighter because your beautiful son/daughter was here."

Deepest Sympathy Message about Death

Express your connection with the loved ones of a deceased person with a profound message. If you have no idea what to write, use one of the following messages.

  1. "His physical presence can be removed but never the life lived, and the memories shared. Have faith, be strong and know that you’re not alone."
  2. "There are things death cannot touch, and your love for him/her is one of them."
  3. "The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living."
    (Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman orator and statesman, 106-43 B.C.)
  4. "[Name] will be greatly missed but his/her warmth, kindness, and gentle spirit will be remembered forever."
  5. "May there be comfort in knowing that someone so special will never be forgotten."

Christian Sympathy Message

Christian Sympathy Message

If you are religious and you know that the deceased and his family also have a Christian faith, you can also use Bible quotes or messages related to God and life in heaven.

  1. "My heartfelt condolences. I pray that you are surrounded by God’s comforting love."
  2. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
    (Romans 15:13)
  3. "I am praying for you to find peace and healing through our Lord’s infinite love."
  4. "Please accept my deepest condolences and know that God loves you and can restore your spirits, give you peace, and strengthen you."
  5. "Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.""
    (Revelation 14:13)

Sympathy Message for a Coworker

If you have learned that your colleague has lost a loved one, you can offer him or her your condolences with a few personal and kind words.

All of the following messages are free for public use and have no author.

  1. "Keeping you in my warmest thoughts as you navigate this difficult time – and wishing you hope and healing when you’re ready."
  2. "Please accept my deepest condolences to you over the loss of [name]. I offer you my heartfelt support and friendship in this difficult time."
  3. "I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Wishing you peace during this difficult time."
  4. "I’m so sorry to hear about [name]. I know how much his/her smile brightened your day. I’m here if you want to talk."
  5. "May your happy memories give you peace and comfort during this challenging time."

Sympathy Message for Funeral Flowers

Sympathy Message for Funeral Flowers

Funeral Flowers usually have a small tag or a beautiful fabric banner that can be printed. If you haven’t found the right saying for the flowers yet, you can get inspiration from the following messages.

All of the following sayings are free for public use and have no author.

  1. "Always in our hearts."
  2. "With deepest sympathy."
  3. "You are the brightest star in the sky."
  4. When a person becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
  5. "We’ll always love you and miss you so much."
  6. "Sending love your way."
  7. "Our thoughts are with you."
  8. "In loving memory."
  9. "Rest peacefully."
  10. "Forever in our hearts."

Writing a Sympathy Message: 12 Tips

In the course of their lives, everyone comes across a situation where they have to say goodbye to a loved one. When writing a sympathy card, consider what you would like to hear in such a situation.

The following tips will tell you what to write in a sympathy card and help you set the right tone.

The Right Timing to Write a Sympathy Message

The Right Timing to Write a Sympathy Message

You should respond as soon as possible when you learn of someone who has passed away. Be it the wife of a co-worker or the mother of a friend of yours.

You don’t even have to have known the person personally – after all, the point is to provide comfort to the bereaved. That’s why you should act quickly and not wait until the first days of mourning are over.

Receiving condolences for an extended period of time following the funeral can be burdensome for the grieving relatives, as it serves as a constant reminder of their loss. So it’s never too early to send a condolence message.

Take Your Time Writing a Condolence Message

Taking enough time when writing a condolence card is especially important. This is because it is only possible to compose the right words when in the correctly sensitive state, and after prolonged reflection. You should also invest time in choosing additional quotes or sayings to write in the card.

Select Complementary Funeral Quotes

A complementary mourning saying, an aphorism, or a quote that is placed next to the text you have written must be chosen carefully. Basically, there is something beautiful and poetic about adding such a text.

However, you should not overdo it either and really stick to just one funeral saying or quote. An overstuffed funeral card quickly seems kind of banal and ridiculous.

You might give the mourners the impression that you didn’t care about the person’s death or that you didn’t put any effort into it and wrote random sayings in the card.

Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple

There’s no need for embellishments or decorative drawings to express your condolences to the loved ones. You might send the wrong message that you enjoyed writing the condolences and offend the family and friends by doing so.

A simple and neat arrangement of your words is in keeping with the mournful mood you want to convey with your card. Likewise, you should not craft a card. This is hobbyistic in nature and could also give the impression of fun. Write on plain or classy stationery or buy a condolence card. You can get them at any supermarket or drugstore.


If you would like to personalize your funeral card somehow, you can integrate a photo inside. It is important to choose a natural motif.

Either a photo of the deceased or a nature motif with a calm atmosphere is suitable for this. This can be a simple landscape, a photo of a grave or flowers. It will suit the card even better if you have the photo developed in black and white.

Write A Sympathy Message on a Personal Level

To write an appealing condolence message, it is important to write on a personal level and assess your relationship with the deceased and the loved ones.

If you have lost a good friend and are writing a funeral card to his or her family, you can express your dismay much more openly than you would with a colleague or acquaintance.

Stay Credible

Stay Credible in Your Sympathy Message

Stiff and precisely positioned words are usually less comforting than a simple and credible expression of condolences.

Of course, you should think carefully about what you want to write beforehand. However, it often helps to simply give free rein to your feelings and be honest.

