For many, the worst days of their lives occur when someone they love dies. What do you say to a friend who has undergone this traumatic experience? You may feel at a loss for words.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Does 'My Deepest Condolences' Mean?
- It Is OK to Say 'My Deepest Condolences?'
- How to Send ‘Deepest Condolences’ to a Recipient and Their Family
- How to Say ‘My Deepest Condolences’ in a Professional Email or Card
- How to Text or DM Someone ‘My Deepest Condolences’
- ‘Deepest Condolences’ Messages for Flowers or a Bouquet
- 'My Deepest Condolences to You and Your Family' Messages
- 'My Deepest Condolences' Messages for a Boss, Client, or Coworker
- 'My Deepest Condolences' Quotes to Share
- Where Can You Share a Condolence Message?
Many people turn to formal language and offer a condolence message to the friend. This, of course, is entirely appropriate. In fact, we love that the word comes from the Latin word condolens, which means “to suffer with another.” What you are really saying to your friend when you offer condolences is that “we are suffering together.” Isn’t that nice?
As perfect as the word “condolences” is, you may be trying to find an alternative to the word. We don’t blame you as the word does sound particularly formal, and it may be used too often.
Here are some alternatives to the phrase “deepest condolences.”
What Does 'My Deepest Condolences' Mean?
The word "condolence" means "sympathy with another in sorrow." Additionally, it is defined as "an expression of sympathy." The dictionary reminds us that it is usually used in the plural form and is often followed by a possessive word such as "my" or "our."
Although other words are named synonyms for condolence (pity, compassion, commiseration, sympathy), condolence is labeled a "formal expression of grief to one who has suffered a loss."
Most of the time, the word "condolence" is used when someone dies, but it can also refer to other situations perceived as unfortunate. ("The family received condolences when their child was born with a life-threatening disease.")
It can sometimes be used as a modifier, as in "the queen will pay a condolence call to the family of the victims."
Some use the phrase "my condolences" in an attempt at humor. For example, "I called to offer condolences for the Chiefs' loss last night."
Even though the word is sometimes used in other situations, when someone says they are offering "their deepest condolences," they are most likely giving a formal, heartfelt expression of sympathy to someone mourning the death of a loved one.
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It Is OK to Say 'My Deepest Condolences?'
Yes, it is OK to say "my deepest condolences." However, the longer and more formal phrase may be, "Please accept my deepest condolences."
The word "condolence" has been in use since the early 1600s as a noun meaning "sympathetic grief; sorrowing with and for others." The word soon after came to be used as an outward expression of sympathy. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was used in 1683 in the following manner: "A complement of condolence to your friend upon the death of his wife."
The current use of the plural form of the word began in the early 1700s. An example of this (according to the OED) can be found in Clarendon's Hist. Rebellion: "Foreign Princes addressed their condolences to him." The OED labels this phrasing as a "formal declaration or expression of sympathy."
In summary, yes, it is acceptable to express your deepest condolences to someone who recently lost a loved one. Know that it is one of the most formal ways you can express your sympathies to someone.
How to Send ‘Deepest Condolences’ to a Recipient and Their Family
It’s not clear why we always use the plural of the word “condolence” to express sorrow to one person. For example, many people say to one person, “please accept my condolences.” But somewhere in the development of the word, the plural form stuck for the singular usage too.
If you send the message to a group of people, it seems appropriate to use the plural-sounding word, “condolences.” But here are some alternatives to the phrase “deepest condolences” that you may want to send to a group of people.
1. “Thinking of you all.”
You may want to contract the last two words if you’re from the south. Either way you say it, it’s grammatically correct.
2. “My heart goes out to your entire family.”
Whether or not you know the entire family is irrelevant. You can still express sympathy to everyone associated with the deceased. You may even feel like adding a descriptive word in front of the word “family,” such as “magnificent,” “close-knit,” or “beautiful.”
3. “My thoughts and prayers are with you all.”
This phrase is used quite a bit, but it is still an excellent way to support a group of people who are hurting. Some people even shorten the phrase to “thoughts and prayers.”
4. “Words seem inadequate during times like this, but I want you all to know how sorry I am for your loss.
Sometimes simply adding the word “all” can suffice when spreading sympathy to an entire group of people. Also, if you don’t know what to say, admit it. It’s refreshing when people are honest when expressing sorrow for a loss.
5. “‘When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.’ —Kahlil Gibran”
There are plenty of quotes about grief available online. Consider sending a quote such as this to a family who is grieving.
6. “May you find comfort in all the special memories you shared with your dad.”
