Words of Comfort
Remember that as long as your message is from the heart, it will be appreciated.
"To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart" - Phyllis Theroux
- Sending A Sympathy Card
- Addressing A Sympathy Card or Gift
- Words of Comfort
- Additional Suggestions
- Phrases To Avoid
- Comforting Quotes
- Closing Phrases
Sending a Sympathy Card
Sending a handwritten letter or an appropriate card is an accepted way to express sympathy. Paper cards or letters can be collected and put into a keepsake box, or left on display at the grieving person's home as a source of comfort. Whether it's a card that is left at the funeral home, sent in the mail or along with a sympathy gift, it is the act to show that you remember a loved one and that you care.
Addressing the Card and Sympathy Gift
- Handwrite the card and envelope rather than use a printer.
- If you knew the deceased person but were not close to his or her family (as in the case of a co-worker), address the card to the closest relative, i.e. the widow or the eldest child.
- If you have a friend who is grieving but did not know the person who died, address the card to your friend.
- Clearly identify yourself. Be sure to include your last name both on the card and in the return address. If you are a distant friend or relative it is appropriate to include a reference to identify yourself, such as "Julie Finch (Bob and Jean Smith's daughter)".
Words of Comfort
When sending a sympathy card, it is often difficult to know what to say or how to phrase your thoughts and feelings. Below is a list of appropriate sympathy sayings of what to write in a card. Feel free to combine phrases and write what feels natural and comfortable to you.
- You are in my thoughts.
- Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
- We are thinking of you.
- We are deeply sorry to hear about the death of "name of deceased".
- Remember that we love and care about you.
- With loving memories of "name of deceased".
- Our hearts go out to you in your time of sorrow.
- "Name of Deceased" will remain in our hearts forever.
- We pray the love of God enfolds you during your journey through grief.
- Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss…our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
- With thoughts of peace and courage for you.
- "Name of deceased" brought so many gifts to our life. We will never forget him/her.
- May your heart and soul find peace and comfort.
Don't be afraid to share a short story or memory you have about the deceased. This will let the recipient know how much their loved one meant to you.
If a person's passing comes at the end of a long period of suffering or illness, it is appropriate to acknowledge the illness.
If you would like to offer some assistance, don't be afraid to offer. Don't leave the offer open-ended, however. Give specific ways you would be willing to help.
Be sure to use the name of the person who has died, or to include your personal reminiscences about him or her. The bereaved will want to forget the pain of the loss, but they won't ever want to forget the person they have lost.
If you don't know either the deceased or the bereaved person well - keep your message simple. "Thinking of you and wishing you comfort with your memories," or "My deepest sympathies are with you on your loss."
If you know the bereaved person well but did not know their loved one who has died, it's good to personalize your note by saying something like "I know how much you loved your grandma, and from what you've said, she must have been a remarkable woman. I hope that knowing how special she was will be a comfort to you."
If you were close to the deceased but did not know his or her family, you may wish to mention how you knew their lost loved one when you write. Share a favorite anecdote or tell the story of how you met - the family will appreciate knowing more about another aspect of their loved one's life.
This is not the time to inform the recipient of all the news happening in your life.
Avoid clichés such as: "I know how you feel," "You will get over this in time," "It's all for the best," "Time heals all wounds," or "It was his time to go". Phrases such as these do not take into account that the grieving process is unique to each person. Immediately after someone's death we may not be ready to "let go", "get over", or even be healed.
It is not appropriate to mention any disagreements or differences of opinion you and the deceased may have been experiencing. Old grudges or money owed can be addressed at a later date.
Phrases to Avoid
Anything starting with "At least." For example "At least she didn't suffer." Those two little words have a sting in them. They suggest the griever shouldn't be as sad as they are.
Avoid "How are you?" You may find this hard not to have slip out but you are giving the grieving person the difficult job of having to figure out an answer. They feel obliged to say "Fine" which is obviously not the case. Instead try a caring statement.
Avoid "God's will."
Avoid saying for a Miscarriage:
- It probably happened for the best
- You're still young enough to try again
- At least you have another child
- You have your whole life ahead of you
Avoid saying to a Spouse:
- You're still young, you can always remarry
- He/she led a full life
- Death was a blessing
"When you lose someone you love, you gain an angel you know"-- Unknown
"Wherever you are you will always be in my heart." Mahatma Gandhi
"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice but for those who love .. time is eternity."--Henry Van Dyke
"Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains."-- Kahlil Gibran
"Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same".-- Unknown
"Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."-- Unknown
"The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity."-Seneca
"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come." -- Rabindranath Tagore
While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil." -- John Taylor
"Life is eternal and love is immortal; And death is only a horizon, And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight."-- Rossiter W. Raymond
- I'm praying for you
- You are in my thoughts
- With Deepest Sympathy
- My sincere sympathy
- With Heartfelt Condolences
- Our thoughts and prayers are with you
- He/She will never be forgotten
- The memory of him/her will always be in our hearts
- Thinking of you
- Thinking of you during this difficult time
- May God's Grace strengthen you
- May your heart and soul find peace and comfort