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What to Say When Someone Dies

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What to write in a sympathy card/what to Say When Someone Dies: You should know straight away that you won’t discover the perfect essay topic here. However, you can discover advice from seasoned Hallmark authors on how to write a sympathetic letter that is helpful, encouraging, and kind.

What to Say When Someone Dies

What to write in a sympathy card

It’s difficult to sign a sympathy card. Words are sought after. What would be consoling to hear, we ponder. We fear speaking the incorrect thing.

But despite the difficulty, it’s crucial to express sympathy. Our words can go a long way toward making a grieving person feel loved and supported, even while they cannot erase the grief of losing a loved one.

You should be aware right away that you won’t find the ideal topic for an essay here. But you can find suggestions from seasoned Hallmark authors for kind, beneficial, and upbeat things to say in a sympathy letter.

Our advice is intended to help you unwind, write, and express your genuine concern for someone going through a difficult period.

Condolences

You should keep your personal sympathy message brief for a variety of reasons. The majority or the entirety of what you wanted to say may have already been expressed in the card. Or perhaps you had little or no contact with the dead. You can be succinct for whatever cause and still come across as warm and compassionate.

Examples

• We deeply regret your loss.

• She will be missed by me as well.

• “I hope you experience a lot of love around you.”

• Sharing your sorrow as you think of Juan.

• Sharing your sorrow as you think of Dan.

• “Sending soothing hugs and prayers for recovery. I’m incredibly sad for your loss.

Sincere condolences as you remember Robert.

• “I was sorry to learn of your grandfather’s passing. My thoughts are with you and your family.”

• I’m thinking about your great mother and sending you peace.

• Working with your father for 17 years was genuinely a pleasure. His absence will be felt keenly.

• “As you honor your sibling’s great life, I’m thinking about you all.”

• As you honor your grandmother’s great life, I’m thinking of you all.

• “Anne and I are both missing you. with sincere sympathy

• As you recall a friend who was very close to you, we are thinking of you and sending you our best wishes for comfort and peace.

• “Our family is sending our love and prayers to your family.”

• I’m keeping you in my prayers and praying everything is well with you.

• “While the return home brings joy, your loss brings sorrow. At this difficult moment, I’m thinking of you.”

• “I’m with you in these really sad moments.”

Writing advice: Mentioning your connection to their loved one may be helpful if you know the deceased but not the surviving family member(s) to whom you are sending your card (from school, through work, etc.).

Appreciation

Hearing that other people also had excellent opinions of their loved one can be quite reassuring to someone who is grieving or their family. Be sure to tell the recipient(s) if you knew and admired the loved one who has transitioned.

Examples

• What a great life and what an amazing person. I consider it a great blessing that I met him.

• “Your father was a kind and generous man. His burial ceremony, in my opinion, was a magnificent homage to him and everything he has accomplished for our neighborhood. He’ll be sorely missed.

• “Your grandpa aimed to improve everyone in his social circle. I belonged to that group. And I feel incredibly honored to have known him.

• “Your mother was a wonderful woman, and I consider myself fortunate to have met her. I’m sure you’ll miss her terribly. I’ll remember you in my prayers and thoughts.

• “Celebrating an excellent person’s life and sharing in your grief at their passing.”

• “Celebrating the life of a good guy and sharing your sorrow at his departure.”

• “Your daughter made such a positive impact on so many lives. I’m happy I got the opportunity to get to know her as a valued friend and coworker.

• “With her generosity and faith, your mother helped so many people. I’m hoping that your memories of her and the knowledge that other people miss her may bring you some solace.

• “Our grandmother shared our tales with us, passed down family customs, and kept us close in love. We are really fortunate to be from her and experience her love from above.

• “I have the sweetest memories of seeing Aunt Edie when I was a child. She would take me to Becker’s for ice cream cones starting when I was around 10 years old, and she would let me drive! I don’t think I’ve ever told you this. Just Aunt Edie… She had such a wonderful personality, and I will miss it so terribly.

• Nobody could tell a good joke like your mother could. Do you recall the tale about the vacuuming incident from your graduation party? My face ached from laughing so hard the next day. I’ll always treasure the pleasant times I had with her.

• Your mother never stopped helping others. She is loved and cherished by many people who have benefited from her kindness.

• What a wonderful person and what an extraordinary life you have. I’m quite happy to have met her.

Writing advice: If you need to describe the deceased in more detail than “excellent,” use it. Take one of the following qualities into consideration: good-natured, gifted, admired, unforgettably memorable, fun-loving, hilarious, wonderful, well-loved, lovely, sweet, generous, one-of-a-million, honorable, respected, caring, hardworking, strong, energetic, and joyful.

