Writing a sympathy message is never an easy task. It’s hard to find the right words to express your condolences to a friend or family member who is going through a time of need. In fact, it may seem like there aren’t any words to say.

Unfortunately, getting caught up in trying to say the right thing can often lead to saying nothing at all. You can’t take their pain away, but you can be a shoulder to lean on. One thing we know for sure is that saying something is better than keeping quiet. If you seem to be at a loss for words, one of the best ways to express how you’re feeling is by putting the pen to paper.

To help you bring light to a grieving heart and get started on your sympathy message, we’ve created a guide for what to write in a sympathy card.

 

sympathy message

 

  1. Tell the recipient that you are sorry for their loss. Open your message by acknowledging the situation and saying those two little words that can go a long way.
  2. Extend your words of sympathy. The recipient is likely receiving a lot of sympathy cards so keep your message concise. A note that’s short and sweet can leave the same impact.
  3. Take thoughtful action. No task is too small to comfort a loved one. Be a shoulder to lean on, offer to make a casserole for the grieving family or help out with the yard work.
  4. Offer ongoing support. Be sure to follow through on any offers you make and assure that the recipient knows that you will.
  5. Reminisce about a positive memory. If you were close to the deceased, you can share a memory to comfort the recipient.
  6. Use a sympathy quote or saying. Close your message with a sentiment that might help them reflect. Use a quote or poem. The words spoken by others can make situations more relatable and give the recipient comfort that they’re not alone in feeling this way.
  7. Let the recipient know that they are in your thoughts. Acknowledge the pain they are experiencing and make sure they know that you’re thinking about them.
  8. Don’t forget to sign your sympathy card. Briefly reiterate everything you’ve mentioned above and sign your name.

To inspire more ideas, we’ve created a sympathy card wording generator. Use our collection of sympathy sayings, messages, quotes and notes to express your love, support and understanding. Start by clicking the type of sympathy saying you’re looking for and then select a specific circumstance.

 

for loss of

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
Helen Keller

Thoughtful quote for loss of anyone

"There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart."
Mahatma Gandhi

Thoughtful quote for loss of anyone

"Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Thoughtful quote for loss of anyone

"Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity."
Terri Guillemets

Thoughtful quote for loss of anyone

"To lose someone you love is to gain an angel you know."
Unknown

Thoughtful quote for loss of anyone

"Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim."
Vicki Harrison

Thoughtful quote for loss of anyone

"My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
Clarence B. Kelland

Thoughtful quote for loss of a father

"I have an angel in heaven watching over me and I call him daddy."
Unknown

Thoughtful quote for loss of a father

"Remembering you is easy, I do it everyday. Missing you is the heartache that never goes away."

Thoughtful quote for loss of a father

"A father is one of God's first gifts to our hearts and his love stays with us always."
Holley Gerth

Thoughtful quote for loss of a father

"A father's guiding hand always sits on the shoulder of his children."
Unknown

Thoughtful quote for loss of a father

And every time I think of you
My heart still fills with pride
Though I'll always miss you Dad
I know you're by my side
Unknown

Thoughtful poem for loss of a father

Once you told me
When you were gone
I'd pick up the pieces
I would go on.
Michelle Selby

Thoughtful poem for loss of a father

He was honest, and unpurchasable and kind
He was clean in heart, and body, and in mind.
So he made them heirs to riches without price
This father.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Thoughtful poem for loss of a father

Moments before our walk that afternoon,
I realized the path ended too soon.
Not long enough to hold his hand,
This amazing person, this loving man.
Kelly Horn

Thoughtful poem for loss of a father

And think of him as living
In the hearts of those he touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And he was loved so much.
Unknown

Thoughtful poem for loss of a father

When you speak of him, speak not with tears, for thoughts of him should not be sad. Let memories of the times you shared give you comfort, for his life was rich because of you.

Thoughtful message for loss of a father

Let the memories of your father's life provide you with the comfort you need during this challenging time.

Thoughtful message for loss of a father

I felt my heart break into pieces when I heard about the sudden death of your beloved father. He was a great person. He will truly be missed.

Thoughtful message for loss of a father

No matter where he is, he'll always be watching over you. He'll stay with you, forever.

Thoughtful message for loss of a husband or father

No amount of words can heal the pain that he has left us with. But you must know that time heals everything, and he would have liked you to speed up time and be fine very soon.

Thoughtful message for loss of a father

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. What an amazing life your father led. I will never forget the way he smiled and the way he loved you with every piece of his heart.

