How to Write a Condolences Message

When someone close to you experiences the loss of a loved one, you must let them know that you are thinking of them. Those dealing with grief will appreciate messages of support from those around them. Sending your condolences will show the individual grieving that they are loved, and it may bring them some much-needed comfort. However, it can be difficult to know what to say in the message. We’ve put together a short guide to help you write a meaningful condolences message.

When is best to send your condolences?

This usually depends on the relationship you have with the individual who is grieving. If you are close, it is best to offer your condolences as soon as possible as you will be an essential part of the individual’s support network. If you are acquaintances with the bereaved, sending a sympathy message around the time of the funeral is typical.

What should I write?

Again, this depends on your relationship with the person you are writing to. Condolences messages are not easy to write. You may worry that you will say the wrong thing, or that you won’t say enough. However, it is important to remember that the recipient will be happy to hear from you no matter the length of the card. Sympathy cards don’t take the pain of loss away, but they do show that there are people who care and are ready to help however they can.

We recommend that you start the letter by referring to the deceased by name, and express your sympathy at their passing. You can also point out something special about the deceased and remind the reader about their good qualities. This will give the bereaved some comfort and will encourage them to revisit happy memories with the deceased individual. Perhaps you can share a positive memory that you have of the person who has died. If possible, offer to help. An offer such as “call me whenever you need me” will go a long way. Let the grieving person know that they are loved and supported and that you are there to help them when they need it. Finish the message with another expression of sympathy. Examples include:

  • Deepest sympathies for your loss.
  • I am sending you love during this difficult time.
  • You are in my thoughts.
  • My sincere condolences to you and your family.


Try to keep the message relatively short, simple, but meaningful if you can. All that matters is that your words are sincere.

How should I format the message?

If you feel comfortable doing so, writing the letter by hand is a thoughtful way to show your condolences. Writing a letter by hand is a highly personal practise that shows you’ve put thought into your message. However, if you don’t feel comfortable for whatever reason, purchase a sympathy card and write your thoughts in there instead. The recipient will appreciate the message nonetheless.

Final thoughts

The death of a loved one is one of the most painful experiences in life. While messages of condolence will not take the pain away, it will make the recipient feel loved and supported. To learn more ways that you can help a grieving individual, click here.


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