Offer to Assist

Feel free to make an offer to assist the receiver if you are able to do so, whether it is with plans, meals, chores around the house or yard, childcare, or something else. Just remember to follow up and finish what you start.

Examples

• “I understand that I cannot take away your suffering, but I want you to know that I am here to lend you a shoulder, an ear, or anything else you require.”

• “Lovefully thinking about your family and trying to assist however I can. I’ll give you a call to find out the best time to deliver you dinner.

• “You currently have a lot on your mind and heart. We hope that knowing that Kevin and I will be taking care of the yard for however long you need will ease your concerns.

• “I understand that you’re all going through a really trying and challenging moment. We are thinking about you and praying for you. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you, from collecting up your dry washing to walking Max.

• It’s crucial to get enough sleep. Anytime you need a few hours to yourself, I’ll watch the kids for you.

• “I know I can’t make the pain you’re feeling go away, but I’m here for anything you need,” the speaker said.

Writing tip: In general, it’s best to be as clear as possible when offering assistance. No assignment is too minor, either.

A Follow-Up

In the weeks and months following the loss of a loved one, you might wish to continue sending supportive notes to a grieving person you know. These cards can be sent in remembrance of a loved one’s birthday, wedding anniversary, holidays, or any other time the bereaved individual might require additional support.

Examples

• “It’s been a while, but I’m aware that the cards and casseroles don’t make the hurt go away. I’m still available to you.

• Just wanted to let you know that we are thinking of your mom on her birthday and sending you a lot of positive vibes.

• “Christmas without DeMarcus won’t be the same, but I hope it helps to know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers, especially around the holidays,” the speaker said.

• It’s hard to realize that Noah has been gone for a year. I had to let you know that I was thinking of you on this special anniversary.

• “This Kwanzaa season, we are honoring a new ancestor. As you light the kinara, I’m thinking about you, your mother, and your family.

• “I just want you to know that I’m thinking about you and your family,” he said.

Writing advice: Depending on the tone you’re looking for, you might choose to go with an encouragement or thinking-of-you card, a blank card with a lovely or humorous photo on the cover, or another type of card entirely.

Unexpected or Sudden Death

Losing someone we love is never simple. But frequently, a loss that no one anticipated can result in difficult grieving. Due to the deceased’s youth, apparent health, accident, or other terrible circumstances, this may have occurred. In any event, these losses necessitate more consolation, comprehension, and continued assistance.

Examples

I’m at a loss for words in the wake of such a devastating loss, words fail. I just want you to know that I’m thinking about you and that I sympathize with your distress.

Words Fail: “I’m not sure what to say in the face of such a difficult loss. Just want you to know that I care about you, and I share in your sadness.”

Acknowledging Unexpectedness: “When we learned of Mike’s passing, we were shocked and devastated. He was such a nice person. He will be greatly missed by all of us as well.

I’m Sorry: “I’m so sorry your family is going through this kind of pain due to a loss. To everyone of you, my heartfelt sympathies

This Is Particularly Tough: “We never would have been prepared to bid farewell to someone as unique as Christina, but the timing is particularly difficult. I hope the coming days and weeks bring your family peace and courage. We will all be in our prayers.

Wishes/Prayers: “I’m sending you warm thoughts and prayers as you work through this trying time. I wish you hope and healing when you’re ready.”

I’m Here to Help: “Overcoming the blow of this loss will take some time. I just want you to know that we will be there for you throughout.

Support on an ongoing basis: “Hey, I know it’s been a few months since you lost Ernesto. I just wanted to let you know that I wasn’t blind. I’m still considering you. And I’m here to support you in any way you need.

• When you lack the right words, say something like, “I hope you know what to say in the face of this unforeseen loss… But I do want people to understand that I do think about it a lot.

Pro Tips: Keep your message brief if everything you try to write feels awkward or off. Even if you just sign a card “With greatest condolences” and your name, the act of sending one shows that you care.

When a Suicidal Death Occurs

Losing a loved one to suicide is heartbreaking, and the isolation that can follow because other people are unsure of how to react or offer support also hurts. The first step is to make an effort to connect. Offer your sincere sympathies without judging or asking any questions.

Examples

Close Buddy Loss: Trey was a devoted and trustworthy friend. I was greatly impacted by him, and I shall truly miss him. I’m thinking of you and your family constantly.