Families often gather together after someone dies to share memories of the individual. In fact, if you have a specific happy memory of the deceased, make sure you share it with the family. They will appreciate that more than any generic words of sympathy.
How to Say ‘My Deepest Condolences’ in a Professional Email or Card
You may find yourself in the position of having to send condolence emails or cards to someone at work. You may also have the unhappy task of offering sympathies to the family of a co-worker who died.
Here are some phrases you may consider using instead of “my deepest condolences.”
7. “Please accept our sympathies on the passing of your mother.”
If you are writing on behalf of the entire office or company, feel free to use “our.” You could have everyone in the office sign the message, or simply sign the card or email from the entire staff, such as “Your Friends At Smith Roofing.”
8. “I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Please know that we are all thinking about you during this difficult time.”
The last part of this message speaks for the entire staff. You may use messages such as this if you aren’t sure who passed.
9. “I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathy over the loss of your husband, Bob. I am truly sorry for your loss.”
If everyone in the office plans to send their own condolence message, you may only choose to speak for yourself. Try to use the name of the deceased in a condolence message. It makes it more personal.
10. “I was deeply saddened to hear about Ben’s passing.”
If you want to speak in a less formal language, consider using the word “sad” instead of “condolence.” Those words are easier to spell, too, if you’re writing the sentiments in a card.
11. “We wanted to reach out and offer our sympathies on the loss of Mike. Our office won’t be the same without him. We will miss hearing his hearty greetings and booming laugh.”
People like hearing their loved ones described positively. Consider sharing a word or two about the deceased’s personality traits.
12. “We are sorry to hear that you experienced a death in the family.”
You may not know the details behind a death. This doesn’t excuse you from not offering sympathy. It is important to show someone you care, whether you knew the deceased or not. And make sure you offer condolences regardless of the cause of death. On a side note, there is rarely a need to mention the reason the person died.
How to Text or DM Someone ‘My Deepest Condolences’
You may feel odd offering online condolences to someone, especially if you are of a “certain age.” But offering messages of sympathy is now acceptable, whether you post the message on a Facebook wall or send one through direct messaging. It is also acceptable to text someone when they suffer the loss of a family member.
Here are some short messages to send to someone who recently lost a family member. Of course, if the friend is close, consider doing something else. Provide a meal for the family, send a card or flowers, and go to the funeral.
13. “I love you, friend!”
You don’t have to express long, formal messages of sympathy to a good friend. Your friend just needs to feel loved.
14. “I’m so sorry to hear about Sam. He will truly be missed!”
You may not want to text questions to your friend immediately following the death of a family member. Sending statements such as this will not pressure your friend to take the time to respond. Be patient, as your friend may need time to respond to your message.
15. “My heart breaks for you! Please know that I am thinking of you and will be here when you need me.”
If you are feeling especially saddened by a loss, don’t hide your feelings.
16. “Your mom was an incredible woman. It was an honor to have known her.”
Even if you don’t have a specific memory to share, it is nice to mention some general features about the person who died.
17. “I am profoundly saddened by the loss of your brother. He was very special to me and will be missed by many.”
Don’t forget to offer sympathy to family members and friends, regardless of the familial relationship. It hurts to lose a mother-in-law, sister, and uncle.
18. “May God give you comfort during this difficult time.”
If you and your friend share the same religious beliefs, share a message that extols your faith.
19. “Is it ok if I bring a meal to you tomorrow night? How many will be eating at your house?”
It’s traditional to offer meals to families who are in mourning. Don’t forget to ask if there are any dietary restrictions or allergies.
20. “I know you are hurting right now, but remember to take care of yourself. Eat well, get as much sleep as you are able, and know that I am here to help you with whatever you need.”
Do you think your friend needs a reminder to eat and bathe? Some people experiencing grief need care immediately after the death of a loved one.
‘Deepest Condolences’ Messages for Flowers or a Bouquet
Are you trying to figure out what to write on the card that will be sent with a floral display or plant that you purchased for a funeral? Here are some examples that range from formal expressions of sympathy to personal tributes to the deceased.
Remember that your message of condolence might be on display for all to see if you send the flowers or plants to the service location. It’s also important to realize that these messages are often written on small cards the size of a business card, so you don’t have room to write a long message to the family.
21. “Please accept our deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. From your friends at Smith, Smith, and Harry.”
If you are sending flowers on behalf of a business, you might consider using formal language to express your sorrow.
22. “From Your Friends at the Cafe”
Many florists have pre-printed cards that offer a message of sympathy. If that is the case, you might be able to simply state who sent the gift.
