A friend of mine recently bowed out of attending a bachelor party at the last minute because several of his friends died in a horrific snowboarding accident. Each person in the bachelor party text thread took turns sharing a condolence message.
I felt nervous. Because this was over a group thread, I felt like my condolence message would be on a stage, witnessed by 20 other people, and I had no idea what to write. What would my friend want to hear? How do I say something that isn’t cliché? One of the condolence messages on the thread was super advice-y and kind of cringe—how do I not do that?
If someone in your life just suffered a loss and you relate to any of those feelings, read on. This article will give you plenty of ideas on how to craft a condolence message that is personal, thoughtful, and not over the top.
What Are Condolence Messages?
Condolence messages are expressions of support and sympathy that you share with someone who has just experienced the loss of a loved one. You can send them through condolence cards, emails, text messages, phone calls, or handwritten notes.
In general, these messages are a way to empathize with the difficult emotions that your friend might be feeling, and they are a way to foster connection and show that you value your relationship with them. Condolence messages also show solidarity and can give your friend the feeling that they are not alone in their trying time.
Everyone has their own unique way of showing support, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to condolence messages.
What is the meaning of condolence?
The word condolence comes from the Latin condolere, which means “to suffer with.” This term comes from the Latin roots com, meaning “with, together,” and dolere, meaning “to grieve.”
At its core, condolences are a way to be with another person in their grief.
How condolence messages can help others
While the research is still developing, one study1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28857855/ suggests that when the intensive care unit staff sends condolence letters to the family of someone who died in the ICU, that the family cites feelings of support and a humanization of the medical team.
When someone loses a loved one, social support helps. Here are a few more specific ways that sending a condolence message can help:
- Comfort. It shows them that someone cares about them, which can comfort them in a time of grief
- Connection. It gives solidarity and helps them feel connected and not alone
- Endurance. Receiving empathy can make their pain more bearable
- Strength. Feeling the support of others can provide them with strength to make it through this period
- Self-compassion. Receiving love from friends can help the grieving person extend more love to themself and move through their grief in kind connection with themself.
Condolence Messages For Different Relationships
Your condolence message might differ depending on how close you are to the other person. Here are a few examples of different types of relationships.
Condolence messages to a family member who experienced a loss
- I am so sorry for your loss. I know how special [name] was to you, and it breaks my heart to see you having to go through this.
- I have so many fond memories of [name]. From the time I was little, they were always kind and welcoming, and I will never forget the warmth with which they embraced me.
- It’s not easy to accept that [name] is gone, but they will continue living in our hearts forever.
- I am here for you during this difficult time, no matter what you need. I want to honor [name] by being there for you in any way I can.
- No words can express the emptiness we feel without [name]. Even though their physical presence is gone, we’ll never forget their impact on our lives.
Condolence messages to a close friend who experienced a loss
- I am so sorry for your loss. Words cannot express how much my heart breaks for you in this difficult time. Please know I am here to listen if you need to talk or a shoulder to cry on.
- The love and memories of your loved one will never be forgotten, and they will remain forever in our hearts.
- Take comfort in the fact that even though your loved one has passed away, their spirit still lives on in the memories you have shared together and all the beautiful moments you experienced together.
- I am so sorry about [name]. All the times you spent with them were truly precious gifts that no one can ever take away from you.
- You are not alone during this time; I am here for you through thick and thin and will always be by your side, no matter what happens.
Condolence messages to a coworker who experienced a loss
- I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of your loved one. As your colleague, I know this is an especially difficult time for you, and I wish to offer my sincerest condolences.
- My heart goes out to you as you mourn the loss of your [deceased person]. Please accept my deepest sympathies and know that I am here for you in any way I can. If you need me to help lighten your load at work, please let me know.
- It has been a privilege to work alongside you and get to know your beloved [deceased person]. No words can express how sorry I am for your loss; please accept my heartfelt condolences during this painful time.
- The void left by your [deceased person] ‘s absence will be remembered forever by our team at work. May you find comfort in knowing that their memory will live on through how they impacted you and how you’ve impacted all of us on the team.
- My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family in this difficult time. I know how much your [name] meant to you, as they were always so kind and welcoming whenever we interacted. Their presence will not be forgotten by any of us who had the privilege of knowing them. Please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss.