Loss of a Family Member of a Close Friend: “Friend, words cannot express how sad this is. Wish you didn’t have to experience this suffering. Call me day or night, and I’ll check in with you throughout the ensuing days and weeks.

Accidental (like as an overdose): “I’m very sorry this happened. I know how hard your sibling was battling and how much your family has been through.”

Military/PTSD: “Your family has bravely and honorably served this nation. There is so much to be proud of in you. I sincerely hope that can ease some of your suffering.

• It seems unfair that PTSD would take someone who has already given so much of themselves to others. This is not how it ought to be. Every stage of this trip should make you feel loved and supported, I hope.

Youngster: “I’m still in shock over Ramesh. What such a loving family as yours is going through right now is beyond my comprehension. When he was here, Ramesh truly shone. I admired him for that. He will always be cherished and remembered.

LGBTQ: “I appreciated that Kai was completely himself. Even though I miss them so much, their confidence will always serve as an inspiration to me. I’m here to talk about your past experiences and exchange anecdotes.

• It is currently quite difficult to understand.

• “I can’t imagine what they are feeling right now; it’s so difficult to understand. However, I hope that you and your family find peace and comfort in the wonderful memories of their love. I stand by them in their suffering.

Writing Advice: Recognize that the subject of suicide is extremely delicate and that the recipient may feel a variety of complex emotions. It’s crucial to encourage the person grieving and their manner of grieving rather than offering your ideas on suicide.

Language Note: It’s vital to steer clear of phrases like “committing suicide” while being empathetic toward those whose lives have been affected by suicide because they may cause feelings of shame and blame. Say “killed by suicide” or “died of suicide” instead.

When You Are Unable to Attend the Funeral

When someone passes away, it’s natural for people to want to show their support and offer their condolences in person. It might not be possible to do so for a number of reasons, including your personal situation or the family’s requirement to postpone or omit a memorial service. In some circumstances, you might want to add a few more words to your written message.

Examples

Wish I Could Have Been There: “I wish I could have been there to celebrate your dad’s life with you. He was a wonderful dude.

Looking Ahead to a Future Memorial: “I know Kara’s funeral won’t take place for a while. I simply didn’t want to let so much time pass without contacting you to express my sorrow over her demise. She was the sweetest thing ever. We’ll miss her terribly.

This Is Hard: “Losing someone who meant so much to all of us is difficult, and it’s much more difficult that we can’t all be there to say goodbye. We want you to know that, both now and in the days and weeks to come, we will be thinking about you.

I’m Available for You in Other Ways: “Even though I can’t attend Tom’s service, I just wanted to let you know that I’m here to drop over food, mow the lawn, or whatever else comes up.”

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Homegoing: “Even though we can’t be there to wrap our arms around you, there is a celebration in heaven and a celebration in our hearts.”

• “I wish you could be here with me to honor your papa’s memory. Was a great man.”

Pro Tip: In addition to sending a sympathy card, you might also decide to make a honorable gesture when you are unable to attend the funeral in person to pay your respects to the departed.

Loss of Parent

Being a parent’s death is never simple. No matter how old we are, how tight or convoluted our relationships are, it still affects us strongly. And it necessitates some particular words of consolation. (Note: Although these message samples alternately refer to the mother and the father, either one could be used.)

Examples

Compliment: Your father was such a fantastic man, I must say. I had the fortune to meet him.

She’ll Always Be With You: Always Be With You. You’ll always remember how it felt to laugh with her and be loved by her, according to the song She’ll I’m hoping that in time, such recollections may bring solace.

He Lives on in You: The words “Your Dad Lives on in You” mean that “the lessons he taught you, the love he offered, and the way he cared for people—all those positive things live on in you.”

You Were a Comfort: “You were a joy to your mother all of your life, and you provided her with a great deal of solace in these last few months. Although it’s painful to lose her, I hope you may be proud of how you supported her.

Miss Him Too: “I just wanted to say how much your father meant to me and how much I miss him, too,” your mother said.

Loved Her Too: “Your mother was such a wonderful companion. I also adored her.

When You Didn’t Know Him: “I didn’t get the opportunity to meet your father, but I know he must have been a terrific man to have created a wonderful son like you.”

This Is Hard: “Leaving your mother is so difficult. Right now, you have my heart.
In our community, he served as a pillar: “Your dad was father, brother, uncle, and wise elder to many. He was a very good dude.

Share a Memory: “Your dad was the best at making people feel special. No one could compare. I’ll never forget how I felt huge even though I was the tiniest player on the pee-wee baseball team he coached.