Thoughtful message for loss of a father

“When you speak of him, speak not with tears, for thoughts of him should not be sad. Let memories of the times you shared give you comfort, for his life was rich because of you.”
Unknown

Thoughtful quote for loss of a husband or father

"Love is how he stays alive, even after he is gone."
Mitch Albom

Thoughtful quote for loss of a husband

"There are days when your absence is the loudest silence I've ever heard."
Dr Joanne Cacciatore

Thoughtful quote for loss of a husband

"Tears are the silent language of grief."
Voltaire

Thoughtful quote for loss of a husband

"Our past is who we are, and death is one of our experiences. I lost my husband a long time ago, but it's always yesterday."
Talia Shire

Thoughtful quote for loss of a husband

We've shared our lives these many years.
You've held my hand;
You've held my heart.
So many blessings, so few tears
Yet for a moment, we must part.

Thoughtful poem for loss of a husband

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Henry Scott Holland, English professor

Thoughtful poem for loss of a husband

You left me beautiful memories
Your love is still my guide,
And though we cannot see you,
You're always at my side.

Thoughtful poem for loss of a husband

When you're feeling alone
just remember our love,
I'm up near the stars
looking down from above.
Remember our love
in a moment you'll see
that I'm still here beside you
when you're thinking of me.
Julie Epp

Thoughtful poem for loss of a husband

My heart is reaching out to
you,
For what you're going
through;
I'm thinking of you
frequently
And praying for you, too.
If there's something I can
do,
Anything at all,
Think of me thinking of you,
And don't hesitate to call.
Joanna Fuchs

Thoughtful poem for loss of a husband

Though your husband is gone, he still lives in your heart and in the children that he has left you. Cherish and treasure those memories for they will give you strength to carry on. My deepest sympathies for the loss of your husband.

Thoughtful message for loss of a husband

Here lies a great man who has left a wonderful legacy behind. He was larger than life and he lived it to the fullest. Now that he has gone may all the beautiful memories be a blessing to you and your children. Please accept my sympathies for losing your husband.

Thoughtful message for loss of a husband

It is not how long a man lives, but how deep that life is. In your pain and sorrow remember that he was a great man. Our sincere sympathies for the death of your husband.

Thoughtful message for loss of a husband

He was an amazing friend, husband and exceptional human being. A great soul, may he rest in peace. Sorry to hear about this news. We stand with you in this time of need.

Thoughtful message for loss of a husband

My heartfelt condolences go out to you for the death of your husband. He took his place in life and played his role with courage, responsibility and love. Please accept my simple words of comfort as you are always in our thoughts.

Thoughtful message for loss of a husband

My words cannot fully express the sorrow I feel after learning about the death of your beloved wife. May you ever treasure the wonderful times you had and my thoughts are with your whole family.

Thoughtful message for loss of a wife

When the person you love has gone away, remember you always have their memories with you. It is something that no one can take away from you. We are thinking of you during this sad time.

Thoughtful message for loss of a wife

My heartfelt sympathy on the loss of your wife. I know you had a great marriage and loved her so much. I share your grief at this very difficult time.

Thoughtful message for loss of a wife

Nothing can ever replace the amazing person I knew your wife to be. It is indeed sad to part ways with someone so sincere. May she rest in peace.

Thoughtful message for loss of a wife

Your dearest wife was not just a great companion to you, but also a very wonderful human being having touched the lives of many. Her passing has brought gloom to many around and we are all going to miss her lots. My thoughts are with you.

Thoughtful message for loss of a wife

"That quiet mutual gaze of a trusting husband and wife is like the first moment of rest or refuge from a great weariness or a great danger."
George Eliot

Thoughtful quote for loss of a wife

"A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers."
Ruth Bell Graham

Thoughtful quote for loss of a wife

"It is easy to find a woman, but to find that one special woman to make your wife is another thing altogether."
Unknown

Thoughtful quote for loss of a wife

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."
Unknown

Thoughtful quote for loss of a wife

"Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife."
Franz Schubert

Thoughtful quote for loss of a wife

My hands they shake with sorrow
My heart it bleeds with pain
My soul forever lingers
Wishing you could have stayed
Janice Andrade

Thoughtful poem for loss of a wife

If I could just turn back the time
To when I heard you say,
That I could be your shining prince
And all the dragons slay
I'd build a castle on the hill
So all the world could see,
The lovely princess that I chose,
To live and die with me.

Thoughtful poem for loss of a wife

We've shared our lives these many years.
You've held my hand; you've held my heart.
So many blessings, so few tears
Yet for a moment, we must part.
The memories you've given me
Are times I've shared with my best friend
I'll hold them, love, right here they'll be
Until we share our lives again.
T.C. Ring

Thoughtful poem for loss of a wife

No man succeeds without a good woman behind him.
Wife or mother,
If it is both,
he is twice blessed indeed.
Harold Macmillan

Thoughtful poem for loss of a wife or mother

If I could just turn back the time
And start my life anew,
I'd plant some roses near the paths
That I have led you through
There'd be no thorns to pierce your heart,
No tears to dim your eyes,
I'd leave no stones to bruise your feet,
There'd be no sad goodbyes

Thoughtful poem for loss of a wife

I know I can’t make your pain go away, but I want you to know I'm here with a shoulder or an ear or anything else you need.