The relatives will recognize when your kind words come from the heart and are more likely to find it meaningful than they would a plain and simple saying without reference to the deceased person.

Content of the Condolence Card

The exact content of your message of condolence is, of course, up to you. Nevertheless, we give some food for thought below. You can use them if you don’t know how to start your sympathy card or have doubts about whether you might have forgotten something.

Include Memories

If the deceased was somewhat close to you, for example, you could tell about a situation you experienced together. Memories of positive character traits of this person are also a nice inspiration and can also be a good introduction to a condolence message.

  • When did he/she impress you?
  • Did the deceased person inspire you to do something?
  • What will you always remember?
  • What will you miss?

Personal experiences are very authentic and will not hurt the family if they are carefully worded and tactful.

Offering Support

Offering Support

Show sympathy with the bereaved and offer your support. Just a small phrase here can mean a lot to the family. Especially when older women or men are left alone, it is a nice gesture to offer your help.

Whether this offer is taken up depends on the character of your relationship with the recipient. But you should consider the possibility in any case and be prepared to fulfill the offer.

Future wishes in a bereavement card

To show empathy and compassion in your condolence message, incorporate future wishes. This is important to remind the bereaved that life goes on even after the death of a loved one.

You must be careful not to dismiss the loss in an insensitive way, but to show understanding for the current grief. Example phrases that bring the necessary sensitivity and that you can use as a guide are:

  • "I wish you the time you need to grieve and say goodbye, and also strength to look to the future again."
  • "I wish you and your family with all my heart that you have the necessary strength to look confidently and full of hope into the future, despite the loss that is so painful for you."

Do Not Use Theatrics

A condolence message should be compassionate and comforting, not heartbreaking. Therefore, refrain from any theatrics. Your job is to understand the grief, but also to soften it.

Words like "horrible death" or "agonizing passing" should be avoided at all costs. Even if you wonder how a family is supposed to survive such a loss, never say it. The idea is not to create a depressed feeling of hopelessness, but to give encouragement.

Also inappropriate is advice on the manner in which the bereaved should grieve. That is for each mourner to decide for themselves.

The Appropriate Length of the Funeral Card

The Appropriate Length of the Funeral Card

Your sympathy message should be a few lines long in any case. A single sentence is unlikely to provide much comfort to the bereaved. It comes across as if you don’t particularly care how they are doing. In addition, the small amount of time it takes to write this sentence may offend them as well.

Your card shouldn’t be too long, either. Mourners have enough condolences to read and are reminded of their loved one’s death every time they read one. Try to find a good balance.

The card shouldn’t look too empty, but it shouldn’t look too full either. Again, it can help to put yourself in the mourners' perspective and think about what you would find appropriate in their situation.

Write the Sympathy Message by Hand

Don’t let the quality of your handwriting hold you back from writing by hand, even if you think it is not very good. Of course, you should make an effort and not callously scribble your condolences in the card. But first and foremost, it’s about making the effort to handwrite your condolences.

If you type and print a funeral card on a computer, it has little personal value to the recipients. They might even think you’ve sent a set condolence message that you use every time someone dies.

Also, always sign your name personally. If the deceased or their family members know people in your family, it’s always nice to put their names in the sympathy card as well.

Sending a Condolence Card: by Mail or not?

Sending a Condolence Card: by Mail or not?

In this day and age, it is not unusual to come up with the idea of sending condolences via WhatsApp, SMS or email. Nevertheless, consideration should be given to the fact that these media have not yet reached all generations.

Especially if older people belong to the circle of the bereaved, short text messages should be avoided. It is always nicer to hold a classic letter of condolence in one’s hand than to have the granddaughter read out a WhatsApp message to the grandmother about the death of her husband.

A written expression of condolence by mail expresses effort and thus still gives comfort in the long term, because it can be kept. A digital message not only seems impersonal, but also gives the impression that the bereaved was not worth writing a handwritten letter for them.

Another problem is that there is no particularly tactful way to donate money this way. Asking for account details for a donation in a WhatsApp message is a clear no-go.


If you have a closer relationship to the bereaved, phone calls or a visit are a great alternative. They are a welcome change from reading condolence letters every day.

Money in a Funeral Card: 4 Ways

Money in a Funeral Card: 4 Ways

The subject of money in a message of condolence is controversial. In some regions, it is quite appropriate to support the family or the funeral service with a donation.

Somewhere else, however, people may find it distasteful. So be sure to check beforehand if the relatives belong to a different culture so you don’t offend them.

Here are four ways to include money in your funeral card:

  1. Place the money neatly (and well-sealed) in the envelope or card.
  2. Support the family with a gift certificate to a cemetery gardener or floral provider.
  3. Show sympathy by sending a funeral floral arrangement with a funeral saying and your name on it.
  4. If a donation is requested for a social project, place the receipt in the funeral card.

Note: With an urn burial, relatives often do not want floral gifts because of the limited space. So find out in advance or take a look at the obituary.

What do you write on the envelope of a funeral card?

It’s best to label the envelope of the funeral card with a personal salutation. These are either "Mrs.", "Mr." or "Family" plus last name or first name if you know the person well. "First name & family" is also common.

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