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:
- 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’
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.”
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.
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.