What does one say to a grieving friend or loved one, when words seem to fail?
How can a person find the right words to write in a sympathy card? Sometimes the simplest words are the most difficult to find, especially when it comes to comforting those who mourn the death of a loved one.
20 comforting statements for sympathy cards
Here are 20 tender and true phrasings that caring folks might include in sympathy card notes for those who are grieving a loved one’s loss. Some of these words of sympathy include statements of faith, while others are simply comments of personal compassion.
Following this list are a dozen funereal faux pas comments that are best avoided, when addressing those who are in grief.
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- “I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of _____.”
- “I’m praying for you.”
- “I’m thinking of you during this difficult and sad time.”
- “In loving memory of ______. We will all miss him dearly.”
- “Love and sympathies to you and your family.”
- “May fond memories of _______ bring you comfort, even as you face these dark days.”
- “May God bless you and keep you in his care, now and in the days to come.”
- “May God comfort you with His peace and strength.”
- “May the love of family and friends sustain you in these difficult days.”
- “Our heartfelt condolences.”
- “Our hearts go out to you in your time of grief.”
- “Please accept my sincere sympathies.”
- “Please know that we are here from you, sending our love.”
- “Praying for you in fondness and friendship, particularly at this sad time.”
- “Sharing your sorrow, as we fondly recall our dear friend ________.”
- “We cannot begin to understand what you must be going through right now, but we send our love, and we promise to pray for your entire family.”
- “With love and fond memories of ________.”
- “With sincere sympathy.”
- “Words fail to express our sadness at the death of ________.”
- “You are in my thoughts.”
12 well-intended statements to avoid at all costs
Of course, certain overused phrases and well-meaning, but inappropriate, statements are to be absolutely avoided in sympathy cards. Here are a dozen toxic examples of these potentially tacky and damaging statements.
- “At least, she is no longer suffering.”
- “Death and taxes are certain.”
- “Feel better fast.”
- “He lived a full life.”
- “His health went downhill so fast.”
- “I know just how you feel.”
- “It was just his time.”
- “It was worse when my dad died.”
- “Perhaps his death was a blessing, after all.”
- “Time heals all wounds.”
- “You will get over it eventually.”
- “You’ll find someone else.”
Still at a loss for words for a condolence card for a grieving friend, coworker or other contact?
Browse through the sympathy card rack at a local greeting card store, and read what card makers have written. Pick the phrasings that seem most appropriate for the particular situation, and tailor the wordings to make them your own.
The most important concern, of course, is to follow through and actually send a sincere note or card to those who are grieving. Often, a telephone call or in-person call offers even more comfort and encouragement to a dear one who is in grief.