23. “These yellow daisies reminded me of your sister. She was always so bright and cheerful. She will certainly be missed.”
A card that you send with flowers doesn’t need to be full of formal, archaic expressions. Instead, speak (or write) from the heart.
24. “We are praying for you during this difficult time. From the Robinson Family”
Peace lilies are popular choices when sending a plant to a family who suffered a loss.
25. “With Deepest Sympathy From the Robinson Family”
This is another rather formal expression to use when sending a floral display or plant to a funeral.
26. “These yellow roses made me think of your mom. Love to you and the rest of the family! Susan.”
Here’s an informal message to send with a gift.
27. “Gone but not forgotten.”
The family of the deceased wants to know that others are mourning the loss of their loved one.
28. “In sadness we say goodbye.”
For some reason, it’s common to express sympathy with phrases a person would never say in real life. So this is a perfectly reasonable way to offer condolences – even if the phrasing feels a bit odd.
29. “We are here for you. From Your Elm Street Neighbors”
Are you sending a message on behalf of a large group? Here’s an excellent way to offer support to a neighbor who suffered a loss.
30. “We are sorry that we can’t be there to celebrate the life of your mother. Please know that you are in our hearts.”
Sometimes people send flowers or a plant to the funeral if they know that they can’t attend in person.
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'My Deepest Condolences to You and Your Family' Messages
Perhaps you are trying to find a less formal way to offer sympathies to a friend and their family. Here are some messages that offer compassion to an entire group.
31. "Please know that I am thinking of your entire magnificent family. My heart goes out to you all."
This heartfelt message sounds much less formal than using the word "condolences."
32. "Your mom was the best! I always loved visiting your house as a kid because I knew that your mom would invite me to dinner, and she was a great cook."
People love to hear specific positive stories about the deceased. This is the beginning of a message that you might consider writing on a card or as a Facebook message. Then, follow it up with an expression of sympathy.
33. "I hope the memories of your dad give you some solace as you mourn his loss."
This expression is pretty formal. After all, you probably don't use the word "solace" every day.
34. "Wishing you all peace and love following the loss of your grandpa and dad."
Instead of "thoughts and prayers," you might consider offering "peace and love."
35. "Every time I saw your mom, she spent the first 20 minutes of the conversation showing me pictures of your family. She loved you all deeply and was very proud of you all."
Giving mourners insight into what their loved one was like outside of the family may give them joy.
36. "Please extend my deepest sympathies to your entire family. I know they all must be heartbroken by your loss."
Perhaps you are writing to one person in the family, but you would like them to express your love to the rest of the family. Here's one way to do it.
37. "I wish I could be there to give you all hugs right now. I can't imagine what you are going through. I love you all!"
Here's another informal message to send to an extended group of people.
38. "I consider myself lucky to have been able to spend some time with Sara on our trip to San Diego with the dance team. She was so much fun and had an amazing positive energy. I am so sorry that the world has lost this magnificent woman."
Here's an example of what to write if you don't know the familial situation of the deceased.
'My Deepest Condolences' Messages for a Boss, Client, or Coworker
If you are speaking on behalf of a company or a group of coworkers, you might consider using formal language to express sympathy. For example, the word "condolences" would be a great choice in this situation.
Here are some other formal expressions of sympathy that you might share with a boss, client, or coworker.
39. "The entire staff of Williams, Waggle, and Smith would like to offer sincere sympathies on the loss of your mother. We are deeply sorry for your loss."
Perhaps include a message such as this with a plant or floral arrangement.
40. "We were so sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter. Thinking of you and your entire family during this heartbreaking time."
There's no need to mention work responsibilities when offering your first expressions of deepest condolences. Discussions about work can be saved for another day.
41. "Our words cannot take away the pain of loss, but we hope you find solace knowing there are people who care about you."
Sometimes it's refreshing to admit that nothing can be said to improve things.
42. "We hope the happy memories you have of your grandmother will bring you comfort. Please accept our sincerest sympathies during this difficult time."
Memories often do bring comfort during times of loss. That's why making pre-arrangements for your end-of-life services is essential. It frees up your loved ones' time, so they can gather together to share memories instead of comparing prices at funeral homes.
43. "Losing a parent is heartbreaking. Wishing you peace during this difficult time."
Expressions like this are common. However, be careful not to compare your grief with someone else's or act like you understand someone else's relationship.
44. "Thinking of you."
Don't overlook these clear, succinct messages. Sometimes offering sympathy is less about what you say and more that you went to the trouble of sending a message.
45. "The loss of Samantha will be felt by many. We will continue to celebrate her contributions and memories for many years."
