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What to write in a Sympathy Card

Few occasions require as much sensitivity as when determining what to write in a sympathy card. Finding the right words to express your condolences may be difficult, but is so beneficial in comforting the bereaved.

With a sincere message, a sympathy card helps those mourning look fondly upon the life of the deceased, instead of merely focusing on their loss. It also lets them know how much others share their grief and support them in these tough times.

Below are a few ideas that will help you determine the right things to say.

Celebration of Life Messages for a Sympathy Card

Hearing praise about the life of the deceased goes a long way in comforting those experiencing loss. Let them know how much you admired the deceased, and what you appreciate and remember about the person. Your recollections will comfort and uplift the spirits of those in mourning.

  • "Sharon was an amazing person and an inspiration to all. It was a blessing to know her."
  • "Bob's life was one filled with spreading joy and happiness. He truly embodied what it meant to be a gentleman, and he will certainly be missed."
  • "Eve always lived her life to the fullest. Her adventures and stories will live on in our hearts for years to come."
  • "The number of lives touched by Phil is only surpassed by the amount of respect people had for him. He truly was a remarkable man."

Recall Memories of the Deceased in a Sympathy Card

Recalling fond moments spent with the deceased will help those who are in mourning cope with loss and overcome grief. Sharing memories of the deceased's life is actually encouraged and is considered a healthy part of the grieving process. Discuss a humorous or lighthearted time the two of you enjoyed, or a moment where they were there for you. If you didn't know the deceased well, consider a recollection where they had a profound impact on you (ex. a speech they made or an act of kindness they demonstrated toward someone else).

  • "Your Grandpa pulled me out of many jams throughout the years. If he had not had my back at work, I don't know where I'd be."
  • "No matter how bad things were, Bill always would say something that put a smile on my face. He never failed to lift my spirits."
  • "Your sister was the most creative woman I've known. Remember the time it rained and she made us those aluminum foil boats? To this day it remains one of my favorite memories."
  • "I remember one day in 6th grade when your father spoke to our Boy Scout troop. It was his words that convinced me to pursue my career. he truly was an inspirational man."

Include a Scripture or Religious Sympathy Message in Your Card

Including a Bible verse or religious message or quote can encourage the bereaved. If you know that the bereaved is a Christian or religious person, then an inspirational or spiritual encouragement will help them find meaning behind the loss and remind them the deceased is in a better place.

  • "Heaven has a special new member at its gates"
  • "I am praying God's peace and strength for you in these troubled times. Such a difficult loss can test our faith, but we know God always takes care of his children."
  • "I am here for you, and am praying for you in these difficult times."

Words of Sympathy for the Loss of a Mother or Father

Finding the right words to say when someone has lost a parent is never easy, but some words can help more than others to ease the passing. the greatest thing you can do is let the bereaved know you are there to share their grief and lend them support. A short message can go a long way in providing the support they need in these trying times.

  • "I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. She must have been an amazing woman to raise such an incredible child. You are in our thoughts and prayers."
  • "I can't imagine what you are feeling right now, but know that you have my deepest sympathies and that I am here for you whenever you need."
  • "Your father was one of the kindest men I have ever known, and he will truly be missed. Please accept my most heartfelt sympathies."
  • Your mother's happiness and enthusiasm was contagious. She made such a lasting impression on my life."

What NOT to Say in a Sympathy Card

A few words of sympathy may have the potential to bring back painful memories or frustrate the bereaved. If you're unsure of what to say, select a heartfelt sympathy card and simply write a short message below the verse. As a general rule, you may want to avoid these type of phrases:

  • "They had so much life left, I can't believe they died so young..." Focus more on the life of the deceased than the event of their passing.
  • "I understand how you feel/I know what you're thinking right now..." When someone has experienced great loss, they may not want others to try and relate, as kind and sincere as that may seem. Rather, express your support and availability during their time of grief.
  • "Things will get better/You will get over this..." Early on, the bereaved may not be able to think about better times down the road, and focusing on "getting over" the loss could be seen as insulting to the deceased's memory.

Remember, it is not so much the words you say, but the gesture of love and support you are providing. those grieving will appreciate your words and will take comfort in your encouragement and presence during their time of need.

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