Thoughtful message for loss of anyone

May care and love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead. My most sincere condolences.

Thoughtful message for loss of anyone

Wishing you peace to bring you comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.

Thoughtful message for loss of anyone

Our hearts go out to you and your family. Although I don't know exactly what to say, I want you to know that I am with you in thought and wish you comfort and peace.

Thoughtful message for loss of anyone

My deepest condolences to you during this time. Know that you are not alone and that if you ever need to talk, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Thoughtful message for loss of anyone

There are so few comforting words when we need them most. The passing of the one who first introduced us to this planet and who loved us along its paths is never easy.

Thoughtful message for loss of a mother

Your mom was such a lovely woman. I often think about all the times we spent together and all the amazing meals your mom cooked. She was such a pleasure to have around. I have learned so much from her and will remember her always. I love you and am truly sorry for your loss.

Thoughtful message for loss of a mother

Moms stay in a very special part of our hearts even after they pass. I am deeply sorry to hear of your loss.

Thoughtful message for loss of a mother

Death holds no power over love, especially the love of a mother. For this reason, we can never completely lose our mothers.

Thoughtful message for loss of a mother

Your mama was an amazing lady, and I feel privileged to have known her. I know you will miss her deeply. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

Thoughtful message for loss of a mother

"Life has to end, she said. Love doesn't."
Mitch Albom

Thoughtful quote for loss of a mother

"The loss of a mother can never be replaced. But the love a mother can never be lost."
Kelly Flannery

Thoughtful quote for loss of a mother

"We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love."
Madame de Stael

Thoughtful quote for loss of a mother

"The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her."
Unknown

Thoughtful quote for loss of a mother

"A mother is with us always, first in her lifetime, then forever in our memory."
Unknown

Thoughtful quote for loss of a mother

What through 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, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find Strength
in what remains behind.
William Wadsworth

Thoughtful poem for loss of a mother

Although you're gone, I'm not alone,
And never shall I be,
For the precious memories of the bond we shared
Will never depart from me.

Thoughtful poem for loss of a mother

If roses grow in heaven,
Lord please pick a bunch for me,
Place them in my Mother's arms
and tell her they're from me.

Thoughtful poem for loss of a mother

Grief is a normal way to mend
The anguish and pain in our hearts;
We need time to remember and time to mourn,
Before the recovery starts.

Thoughtful poem for loss of a mother

She’s in a better place right now
Than she’s ever been before;
All pain is gone; she’s now at rest;
Nothing troubles her anymore.
It’s we who feel the burden of
Our sadness and our grief;
We have to cry, to mourn our loss,
Before we get relief.

Thoughtful poem for loss of a mother

Let us help you cope with grief;
We hope with time you'll feel relief.
We can't replace the one who’s gone,
But let our concern help you carry on.

Thoughtful poem for loss of anyone

There may be day ahead of you
when tears will fall like rain,
moments when you doubt your
heart will feel the sun again.
But slowly, oh so slowly, the
shadows all will clear, a rainbow
of sweet memories of your loved
one will appear.
Just remember, if it helps in
some small way to comfort you,
that a loving heart holds many
tears, but it holds a rainbow, too.

Thoughtful poem for loss of anyone

Those we love can can never be more than a thought away
For as long as there's a memory
they live in our hearts to stay

Thoughtful poem for loss of anyone

Speak of me as you have always done.
Remember the good times, laughter, and fun.
Share the happy memories we've made.

Thoughtful poem for loss of anyone

Is that you?
The falling star in the night
So pure, so bright.

Thoughtful poem for loss of anyone

 

Once you’ve written a sympathy card message from the heart, don’t forget to sign it. There aren’t any strict rules you’ll need to follow, but a few guidelines can help you feel more confident in the way you sign, seal and deliver.

How to Sign a Sympathy Card

We’ve included some closings you can use before adding your name to the end of your note. We recommend avoiding anything too formal like, “Sincerely,” as it may come off as too distant for the circumstances. Consider your relationship with the recipient and choose one that feels appropriate.

  • Thinking of you,
  • With caring thoughts,
  • My deepest sympathy,
  • Deepest condolences,
  • With love at this sad time,
  • My heart goes out to you at this time,

 

After you’ve signed your name, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to present your sympathy card. Will you seal it in an envelope and drop in the mailbox or give it in person along with a sympathy bouquet? No matter how you deliver your words of support, just know they will make a difference.