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Condolence messages to an acquaintance who experienced a loss
- I was saddened to hear of the passing of [name], and I wanted to extend my heartfelt condolences to you during this difficult time.
- I’m so sorry to hear about [name]. It is never easy to lose someone we care about, but know that their memory will always live on in our hearts as we fondly remember all the special moments shared together.
- My thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve the loss of your loved one. May you find strength and comfort in knowing that [name] is now at peace.
- I just heard about [name]. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. But know that I’m sending you strength and hold [name] fondly in my heart and memories.
- Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss; I’m sending you my sincerest condolences during this difficult time, and remember that I am here if you want to reach out for anything.
Condolence Messages For Different Losses
Different deaths might also call for a different type of condolence message. Losing a grandparent and losing a child can both be tragic but might require a different type of message.
Condolence messages to someone who lost a pet
- I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved pet. You were the most loving pet owner they could have asked for. Please know that my thoughts are with you during this time of grief and sorrow.
- I know how tragic the loss of a pet can be. I wish I could take away your pain. Know that my thoughts are with you as you mourn the loss of your companion.
- This is an incredibly difficult time for you, and I want to extend my deepest condolences for the loss of your beloved pet. May they rest in peace and bring comfort to all those who held them close in their hearts.
- Words cannot express how deeply saddened I am to hear of the passing of your pet; please know that you are in my thoughts at this time and that there is no one who understands better than me how hard it can be to say goodbye to our four-legged friends.
- Your pet was such an important part of your life, and my heart aches knowing they have left us too soon, sending peace, love, and light in remembrance of all the precious moments you shared together over the years.
Condolence messages to someone who lost a coworker
- I was deeply saddened to hear of your coworker’s passing, and my heart aches for you and your team during this difficult time. They were such a valuable asset to the team, and their contribution will be remembered by all.
- My thoughts are with you during this heartbreaking time; they were always such an inspiration and kind presence in the office and will be sorely missed.
- May the fond memories of your [name] provide comfort in times of sorrow as we honor their life and legacy.
- I’m so sorry to hear about [name]. They were truly an inspiration in their commitment to their work and their sense of purpose.
- Please know that I am here for you during this time of grief, and I wish I could do more to ease the pain of such a tremendous loss.
Condolence messages to someone who lost a grandparent
- I’m so sorry for your loss. From what I knew of them, your grandmother was a strong and wonderful person, and I am sure you will always remember them with love and fondness. May your memories of them bring you peace and comfort during this difficult time.
- I feel sad hearing about the passing of your beloved grandfather. My heart goes out to you in your grief and sorrow; may their passing leave behind peace and fond memories that will help see you through this difficult time.
- Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved grandparent. I know how close you were with them, and it takes a special kind of strength to cope with such a significant loss, but remember the impact they had on you and others in their life will never fade.
- Words cannot express how sorry I am for the loss of your grandmother; sending loving thoughts and condolences to you during this sad time. May their memory live on in your heart forever, bringing solace to your soul despite the sadness that comes with such goodbyes.
- It is so hard to say goodbye to someone we love so dearly; please know that I am here for you as you grieve this difficult loss of your grandparent, sending my deepest sympathies as well as healing wishes during this trying period in life.
Condolence messages to someone who lost a parent
- I heard about your mom; I’m sending you my most heartfelt wishes. I know death can be really challenging, and I’m wishing you strength and warmth.
- I am deeply saddened by the news of your mother’s passing; may you find solace in remembering your beautiful times with them.
- Please know that I am here for you during this difficult time and that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you grieve the loss of your beloved father.
- No words can express how sorry I am for your loss; please accept my sincerest sympathy during this painful time. May their memory live on forever in your heart, bringing peace and comfort to your soul.
- Know that though we cannot bring back what is lost, we can all be here for each other in times of sorrow like these; I offer my sincere condolences on the passing of your parent, may their beautiful soul rest in eternal peace.
Condolence messages to someone who lost a sibling
- I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of your beloved sibling; my thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, and all those who loved them during this devastating time.
- Nothing can ever replace the void that losing a sibling can create in one’s heart—may you find comfort in knowing their memory will live on forever. My deepest condolences go out to you and your family.
- Please accept my most sincere sympathies for the passing of your beloved sibling; may memories of happier times together bring peace and solace to your broken heart during this difficult period.
- May the love and strength of those around you help to cushion the hurt as you grieve for your lost sibling; sending my heartfelt condolences to you and all those who have been touched by their life.