I’ll always be with you: “Your mother’s unending love will always abide in your heart, and her memory will endure forever in our memories. We felt it a lot.

Pro Tip: A helpful hint is to not make your message more about you and your experience if you have personally lost a parent. Don’t presume you know exactly how the person you’re writing to feels; instead, keep the emphasis on sending the person you’re writing to consolation and support.

Loss of Spouse or Partner 

Someone who’s just lost their spouse or partner is both grieving and also facing a huge adjustment to their day-to-day living and sense of identity. Whether they’ve been sharing life for six years or sixty years, it’s a shock to lose that feeling of togetherness in everything. You might choose to acknowledge this in a direct or indirect way in what you write.

Example

Compliment the Relationship: “What the two of you shared was truly something special. You loved each other so well.”

Compliment the Deceased: “Stephanie was one of the funniest, most vibrant people I’ve ever met. I’m so grateful I got to know her.”

He’ll Always Be With You: “Someone who shared so much of life with you will forever be a part of you. Keeping you in my prayers as you remember your husband.”

Take Care of Yourself: “I know the days and months ahead will be a big adjustment, so please give yourself a lot of grace. Do whatever you need to take care of you—and know I’m here for you, too.”

I Believe in You: “I know it must feel like this pain will never end. But I believe in my heart that comfort will find you when you’re ready. I believe you’ve got the strength to come through. And in time, I hope you’ll believe it, too.”

Miss Her Too: “Linda was such a terrific colleague and friend. I miss her deeply.”

Loved Him Too: “I hope it helps a little to hear how much Matt was loved by others, too—me, for one.”

When You Don’t Know the Surviving Spouse/Partner: “Even though we haven’t had the chance to meet in person, I feel like I know you from the glowing way Jim talked about you. It was easy to see how much he loved you.”

This Is Hard: “Losing the one you love is so hard. And so I’m praying hard for you—for peace, for comfort, for whatever you need right now.”

Share a Memory: “I was just thinking about Anne’s unforgettable dinner parties—especially the one with the notorious lemon-bar incident. That was the best. And SHE was the best.”

Share What’s True: “He held you down and lifted you up in this world. I hope you can still feel him and his love around you.”

Admiración hacia la pareja: “El amor que compartieron fue realmente especial. Deseo de todo corazón que su recuerdo te traiga tranquilidad y consuelo.”

Writing Tip: For a surviving spouse who still has kids living it home, consider including them in your message. You could mention them in your greeting (“Dear Ellen and Family” or “Dear Finn, Katie, and Joe”), in the body of your message, or both. Another option would be to send a separate card to each of the kids.

Loss of Child

This one is quite challenging. Every parent longs to protect, nurture, and watch their child grow up, but tragically, it isn’t always how life turns out. Try to be calm while writing to someone who has lost a child and keep in mind that the act of reaching out will likely matter more than the words you write.

Examples

Compliment: It was said of Della that she was a sweet girl. She should have stayed with you and the rest of us for a much longer, in my opinion.

They’ll Always Be a Part of You: You’ll Always Miss Alex, but They’ll Always Be With You in the Memories You Keep, the Stories Your Family Tells, the Laughter You Share, and the Love You All Hold For Them. May the wonderful things eventually aid in the hurt’s healing.

I’m Sorry: “I’m so sorry that you must experience such heartbreak. We share your sadness and will continue to pray for your family in a loving manner.

Time Was Short/Love Was Big: Time Was Short/Love Was Big: “Even though Maddie was with us for far too little time, she brought so much happiness to everyone around her. And you poured so much love into hers.

His Life Mattered: “Even though we only had a brief chance to hold him, he drew us together and made us all smile. recognizing all the better days that came about as a result of his presence.

We Loved Her Too: “I hope knowing how much we loved Aya, too, brings some solace.”

Miss Him Too: I Miss Him Too: “I miss Henry just like you.”

This Is Heartbreaking: It just seems unfair that you should have to say goodbye to your child, and this is heartbreaking. You are not alone in feeling whatever it is you’re feeling. I’m simply one of many that wish to support you throughout the upcoming weeks and months in whatever way we can.

Share a Memory: “Jamal was the first to provide a helping hand to anyone in need. Jamal made a point of sitting with the new kid in our class at lunch this spring, as I was just recalling. He was a unique young man.

• “Tu hijo es una estrella en el cielo, y su luz iluminará sempre tu camino y tu corazón,” says the proverb.

Writing Advice: Most of these message suggestions can be modified for parents who have lost an adult son or daughter. Life’s heartbreaking sense that things shouldn’t be this way will still be present, as will the need for concern, encouragement, and prayers.

