What do you say to someone who unexpectedly lost the love of his life? How do you comment on someone’s Facebook post after she announced the death of a loved one? What do you write in a sympathy card that’s being passed around the office?
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Funeral Messages for Flowers, Bouquets, and Wreaths
- Funeral Card Messages for Family
- Funeral Card Messages for Friends or Acquaintances
- Funeral Messages to Share on an Online Memorial or Social Media
- Religious Funeral Messages
- Longer Funeral Messages for Cards or Letters
We’d like to help you with this task. Here are some sample funeral messages you can include with flowers, write on cards, or post on social media accounts. We will teach you how to write more heartfelt messages other than the ubiquitous “thoughts and prayers.”
Funeral Messages for Flowers, Bouquets, and Wreaths
Before you send flowers or a plant to a funeral, stop and consider whether this is an appropriate gift. If all of the family members have to travel in for the funeral, they may struggle to find a way to take home a huge peace lily that you had delivered for the service.
Also, some families may request that friends and family donate to a specific charity instead of purchasing flowers, bouquets, or wreaths.
If sending a plant or flowers isn’t the best decision, you may consider sending virtual flowers. Otherwise, here are some messages to include with the flowers or plants that you send.
1. I was so sad to hear about your mother’s passing. Sheila was a wonderful friend. Love to you and the rest of the family.
If you aren’t sure that the family will know who you are, you may want to put a clue in the text of your message. You could say, “I enjoyed working with Harry for the last three years.” Or “I have many wonderful childhood memories of Sally.”
2. These peonies reminded me of your mom. Hers were always the prettiest on the block. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
Using the phrase “thoughts and prayers” may be appropriate but they have more meaning if they’re included with a specific memory about the deceased.
3. Aunt Gloria will forever be in our hearts.
If you order a bouquet online, you will probably have a character limit on what you can write on the card. Sharing a short message may be necessary.
4. Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to you and the rest of your siblings. We are so sorry for your loss.
Mentioning other family members is a nice touch, even if you are sending a plant or a bouquet to a specific person.
5. Wishing you peace and comfort in the days ahead.
One of the reasons you may choose to send flowers or a plant to someone in grief is because their beauty has a calming effect. You may choose to mention your wish for peace in the note for the funeral flowers.
6. I wish I could be there today to show you support. Thinking of you, my friend!
You may consider sending flowers or a plant if you are unable to attend the funeral services for a friends’ family member.
7. I’ll miss you always.
Sometimes people purchase a plant or a bouquet for the family of the deceased. Other times, people buy a wreath to be displayed at the funeral. If you address the floral delivery to the person who died, you might consider writing the card as if you were writing it to that person.
8. These beautiful lilies reminded me of your lovely daughter. May she rest in peace.
Don’t shy away from writing specifically about the flowers or plants that you purchased. This shows that you took great care in making your selection rather than picking an arrangement at random.
9. Your sister was known for her beautiful irises. While these can’t compare to hers, we hope that they give you some comfort during this difficult time.
The best sympathy messages are those that share specific memories of the deceased.
10. “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson won’t mind if you borrow his words for your sympathy card just as long as you give him some credit.
11. Thinking of you and your family in your time of grief.
Even though this message refers to a “time of grief,” your friend, co-worker, or family member may need your support for days, months, or years following the death of a loved one. Grief may change, but it may never end.
12. Someone so special can never be forgotten. We will never forget your mom’s laughter, hugs, and bread pudding. Thinking of you, dear cousins!
What will you always remember about the deceased? Share your thoughts on the card you write to the family.
13. “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” Emily Dickinson
If you don’t know what to write, consider using a famous quote about grief. Don’t forget to sign your name!
Funeral Card Messages for Family
The samples in this section would be appropriate to send to a member of your family who has suffered a loss or to an entire family. Even though sympathy card messages are usually brief, you may want to write about specific memories you had with the person before he or she died.
Of course, if you didn’t know the person who died, what you write in the sympathy card will be much more generic.
14. I know that your life will never be the same without your mom, but please know that I am only a phone call or text away. Reach out to me when you are sad or lonely. I’ll be there for you.
A card gives you ample opportunity to share a heartfelt message to the receiver. Follow up this message with a visit or a call after a week or two.
15. Aunt Stella was my favorite aunt. She always put her family first and had such a giving spirit. Christmas won’t be the same without her sugar cookies.
Include as many details as you can in your sympathy message. When a person loses someone, he craves to hear stories about what made that person special.
16. My heart is heavy by the loss of your brother. He was always so much fun to be around and I have many happy memories of climbing trees and riding motorcycles with him.
If you knew the deceased, write about how you feel about the death. The family members want to know that their loved one made an impact on many people’s lives.
17. You were blessed with a wonderful mother. May the happy memories you shared give you solace during this difficult time.