- I send my heartfelt condolences at this painful time, wishing that some measure of peace and comfort will come to fill the void left by your beloved sibling’s absence; sending love, hugs, support, and healing wishes to you during these difficult circumstances.
Condolence messages to someone who lost a friend
- It is with a heavy heart that I offer my sincerest condolences for your loss; may you find some solace in fond memories of the time spent with your beloved friend.
- No words can truly express the sorrow felt at the passing of your friend, and my deepest sympathies go out to you and all those who were close to them. May their memory bring you comfort in times of sadness.
- This must be an incredibly difficult time for you, and I am deeply sorry for your loss. Please know that my thoughts are with you during this period of grief; may happy memories of your friend give you strength and courage.
- I wish there were something I could do or say to ease your pain, but at times like these, all we can do is share our condolences and support one another during this sorrowful journey. Please accept my most heartfelt sympathy for the death of your dear friend.
- Your friend’s passing is a great loss to us all, and my thoughts are with you as you remember them; may the love shared between both of you provide some measure of peace during this challenging time.
Condolence messages to someone who lost a spouse/partner
- My deepest sympathies go out to you during this time of mourning for the loss of your beloved spouse. I wish there were words to take away some of the pain, but know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult period.
- Losing a partner is one of life’s greatest challenges; please know I am here for you in whatever capacity you need. May the memories of your beloved spouse bring you peace and comfort as you grieve in these coming days.
- It’s hard to find the right words when faced with such devastating loss; my sincerest condolences on the passing of your dear spouse – may they rest in peace and love forevermore.
- The pain of losing someone so close can feel unbearable but remember that even though they are no longer physically with us, their spirit lives on in our hearts and minds as we grieve their passing. Know that my support is with you and your family during this difficult time, sending warm thoughts and comfort while we honor their memory together.
- It is with a heavy heart that I reach out to offer my most sincere condolences for the loss of your beloved spouse – may those closest to them be surrounded by love and tenderness throughout this journey toward healing.
Condolence messages to someone who lost a child
- I am so saddened by your loss and extend my deepest sympathies to you and your family during this heartbreaking time. The pain of losing a child is immense, and I can only offer my most sincere condolences as you navigate these difficult emotions.
- I am sending you all my love and warmest wishes during this incredibly dark time. May all the fond memories of your precious child bring some measure of comfort to you and your family in this very painful moment.
- Words cannot express how sorry I am for you now; please know that my thoughts are with you every step of your grief journey, sending peace and strength to get through it all.
- My heart aches for yours as you go through this unimaginable experience; I’m here for anything you need, offering any support or help I can provide with the utmost respect and compassion.
- Standing alongside you during this profoundly tough time, wishing that each memory brings a small smile amidst the overwhelming sadness, sending prayers of healing and peace to you and your family in honor of your beautiful child.
Different Ways to Send Condolence Messages
There are different mediums for you to express your condolences.
Forms of communication that require more time and intention also tend to convey more care. For example, people tend to feel more touched receiving a sympathy note through a hand-written letter than over an email.
That said, pick whichever feels right to you and matches the relationship. For example, if you and your friend often connect over phone calls, then maybe it’s best to offer condolences over the phone.
- I’m so sorry for the loss you are going through, and I want to offer my sincere condolences. I hope that you find peace and comfort during this difficult time.
- Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, and I’m here to support you in any way that I can.
- Know that you are in my heart, and I’m sending you all my love during this time of grief.
- May the fond memories of your loved one bring comfort and peace to you as you grieve their loss.
- Wishing you healing and strength at this difficult time, and my deepest sympathies for your loss.
- I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, and sending you love during this difficult time. Please know I’m here for you if you need someone to talk to or a shoulder to lean on.
- My heart goes out to you in your time of sorrow and grief, and I hope you can find comfort in the fond memories of your loved one.
- May your pain be eased, and may peace surround you as you go through this tough journey. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
- I am deeply sorry for the loss of your loved one, and sending my deepest condolences during this trying time. May you have the strength to get through it all.
- Words cannot express how sorry I am for what you are going through right now – please accept my heartfelt sympathies for the loss of your beloved one.
- I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your loved one, and I want you to know that I’m here for you, no matter what you need.
- Gosh, I know there’s so much sorrow that comes with a loss like this, but please know that my thoughts are with you in this difficult time.