At some time, you may be tasked to send a message to a deceased coworker's family. Here's an example of this type of message.
46. "We are deeply sorry to hear about the passing of your wife. She was a beautiful soul, and we all loved when she stopped by the office. Please allow us to offer our deepest sympathies and know that your work family is beside you."
It doesn't matter if the death was expected or unexpected. Treat the loss the same regardless of the situation.
'My Deepest Condolences' Quotes to Share
Sometimes it's challenging to come up with the right words to share with someone who recently suffered a loss. If you don't know what to say, you might consider borrowing the words of authors, poets, songwriters, and other great thinkers who have shared their writing gifts with the world. But, of course, you should always attribute the quotes you share.
Here are some of our favorite quotes about grief and sympathy.
47. "He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it." – Turkish Proverb
This quote offers an excellent reminder that grief is meant to be shared.
48. "The road through grief is a rocky one. Traveling along it requires courage, patience, wisdom, and hope." – Candy Lightner
Candy Lightner was one of the founders of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
49. "Grief is still my advisor; sometimes it is a friend and reminds me of my humble place in the universe; opening life to the mysterious gifts of awe and gratitude. At other times it casts me down and turns my heart of stone." – Beth W. McLeod
We appreciate this quote because it reminds us that grief brings a wide variety of emotions.
50. "Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, // May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow." – Unknown
Yes, this quote sounds like it came from a greeting card. However, greeting card writers know a thing or two about writing messages that people want to hear.
51. "Grief is a journey, often perilous and without clear direction, that must be taken. The experience of grieving cannot be ordered or categorized, hurried or controlled, pushed aside or ignored indefinitely. It is inevitable as breathing, as change, as love. It may be postponed, but it will not be denied." – Molly Fumia
Perhaps you need to remind your friend about the nature of grief.
52. "Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is another one of our favorite quotes about grief. It reminds us that grief is a great equalizer. No one is relieved from having the experience.
53. "A cut finger is numb before it bleeds; it bleeds before it hurts, it hurts until it begins to heal; it forms a scab and itches until finally, the scab is gone and a small scar is left where once there was a wound. Grief is the deepest wound you ever had. Like a cut finger, it goes through stages, and leaves a scar." – Unknown
This quote reminds us that we will never be the same following a loss. Grief always leaves a scar.
Where Can You Share a Condolence Message?
How do you tell a friend, neighbor, extended family member, or coworker that you are sorry that their loved one died? Here are some examples of places to share a message of sympathy.
Online memorial page
Online memorial pages are gaining in popularity. Online memorial pages are designed to be shared with those who knew the deceased or their family members. For example, the family can use an online memorial page to make announcements regarding funeral services. In addition, users can post messages of sympathy or share memories of the deceased for all to see.
The benefit of using online memorial pages is that it doesn’t require users to have a social media account. It also may allow you to limit who has access to the content.
If your friend or extended family member provided you with a link to their loved one’s online memorial page, you could use this forum to share a condolence message.
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At the visitation
Where do you offer condolences to the family of the deceased? Consider going to the visitation or wake and offering your sympathies in person.
We know that attending funerals may make you uncomfortable. Please know that you are not alone in your discomfort. However, going to one or all of the funeral services when a person passes is a kind thing to do. It shows support to those who are suffering, and it also honors the life of the person who passed.
Most of the time, you are able to speak directly to the family during the visitation or wake. However, this might not be as easy during a formal funeral service.
Social media post
It has become acceptable to offer sympathies on social media. However, please be considerate with when and how you do it.
If you are a Facebook user, don’t post a sympathy message for all to see on a friend’s page until they announce the death. They may still be trying to contact close family members and friends to tell them about the death of their loved one. It’s inconsiderate to share this news when those closest to the situation have not been informed.
After your friend shares the news of the death, you may comment with your message of condolences. You might consider sending a private message to your friend through DM or text.
It’s not as common to send sympathy cards as it was in the past. However, sending a card is a kind act and should be considered if you need to offer your condolences to a friend.
What Words Have Brought You Comfort?
If you lost someone you loved, you probably remember a card, text, or message that you received that stuck out from the others. What sentiment brought you comfort when you were sad?
Perhaps the message was from someone you haven’t connected with for a long time.
Maybe you received a message from someone who only knew the deceased. Perhaps the message enabled you to learn about a part of your family member’s work life that you never knew before.
Chances are that the most memorable message you received was one that shared a specific memory of your loved one. Most people love hearing stories about their family members who died. Consider this when sending condolences to your loved ones.