Miscarriage

Miscarriage is the kind of loss that you might only learn about if you’re a close friend or family member of the mother or the spouse. If that’s the case, you have a special chance to offer consolation and support to a world that doesn’t understand.

Examples

Your Loss Is Real: “The love you felt for your unborn child was real, and so is the sorrow you’re going through. I sincerely hope you can be kind to yourself and respect how you’re feeling right now.

I’m Sorry: you had to give up the hopes you already had for your baby, I’m very sorry.

This Is Tough: “I can’t even begin to imagine everything you must be going through right now, but I know it can’t be easy. I wish you hadn’t had to experience such a loss.

Wish for Healing: I’ll be thinking of you and Keisha and sending you my best wishes for quick recovery.

I’m Here to Help: “I was shocked to learn that you had a miscarriage. I just want you to know that I’m available for anything you need right now, whether it be to talk or to bring you a meal.

You’re Not to Blame: I just wanted to point out that there was nothing you could have done differently or ought to have done. These things occasionally just occur. I regret that you had to experience that.

Lo siento: “I feel very bad about losing your baby,” I say. I’m here for you. I’m available to talk to, to listen to, and to provide for your needs.

Writing Tip: Even if a mother already has children or plans to have more, losing a pregnancy is heartbreaking for her. To avoid saying anything like “At least you already have Emma” or “You can always try again,” avoid saying anything like that. Thoughts like these are admirable, but they run the risk of suggesting that the mother or the couple should simply move on and forget about it.

Loss of a Pet

For many of us, pets are actual family members. When we lose one, it may be incredibly comforting to know that others understand how much we treasured them and how difficult it was to say goodbye.

Examples

Compliment: Benny was such a good dog. I’m sorry you had to part ways with him.

You Loved Her Well: “Shadow knew how much you loved her from the first hello to the last goodbye.

Wish for Good Memories: She was a very fortunate cat to have you as her person.

She’ll Always Be Part of You: Wishing You Smiles During Tears as You Recall Happy Times With Your Loyal Companion and Friend

She’ll Always Be Part of You: Trixie may have left your lap, but she will always be a part of you, according to the song “She’ll Always Be Part of You.”

Miss Him Too: I was quite saddened to learn about Speck. I will certainly miss seeing him when I go for walks.

She Meant a Lot: “Our fur babies have such an essential position in our lives and our emotions, Considering you while you reflect on Gertie.

Share a Memory: “I’ll never forget walking into your kitchen and seeing Fluff poking out of a drawer with every single cupboard open. He was such an intelligent cat.

• “Lucas was a wonderful and loving dog. I find it quite strange that you had to bid him go.

Pro tip: If your receiver had to make the difficult decision to put their pet to sleep, you might want to congratulate them on it. Tell them you understand their decision, that you are relieved their friend is no longer in pain, that you understand it wasn’t easy, and that you share their loss.

Sympathy Closings

Your sympathy message might be gracefully concluded with a kind, considerate finish. Select one of these or come up with your own.

• With compassion,

• With real sympathy,

• With prayers and sympathy,

• With warm thoughts and prayers,

• With caring,

• With love at this difficult time,

• In sympathetic sympathy,

• With you in grief, sharing your sorrow,

• Thinking of you,

• With sympathetic thoughts are with you,

• God bless.

• God be with you and give you consolation.

• We will continue to pray for you,

• lift you up in prayer,

• and send you our best wishes for peace and healing.

• My heart breaks for you,

• Accept my sincere sympathies,

• As well as ours.

• Prayerfully,

• In the harshest sense,

The Wrong Things to Say in a Sympathy Card

Here are some phrases and ideas to stay away from when writing sympathy cards since they run the danger of either underestimating the receivers’ particular suffering or making it worse.

Examples

• I understand your feelings. Everybody’s grief is experienced and handled differently.

• She was really young. There is no need for a perhaps distressing reminder.

• What an awful loss. Try not to think on how tough or painful the loss was.

• You ought to Instead of counsel, extend consolation and assistance.

• You will Avoid making assumptions about how they will navigate their loss.

• “This occurred for a purpose.” Even with the best of intentions, this idea runs the risk of blaming the victim.

• “I know how you feel.” It is bad to presume to know how people feel. We everyone experienced the duel in a unique way.

Writing advice: Keep your message brief if you’re still concerned about expressing the wrong thing. Sending a card alone shows the recipient that you care.

Find out how to write your own condolence message using a straightforward formula, and get some practical examples and warnings from our top writers .

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