- Your loved one will always be remembered, and their memory will continue to live on in our hearts and minds.
- It’s heartbreaking to lose someone we love so much, but I am sending strength and courage your way as you grieve for your loved one.
- I want you to know that I’m sending so much love to you and your family during this painful time.
If someone makes a public post about a loss they are suffering, you could consider commenting on that post using inspiration from the following:
- I am so sorry for the loss of your loved one; please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this incredibly difficult time.
- Wishing strength and courage to you and your family as we all struggle to come to terms with the passing of your beloved.
- Sending your warmth and love. Loss is one of the hardest parts of life, and I hope that memories of your loved one may bring comfort in times of sadness.
- My heart is filled with sorrow at the news of your loss; please know that you have my love and support during this painful time.
- Although words cannot express our grief at this moment, please know that I stand by you in solidarity and send my sincerest sympathies and love.
Condolence Messages for Different Types of Death
You may want to alter your message based on the type of loss your friend is facing. Here are a few condolence possibilities, given these common causes of death2https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm.
- Suicide is so difficult to stomach. If nothing else, know that they are free of all the pain they are carrying. My thoughts remain with you during this trying period.
- I am so saddened to hear of your loss and send you my sincerest condolences as you grieve the passing of your beloved friend. Please know that we are here for you and are sending our love and support in this difficult time.
- Although no words can take away the pain of such a terrible tragedy, please know that I share in your grief and sorrow at this heartbreaking time. My thoughts are with you and your family.
- Unfortunately, life has a way of hurling unimaginable sadness when we least expect it, but please be reassured that I am here for you now and always to offer comfort and support through every stage of this journey.
- You are not alone in this sorrowful time – even though it may feel like it at times – and we want to remind you that there is still strength to be found in the embrace of family and friends who care about you deeply.
- I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of your friend. Although I may not be able to understand what you are going through, please know that I am here for you with love and support during this difficult time.
- Your friend was a unique individual and will be sorely missed. Please take comfort in knowing that even though they have passed, their spirit lives on in the memories shared together.
- This must have been an unimaginably painful experience for you, and I wish you peace as you journey through grief and healing.
- I send my heartfelt sympathies to you, knowing that addiction is a powerful illness that can rob us of those we care about most deeply; it is my sincerest hope that your friend has now found relief from their struggles at last.
- Though it doesn’t take away the pain or make up for the loss, I hope that knowing others are thinking of them during this difficult time brings some measure of solace during these trying days ahead.
- I understand that the death of your beloved friend has been difficult and heartbreaking for you. My heart goes out to you during this time of sorrow; please know that I am here for you if you need our support and understanding.
- Your cherished memories of your friend will live forever in your heart, and I offer my deepest condolences as you grieve their passing. May the pain of their absence be softened by the wonderful moments shared together over the years.
- Even when someone has lived such a full and beautiful life, death can still hurt like hell. I know that no words can truly express your grief. I hope that knowing others care deeply about you brings some comfort during this difficult time.
- I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how difficult death can be. I’m just thinking about the incredibly adventurous life they lived and the joy they brought to so many people throughout their years on Earth.
- Though saying goodbye is never easy, especially when someone has been such an important person in our lives, please know that they will never really leave us as long as we keep them alive in our memories and hearts.
- Death can feel unbearably unfair when it takes away someone so unexpectedly. I’m sending you all my love, and know that I am here for you in your hour of need.
- I’m so sorry about [name]. It was so sudden. I can’t imagine what you’re feeling but know my thoughts and heart are with you.
- I’m sending you all my love. May cherished memories bring comfort and solace to you and your family during this sad time.
- I want you to know that I am here for you during this difficult time, and my thoughts are with you. I know my words of condolence can’t heal the hurt, but just remember that there are people out there who care about you and want to feel connected with you.
- No amount of words can make up for the loss of someone so dear, but please let me offer you my most sincere words of condolence for this heartbreaking loss.
- My heart is heavy at the news of your friend’s passing, and I am so very sorry for your loss. Please accept my most sincere condolences, and know that I am here for you in this difficult time.
- I’m sending you love as you grieve the passing of your dear friend. I know this sucks, but if nothing else, they aren’t suffering from illness anymore.
- Words cannot express how heavy my heart feels for your loss. Please know I’m thinking about you and sending you strength.