Remind the person in mourning that he or she was lucky to have such a good relationship with the one who died.
18. Even though you are brokenhearted, I’m sure the heavens are rejoicing to have gained such a wonderful and faithful servant. Your dad was a kind and generous man.
If the deceased believed in a higher power, consider writing about it on the card.
19. Our hearts go out to you and your family.
This is a rather generic message, but sometimes being concise is necessary if you are signing a card with a group of people.
20. Your parents were wonderful people who raised a fantastic family. Take comfort in each other as you learn to navigate life without your mom and dad.
Don’t shy away from mentioning another family member who has passed when writing a sympathy card.
21. I know you miss Mom, but please know that I’m here for you. I’ll never take her place, but you can depend on me for anything.
We sometimes forget to share messages of sympathy with those closest to us. Consider writing a message to your spouse, sibling, or children right after you experience a common loss.
22. We’ll get through this together.
Even though grief is not something that you “get through,” the days and weeks following a death are particularly busy and emotional. Assure your loved one that you’ll face these obstacles together.
23. I’m here for you and your family. Please don’t hesitate to ask for anything.
Consider sending a follow-up text suggesting ways you could help the family. You could provide food for the funeral repast, pick up family members from the airport, or mow the grass.
24. I am so sorry for your loss and the pain it brings. You have our deepest sympathy.
People feel pain and grief even if the loss was expected and anticipated. Avoid phrases that imply the person feels relief following the death of a loved one.
25. “It is not the length of life, but the depth of life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Consider using this quote as a sympathy message for someone who is gone too soon.
26. I know you have a lot of wonderful memories of your Dad. I hope they give you some comfort.
Your sympathy card message doesn’t have to sound like a card you would purchase. Write from the heart and in your own words.
Funeral Card Messages for Friends or Acquaintances
It’s good funeral etiquette to purchase a card for the deceased’s family. For help with writing a funeral card message, keep reading.
27. I wish I had known your father. He sounds as if he was a remarkable man. Hugs to you, my friend. I am thinking of you.
Sometimes you learn amazing things about your friend’s families by simply reading an obituary.
28. I worked with your sister for 13 years, and I wanted to let you know what an honor it was to call her my friend. She was the friendliest person I ever met and everyone in the office loved her.
Even if the family member is merely an acquaintance, send a sympathy card anyway.
29. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.
If you didn’t know the deceased or the family member well, you might want to take a generic approach when writing a message.
30. There will never be another person like your father. He will be sincerely missed at bingo.
Of course, you should only write positive descriptions about the deceased when writing in a card. Use the first part of this message as an example if you struggle to know what to say.
31. My heart broke when I heard about your child’s death. Please know that I am thinking of you and the rest of your sweet family.
Sending a message to someone who lost a child is particularly heart-wrenching and it’s important to tread carefully.
32. I understand how devastating it is to lose a baby. Please call me when you are ready to talk.
While you shouldn’t compare your grief with the grief of another person, it can be okay if you’ve gone through the same experience.
33. Thank you for sharing the obituary of your mother on Facebook. I didn’t know she was an Olympic swimmer! She sounds like she was an extraordinary lady.
Not to sound like a broken record, but you don’t have to write in flowery, formal language when you send a sympathy card.
34. I felt compelled to send you this card even though I don’t know you well. I just wanted to let you know that I am sorry for the loss of your child. You are in my prayers.
Do you feel like you don’t know a person well enough to send a sympathy card? It’s OK to extend messages of condolences to acquaintances, friends of friends, or extended family members.
35. My heart goes out to you. While I know you are hurting right now, know that you were a fantastic caregiver and daughter to your mom.
Caregivers, especially those who do it full-time, deserve special recognition. It’s hard watching a person you love deteriorate.
36. I was so sad to hear about your sister’s passing. Thinking of you, my friend.
Even short, simple messages can be heart-felt. You don’t have to write an entire paragraph at the bottom of a sympathy card.
37. It was a joy to know Bob. He made all the neighborhood gatherings events to remember. We will all miss our favorite Maple Street resident.
Are you lucky enough to live among friends? Share messages of condolences with your neighbors.
38. We have been through good times and bad times over the last thirty years. Please know that you can depend on me to be there for you as you learn to live without your parents. I love you and am thinking of you continuously.
Long-time friendships are extremely special. Remind your friend that you will be with them till the end.
Funeral Messages to Share on an Online Memorial or Social Media
Writing a message on an online memorial book or a social media page takes special skill and tact. Not only will the message be present forever, but hundreds of other people may see it.
Here are some examples of sympathy messages to write online.
39. Your mom had such a beautiful spirit. I’m so sorry for your loss.
You can learn a lot about a person by looking at photographs. Even if you didn’t know the deceased, you might feel comfortable commenting on her personality after looking through some family pictures.
