Knowing exactly what to say when writing a Sympathy card is not easy for many. Searching for just the right words, and not wanting to say the wrong thing may intimidate or discourage us from reaching out with a card or gesture of sympathy to our loved one or friend who is grieving.
Although it is not easy, it is of great value to reach out in sympathy to those who are grieving. When sending a gesture of sympathy, such as a card, flowers, sympathy gift basket, or memorial gift, it is important to understand that there are no specific gestures or words that will take the loss and pain away that they are feeling. However, our gestures and words can send much needed comfort and support to our loved one or friend in their time of grief.
When sending a sympathy message, less is always more. The card you are sending will most likely already have a message printed inside expressing what you wanted to say. Whether or not you knew the deceased well, you can be brief and still send a supportive and caring sympathy message. Some examples of messages are below:
“Thinking of you and your family as you celebrate your uncle’s life.”
“Remembering your wonderful sister, wishing you and your family love and comfort.”
“It was a pleasure working with your father these past years, he will be truly missed.”
“I am sorry for your loss.”
“You are in our thoughts and prayers.”
“Wishing you moments of peace and well-being as you remember your grandmother.”
“Surrounding you with comfort and love in your time of need.”
“Sharing in your sadness as you remember your lovely mother.”
“With deepest sympathy, we are missing your brother with you.”
Gratitude and Appreciation
If you knew or had admiration for the deceased, it can be a comfort to their loved ones who are grieving to know how highly your thought of them. Let them know how you felt, and how grateful and appreciative you are to have had the privilege to get to know and share time with their loved one or friend who has passed. Some examples of what you could say are:
“Your father was a great man. I feel honored to have gotten to know and spend time with him. He will be missed. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers.”
“Celebrating the life of such a caring woman. We are saddened with you to hear of her passing.”
“Your sister impacted so many lives in such a positive way. I am grateful to have spent time with her as a valued colleague and beloved friend.”
“Your uncle shared the best stories. He could make always me laugh when I had sadness and tears in my eyes. He truly had a gift of compassion and greatness. I will miss his comforting sense of humor and caring nature.”
“The greatest memories were always with your uncle. All of those fun adventures he took us on will forever be remember fondly in my heart and mind. I will sincerely miss him, such a great man and friend.”
Stay in Touch
After sending your card or a gesture of comfort to your grieving friend or loved on, follow up with them and keep in touch. A phone call or Facetime, or in this day and age of electronic communication, send a text or an email. Electronic communication may seem a little less personal, but it still sends the message of “I am thinking of you,” and “I care about what you are going through.” Whatever means of communication you have available, be sure to reach out.
If you are able to, offer to help with their daily tasks. When someone is grieving, they may have days where they feel they can do it all, and need to do it all, to stay focused and keep their minds off the passing of their friend or loved one. Then, they may have days where the grief and tears are overwhelming, and they struggle to just get out of bed.
Those are the days they will need you the most. If you are available, offer to run to the grocery store, walk their dog, drop off their mail or laundry, or bring over a meal or dessert to share, spend time with them, listen to what they need to say, and what they are feeling, and be present. Comfort food and conversation with a close friend or loved one can be the greatest security in a time of uncertainty and grief.