- I’m so sorry about [name]. Maybe you can find comfort in knowing your friend is at peace and no longer suffering from the sickness that took them from us.
- I feel so sad hearing about [name]. I hope my love and support for you can bring you just an ounce of solace in the coming days.
- No words can express how sorry I am for your loss and the pain it has brought upon your family and friends. Cancer is so tough. Know that I’ve carved a place for you right in the middle of my heart.
- I’m sending you my sincerest condolences on losing your family member who fought bravely against cancer until their last breath. I feel inspired by how they lived their last days. I’m sending you so much love.
- I’m so sad to hear of your loss, and my heart goes out to you during this difficult time. May the memories of your loved one bring you peace and comfort in the days ahead.
- It’s so hard to accept the passing of a beloved, but may you find solace knowing that they are now free from suffering. My thoughts are with you at this painful time.
- My thoughts and prayers are with you and [name]. And I know so many others are holding you in their hearts too. Hopefully, this brings you peace in the days ahead.
Additional Ways To Honor Someone’s Death
Aside from writing a message, you could offer these as ideas to help your friend process and honor their loved one’s death.
- Plant a tree. You can plant a tree with the intention of commemorating the person who passed. This can create a powerful living tribute that will grow over time that family members or friends can visit.
- Donate to the deceased’s favorite charity or cause. This is a great way to allow the legacy of the deceased to live on. You can ask your friend about the deceased’s favorite charity, and with a donation, you can continue to spread forth their values and mission.
- Create a scrapbook. Creating a scrapbook, or any art project, in honor of the deceased can be a beautiful way to piece together memories, process grief, and respect their life. You can ask your friend if they’d like any support finding pictures or with any other tasks. If this route inspires you, here’s more thorough instructions.
- Create an online memorial page. Some folks opt to create an online memorial to tell the story of the deceased and share memories. If you feel called, you could offer to help your friend build an online page for their loved one. Here is a list of online memorial options.
- Create a memory jar. Get in touch with as many people as you can who knew the deceased, and ask them to contribute 1-3 memories or things they appreciated about the person. Then print all of the sentiments out and put them into a jar. You can gift this jar to your friend to help them remember how many lives their loved ones touched.
Additional Ways to Show Support
If you’d like to give more support than just encouraging words, you can ask your friend if you can help them in any of the following ways.
- Emotional support. Let your friend know you want to lend an ear and help them process their emotions.
- Logistical support. Grief can feel overwhelming, and it can be hard to stay afloat with all the responsibilities of life. Tell your friend you’d like to buy them groceries, help them clean, or babysit for them.
- Financial support. If you have the money to spare and feel comfortable offering, you can offer to help your friend pay for funeral expenses or even buy them food for a week. When someone is in pain, the last thing they need is financial stress.
- Sympathy gifts. Consider sending your friend flowers, chocolate, candles, or something that symbolizes your care.
You could also try an action from this list.
While it’s good to offer any support you feel capable of, it’s worth noting that in a survey of over 300 bereaved folks3https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0252324, the type of support they desired most after losing their loved one was emotional support.
Avoid These Condolence Messages
While the best advice for condolence messages is to speak from the heart and offer empathy, there are a few mistakes to watch out for. Writing certain phrases could come off as trite and might not convey the sympathy you are shooting for.
Watch out for these pitfalls in your message.
- Avoid platitudes such as “Everything happens for a reason,” “They are in a better place now,” or “Time heals all wounds.” When you write platitudes, it can make your message seem insincere or like something you’re checking off your to-do list.
- Avoid overly-religious sentiments, such as citing bible verses, claiming that “God has another angel,” or mentioning heaven, unless you are certain that the recipient shares your same beliefs. Otherwise, it might feel like you’re thrusting your worldview onto your friend.
- Refrain from short, shallow sympathy messages, such as “I’m sorry for your loss” or “My condolences,” without expressing genuine care and empathy for the person who has passed away and their loved ones. If you just send a short message, it might feel dismissive toward your friend’s pain.
- Steer clear of writing lengthy, philosophical condolence messages, which can seem impersonal and distanced from the situation at hand. The main goal should be to express your support in a few heartfelt words or phrases. If you get too theoretical and heady, it might cause your friend to feel disconnected from you.
- Don’t say, “I know exactly how you feel.” Grief is a personal journey. And if someone is going through intense pain, your statement might cause them to feel invalidated and misunderstood.
