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A Guide for Writing a Sympathy Note

Writing a condolence message must be one of the hardest things to write. The right words to express your sympathy are difficult to find. Many put off writing anything because they don’t know how to express their feelings, yet a simple note can provide great comfort. The only requirement for a sympathy note is to be sincere.

Here are a few suggestions to help you write a heartfelt note:

1.      Acknowledge the loss and express your sympathy – let the bereaved know you share in their sorrow and that they aren’t alone.

·        I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother.

·        Words can’t express the sadness I felt when I learned of the death of your husband, John.

·        Words seem inadequate to express my sympathy on the loss of your father.

·        I extend my deepest sympathy on the death of your daughter Jane.

·         If you have special memories of the deceased share them with the recipient.

·        “I remember the time….” can provide comfort for the bereaved.


“Some people come into our lives,
 leave footprints on our hearts,
 and we are never the same.”


2.      Offer assistance, but only if you are truly able to help and intend to follow through with your offer. During times like this, it is difficult for the bereaved to think of what they might need help with, so be specific – getting groceries, running errands, writing thank you notes, taking care of children, walking dogs, etc.

·        I am available this weekend and would love to take the kids to the park. I’ll contact you on Thursday.

·        I am going grocery shopping; do you need anything? Do you have enough milk, eggs, and bread?

·        I would be happy to help write thank you notes if you would like. I know how hard that can be and would be glad to help.

3.      Close with a sympathetic phrase.

·        With deepest sympathy,

·        With much love and sympathy,

·        You remain in my thoughts and prayers,

·        May God wrap you in his loving arms during this difficult time,

The bereaved often gets plenty of sympathy cards and notes immediately following the death. They continue to mourn long after and it’s nice to send a note in the weeks and months after the loss. You can send these to commemorate the deceased’s birthday, anniversary, holiday, or any time the bereaved could use some additional support. Don’t worry that it will make them sad or remind them of the loss. They haven’t forgotten and it’s nice to know someone else remembers their loved one as well.

·        It’s so hard to believe it’s been a year since we said goodbye to Jeff. I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you.

·        I know Christmas won’t be the same without Jason here, but I wanted you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

·        It’s been a while, but I know the pain doesn’t go away quickly. I’m still here for you. Let’s go for lunch this week. What day works for you?

·        I just wanted to let you know we’re remembering your mom on her birthday and sending you lots of hugs and prayers.

I hope this helps provide some words of comfort during a difficult time.  If you would like more resources on helping others after a loss, check out Top 30 Ways to Help After a Death A Collection of Sympathy Messages and Condolence Quotes, and sign up for our email list to receive a free comprehensive resource guide for the bereaved. 

Anne from Kidderbug Kreations

A Guide for Writing a Sympathy Note

Loving Through Loss: Resources for Grief Support

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