Condolence Messages: How To Write One To Help The Griefstruck Make It Through

condolence messages
Condolence messages put into words an expression of your heartfelt sympathy at a time of loss. You may deliver your message in person, by phone, by text messsage, or by email, on a flower card, or in a sympathy card. You should focus on happy memories, and avoid trite sayings that can cause pain at a sorrowful time.

Giving condolences to someone can be a difficult thing even if you have done it before. Finding the “right words” can be hard when words are insufficient. When someone you know is going through a difficult time, it’s natural to want to help them get through it. Reading this article on how to impart condolence messages may help you do exactly that.

Deliver condolence messages in person

How Can You Express Sympathy When A Loved One Has Died?

When it comes to expressing condolences, he/she might appreciate hearing from their close friends and family members, so it’s important to be there for them. When a loved one has died, speaking to the person who has experienced the loss and offering your sincere sympathy can be meaningful.

As someone goes through a challenging time, it can help them if you spend time with them and remind them of loving memories of the deceased or wonderful memories of fun times to get their mind off of the situation.

When words are exchanged. it can be difficult to express sympathy in the perfect words, so speaking from your heart is the best approach.

How Should You Convey The Message?

When it comes to conveying the message, doing so in person is ideal. Heartfelt condolences often will mean much more when given in person, even if it may be uncomfortable for some to speak like that. You can accompany your words with a hug, a tear, or a smile,

While phone calls can be a helpful way to deliver a condolence message, often speaking to the person face-to-face is meaningful. Offering a message like that via text message or some other form of communication is often not as effective when someone is going through a challenging time.

Sending a sympathy note with a few words of condolences can be timely Just keep your card messages short, and perhaps add a sympathy quote.

What people may appreciate as they grieve is someone else taking the time to sit down with them. Trying to think of the perfect right words isn’t necessary, as just being willing to offer your time to speak from your heart and listen to them express their grief is all people want most of the time.

There is one caveat, however. When someone is making funeral arrangements and dealing with the logistics of it all, they may be short on time for in-person meetings. They may not even be able to answer their phone. A text or email with a short condolence message or posting on social media may be the most effective way of showing them you care.

When you see them at the wake or funeral, you can convey your deepest condolences, offer support, and tell them you want to get together to reminisce. Grief is a long-term process so a visit in a couple of weeks may be just what they need.

At that time, you can bring them a sympathy gift, check in to see how they and the entire family is doing, and see what they need. You may find that they need some help with lawn care, babysitting, or something else you can help with.

Remember the happy memories

What Should You Stress In Messages of Sincerest Condolences?

Just telling people you are sorry or offering your deepest sympathy is touching, but it doesn’t alleviate the grief of their loss. When giving a condolence message, you should stress that you are available to listen and be receptive to what they actually need.

The major focus when offering condolences should be to benefit the other person. It is not about yourself, but it is honoring and acknowledging the deceased and then offering help to the family members who lost a loved one.

That is why speaking about how you got through a tough time or a sad time might not be helpful. Grief is personal, so telling someone whose husband died about how felt when you lost your spouse, sister, or pet poodle may not console them in their time of grief and loss.

Bringing up fond memories of their special person can help take a person’s mind off of their heartbreak by focusing on happy times. When you express condolences, direct your words to their situation and ask how you can help in their time of need.

The grieving person may need someone to listen to how they feeling, not ask questions or say a lot.

What Should You Avoid Saying?

There are certain things you should be avoided when giving a condolence message.

Speaking ill of the person who passed away is a major thing to avoid. Even if the person who passed was not the most wonderful man, bringing something like that up is never a good idea. Even if the grieving person didn’t see eye to eye with the person who passed, you shouldn’t bring it up.

Offering cliché phrases is often something to avoid as well. Phrases such as, “God needed another angel,” or “At least they are in a better place” often don’t help the surviving family members. (The bereaved may believe that – but they can’t hear it now!) Speaking in hackneyed phrases can be offensive rather than suportive.

Also, phrases like, “we’re thinking of you”, and “your family is in our thoughts” are better choices.

Another thing to avoid is religious sayings if the family is not religious.

If someone is a believer, offering them scripture verses, religious sayings, and prayers can mean a lot to them. Speaking about praying for them, or mentioning God and Heaven, can put their mind at ease and remind them of things that they believe in. It is important to be clear on their belief beforehand though, as they may not be religious and your words such as “may god bless your family” may not have the same effect.

You should know the person you are speaking to well enough to know if they are or are not religious. If not, it may be appropriate just to keep things simple. Offering simple sympathy messages or sincere condolences is the best way to approach things in times of sorrow.

Expressing condolences

Steps For Writing A Condolence Message

  1. It is always a good idea to begin by telling the person that you are sorry for their loss.
  2. It is then appropriate to share your condolence with them.
  3. You can follow up with a favorite memory or a kind thought regarding the person who passed away.
  4. If the recipient is religious, it can be appropriate to share a prayer or scripture verse with them at this point.
  5. Ending the message with a reminder that you are there for them and available for anything they may need is appropriate.

Examples Of Condolence Messages

Hello, Jan. My apologies for your loss. I offer my condolences to you and your family. John was a great man and I will never forget all of the lessons and kind words he had for me as he coached my baseball team. Your family is in my prayers, please reach out if there is anything I can do to support you further.

Hi, Tom. I am so sorry to hear about the passing away of your mother. I offer my condolences. Your mother was such a kind woman, and I always admired her diligence and kindness towards us and the other neighborhood kids when we would come over. If there is anything you or your family need, please reach out.

It was such a shock to hear that Robert passed, Saul. May he rest in peace. He was such a busy guy who always had time to help a friend or coworker. Let’s get together soon to share some great memories.”


Carol Farrish is a lifelong writer on diverse topics. Not quite ready to be a customer of the funeral industry for herself yet, she comes from a large family with over two dozen aunts and uncles who survived well into their 80s and 90s. She is a keen observer of the industry after having attended and participated in many funeral and memorial services for family, church friends, and business associates. Not a traditional person herself, she understands the importance of ritual, especially when death strikes a loved one.

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