- Don’t say, “It was their time.” This type of phrase glosses over the pain felt by those who are mourning and suggests that it is not valid or should be quickly forgotten.
- Definitely don’t tell your friend to “Cheer up!” The grief process has its own pace. Your friend will likely feel shock, denial, anger, guilt, and depression. Telling them to cheer up does not hold space for the fullness of their emotional process.
- Avoid saying, “They wouldn’t want you to be sad.” While this may be true, saying this implies that grief-related emotions are wrong or unnecessary and ignores that person’s experience.
- Don’t claim, “This was meant to happen.” This suggests that the passing of the person was part of a larger plan could trivialize their death, appearing callous and even immoral to some people.
- Don’t give unwanted advice. Let them have their own process. You can offer support and empathy; if they want advice, let them ask. If you are too quick to tell them how to handle their situation, it can come off as preachy and condescending.
How to Offer a Condolence Message When You Have Conflict With the Person
It can be especially tricky to give a condolence message to someone with whom you have an unresolved conflict.
It might seem impossible to give a heartfelt condolence message if you are harboring resentment, hurt, frustration, or animosity.
If this is the situation you’re in, try these steps.
- Vent. Ask another friend to hold space for you while you fully vent about all the unresolved conflicts you have with this person. You may have been bottling a lot of these feelings up, so give yourself a chance to let it out.
- Connect with the deceased. Feel into your relationship with the person who just died. If you know them, see if you can find your connection to them and appreciation for them.
- Remember a time when you felt connected before the conflict emerged. Put yourself in the past when you and the other person had a clear and loving connection. See if you can remember what it was like to feel close to them and to view them favorably.
- Take responsibility. At this point, see if there are any areas in your conflict where you can own your part. Ways that you may not have acted your best or where you’ve viewed them unfairly.
- Intend forgiveness. Lastly, set the intention of forgiving your friend. Forgiveness can be a challenging practice, and it doesn’t always happen all at once. But if you can at least find the desire to forgive, then this can set the ball in motion.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, you can try to send a condolence message. You might benefit from a slightly longer message because there might be a lot of emotional subtext in your relationship. Take inspiration from one of the following.
- Dear Friend, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Even though we had our differences in the past, my heart goes out to you during this difficult time. Please know I am here for you if you need anything and that I will be thinking of you. May the love of family and friends help comfort you and bring peace in your life during this trying time. My deepest condolences go out to you and your loved ones.
- Dear Friend, I am so sorry to hear of your loss, and it saddens me beyond words that we had an unresolved conflict between us in the past. Even though we were not on the best terms, I want you to know that my thoughts are with you in this difficult time, and I’m here for you if you need anything. May your family and friends be a source of comfort and solace during this sorrowful period of grief—my deepest condolences to you and your loved ones.
- Dear Friend, My heart is heavy with sadness at the news of your loss, and the unresolved conflict between us weighs heavily on me too. Even though we had differences in the past, please know that I am extending my sympathies to you in this trying time and offering my support should you need it. May peace bring a sense of healing during this sad period of mourning, and may your loved ones find comfort in each other’s embrace. With deepest condolences, (Your Name).
- Dear Friend, While I am truly sorry for the loss, it also pains me further to know how our relationship was left unsettled due to our differences before this tragedy happened. Still, please know that I extend my sympathies to you during this tough period of mourning, even though our paths have parted ways in the past; may your family bring solace through their love during these days ahead and offer some comfort during such a dark hour in life. With sincere condolences, (Your Name).
- Dear Friend, Even though we had unresolved conflict prior to this momentous tragedy that has taken place; still please accept my heartfelt sympathies for both the sorrowful moment of mourning as well as any pain caused by our previous disagreements – whatever they may have been – now firmly buried beneath an avalanche of empathy at a time like this where love must take precedence over everything else. May these days ahead find peace.
How to Create Your Own Condolence Message
If you’d like to write your own condolence message from scratch, you can walk through each of these steps and add your own personal touch.
- Acknowledge the loss: Express sympathy and understanding. Let the bereaved person know that you are aware of and understand their loss.
- Offer support: Let them know you are available to listen and help in any way you can actually commit to.
- Share special memories: Share fond memories, stories, anecdotes, and other recollections about the deceased that may bring comfort to those grieving.
