Ten Reliable Strategies for Writing a Meaningful Condolence Message


A condolence message can be a great source of comfort to those grieving the loss of a loved one.

It’s a simple gesture that allows you to express your sympathy and lets the bereaved know they are in your thoughts and prayers. Finding the right words to say when someone is mourning can be difficult so here are ten tips to help you get started.


Be prompt.

Express your sympathies as soon as possible after learning of the passing. If you just recently heard about a loss that happened some time ago, expressing your condolences is still important. Include a note apologizing for the delay.


Identify yourself.

Be sure to include your first and last name, as sympathy cards may get separated from their mailing envelopes. Keep in mind that, although you may know the person who passed on, his or her family may not know you. In this situation, it is appropriate to include a short explanation of how you were acquainted with the departed.


Choose an appropriate card.

If you are sending a sympathy card, consider the recipient. For example, many sympathy cards contain religious imagery or words that can be deeply consoling to people of faith. If you are unsure about the person’s beliefs, choose a simple condolence card that is not overtly religious. You can always make the card more personal via your message.


Keep it simple.

Whether you’re writing an online condolence message or expressing your sentiments in a handwritten note, it should not be lengthy. A short message of concern that lends your support to the bereaved during their time of grief is best. For example, “We are very sorry to hear of your loss. You are in our thoughts during this difficult time.” or “Please accept my deepest condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you.” are appropriate expressions of sympathy.


Avoid negativity.

A sympathy note is intended to uplift the person who experienced the loss. Don't delve into troubled or complex relationships or write about your own losses.


Choose your words carefully.

The family of the departed may find it difficult to hear the words ‘dead’ or ‘died’. Instead, say that you are “sorry for the loss of their loved one”’ or that you are “saddened to hear of their loved one’s passing”. Also, trite phrases and clichés can come across as unfeeling and should not be used when composing your message of sympathy. Avoid statements such as “I know just how you feel” and “It’s for the best”.


Only include messages pertaining to your condolences.

A sympathy card is not the appropriate place to provide updates regarding the happenings in your life. If you want to tell the recipient about a recent move or job change, for example, share that news in a separate message.


Feel free to share a reflection.

Your condolence message offers the perfect time to mention a special thought or happy memory of the one who passed away. Family members are sure to enjoy reading about a fond remembrance of their loved one.


Offer your assistance.

Tell your friend that you will be there for them during this difficult time and then show your support. Tangible offers such as picking up groceries, running errands, or preparing meals are particularly helpful because they take the pressure off the bereaved to think of ways you could pitch in.


Close with some thoughtful words.

When closing your note, include a few thoughtful words that show your affection and support for the bereaved, such as “Our love and thoughts are with you” or “My sincere sympathy”.


A sympathy message is a caring gesture for those who are grieving. Please contact us for other supportive ways you can assist others through their journey of loss. Our caring professionals are always here for you.

About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit www.ewsmithfs.com.

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