- End with an expression of love or hope: Write a comforting message of love and hope at the conclusion of your condolence note.
- Sign off personally: Personalize your note with a signoff that is distinctively yours, such as “With all my love,” “Thinking of you,” or “Your friend always,” etc.
The 7 Stages of Grief
As you’re writing your condolence messages, it can be helpful to know about the grieving process. Famous psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross popularized the 5 stages of grief. Though different psychologists since then have expanded the model to 7 stages of grief.
These stages don’t happen in order and tend to cycle back and forth.
When someone first hears about the death of a loved one, they might feel in shock and feel numb. They might be in such disbelief that they don’t feel like they are experiencing any emotional reaction. In this stage, they might feel unanchored and detached.
Denial is a coping mechanism that prevents all the grief from pouring through all at once. One might insist that they are “fine” and push away any feelings coming up.
Anger is a natural part of the process and can help the grieving person anchor themselves. The anger may come up at anyone or anything. It could be anger at the person who died, anger at God, anger at life, or anger at someone who missed the funeral. The anger stems from the pain, and most people must feel it through.
When one is bargaining, they want to erase the situation. They’ll do anything to go back in time and have their loved ones back. Can things just go back to how they were if they devote themselves to a life of service? In this stage, there’s an unwillingness to accept what has happened.
When someone experiences loss, they can easily ruminate over what they could have done differently and how they could have prevented the loss. Guilt is a painful feeling that can eat someone from the inside out.
When one experiences depression after a death, it is not a sign of mental illness; it is part of the natural grieving process. They can become engulfed with sadness and wonder if there’s a point in going forward alone. This kind of depression isn’t something to fix or improve. It’s a natural part of the healing journey.
Once someone has given grief its natural course, they may begin to live again. They will still feel sad and may forever dislike the situation they’re in, but they’ll accept their new reality. They’ll start to have more frequent good days and begin to deepen and lean on new connections. While the death of their loved one will never leave them, they may know how to walk with it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Condolence Messages
The best condolence message offers empathy and support. It could be something as simple as “I am so sorry for your loss. Know that I am here for you and thinking of you. If you need anyone to talk to, please let me know.”
To write a short condolence message, focus on empathy and love. You might say: “My heart is breaking for your loss.” Or “I know you must be going through a lot of emotions right now. I’m sending you love.”
Some condolence phrases might be: “I’m here for you;” “I’m holding you in my thoughts;” “My heart goes out to you;” and “I feel grateful to have known your loved one.”
If someone has lost someone, the best thing is to speak from the heart and offer empathy and support, share memories of the deceased, and express love.
In a sympathy text, you could simply say: “Dear [friend], I felt so sad hearing about the passing of [name]. I know this must be a tough time for you, but know that I’m with you and sending you love. If you need anything at all, please let me know.”
A good closing for a sympathy card could be: “Thinking of you in this challenging time.”
Instead of “sorry for your loss,” you could say: “I will remember [name] fondly,” or “take all the time you need to grieve,” or “I’m sending you strength.” You could also just ask how they’re holding up.
You should send condolences as soon as you hear about a person’s loss. It’s good to recognize that grief can be a long process and can go a long way to offer continued care and support in the following weeks and months—especially before and after the memorial service.
Respond to condolence messages authentically. It can be nice to express gratitude for the message if you feel it. Or you can relay any other impact the message had on you. If you feel comfortable opening up or asking for support from this person, then do so.
As much as we may hate it, death is fundamental to life. If someone you know experienced a death close to them, it could be a thoughtful gesture to send them a condolence message.
You can borrow any of the messages from this list and mold it to your own style.
As you’re writing your message, keep in mind these principles:
- Grief takes time and goes through stages. Someone may experience shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and acceptance.
- When writing a message, acknowledge the loss with empathy, offer support if you can, share memories and appreciation for the deceased, express love, and personalize your signoff.
- When writing your condolence message, make sure you first consider the cause of death and the type of relationship they had with the deceased.
- Suppose you’d like to offer additional support. In that case, you can offer to plant a tree in the name of the deceased, donate to their favorite charity, help your friend create a scrapbook of the deceased, and help make an online memorial or create a memory jar for your friend.
- If all else fails and you really don’t know what to do, just ask your friend how they’re doing.
If you’d like to go deeper and learn more about the grieving process, you can check out this article.
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