40. I always loved talking with your dad at high school football games. He loved our community, and going to games won’t be the same without Mike sitting in his spot in the bleachers.
Consider your words carefully when writing a tribute that will be seen by hundreds of people.
41. I know that your sister is hearing this phrase right now: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I know that you will miss her, but we can rejoice knowing that she is dancing and singing with the angels right now.
If the person who died was a person of faith, feel free to remark on this.
42. I read this the other day and thought of you: “Words will not wipe away your tears and hugs may not ease the pain, but hold onto your memories because forever they will remain.”
Consider sharing your favorite sympathy quote or poem with your friend in mourning. If the quote helped you, it would probably help your friend.
43. Wishing you peace during this difficult time.
This is a nice alternative to “thoughts and prayers.”
44. There are no words.
Sometimes a loss is too overwhelming for comment. This may be especially true if multiple people died at once or a young person died.
45. We could always depend on your mom to lead a committee or plan an event. She was a wonderful, thoughtful, giving person.
Saying something nice about the deceased is always appropriate.
46. I was so sorry to see the news of your husband’s passing. He was always such a kind man.
Remember that when you write a message of sympathy on social media, hundreds or thousands of others can read it. Be careful not to disclose information that hasn’t already been released.
47. Keeping you close in mind and heart.
Here’s an alternative to “thoughts and prayers.”
48. I have so many fond memories of Aunt Sally. I loved it when she played kickball with us kids, and her strawberry shortcake was always the best. She will be missed.
Even if you are sharing a message on social media, you can still speak about specific memories of the deceased.
49. Your dad left an amazing legacy. I’m sorry for your loss.
A person’s “legacy” can refer to a close family, a stellar reputation, or a lifetime of service. As you plan the service for your family member, consider what legacy they left behind.
50. I’m glad you could be with your sister during her last month. I hope you had many opportunities to share memories as you said goodbye.
Sometimes talking about the details of a person’s passing is not appropriate. Be mindful of this before you post something on Facebook for all to see.
51. I am so sorry for your loss, and I know that there’s little I can write to comfort you. But remember, “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” Your brother will always be a part of you.
This quote is by Morrie Schwartz, the subject of the book called Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.
Religious Funeral Messages
If you are a person of faith, you may consider sending a religious funeral message to a person who recently suffered a loss. Sometimes people only send such messages if they know that the recipient shares the same beliefs. Others send religious messages regardless of the opinions of the recipient.
Here are some religious funeral messages to write in cards, online guestbooks, or Facebook walls.
52. Remember that God is with you during this difficult time.
Sometimes a simple reminder such as this can give a person a great deal of comfort.
53. Keeping you in my prayers during this time of grief. Give your worries to the Lord and know that He is with you always.
This heartfelt message will surely bring peace.
54. “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
You may recognize this verse as being from the Book of Numbers. Even though this verse isn’t about death or grief, it is entirely appropriate for the situation.
55. Take comfort knowing that the Good Shepherd will comfort and lead you as you walk through this dark valley. May his goodness and mercy surround you.
This message is appropriate for both Christians and Jews. The shepherd imagery is found throughout the Bible, but in particular, the 23rd Psalm.
56. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” May Christ comfort you following your loss.
This verse is from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
57. I hope you sense God’s presence as you say goodbye to your Mom. He is undoubtedly there with you.
While many of these comments focus on the comfort of the family, you may also wish to discuss the afterlife of the deceased.
58. Your dad is surely rejoicing in Heaven with his creator at this very moment. We hope that gives you some comfort as you miss him on Earth.
Some Christians do not believe that the person’s soul goes immediately to Heaven, so this may not be an appropriate comment in some circumstances.
59. “We have more occasion for joy than sadness. The reason is that we believe in the living God. Because Christ lives, we shall also live.” Martin Luther
The founder of the movement that led to the Lutheran Church explained the joy that can follow death in this way. Consider sharing this quote with your friend who is grieving.
60. “And then from death awaken me, that these mine eyes with joy may see, O Son of God, thy glorious face, my Savior and my fount of grace.”
Do you have a favorite line from a hymn, spiritual, or song of praise? This line is from the hymn “Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart.”
61. “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25
Of course, sharing a Bible verse with a fellow Christian is always appropriate.
62. My prayer group has added you to our list. Please know that we are thinking of you and praying for you daily.
Prayer warriors often share their prayer requests with others of like mind. Those who are believers will feel comforted knowing that they are being lifted up in prayer.
63. Baruch Dayan Emet
This Hebrew phrase translates to “blessed is the judge of truth.” This phrase may follow news that someone has died, and it may be abbreviated BDE.
64. Inna-lillahi-wa'inna-ilayhi rajiun
In the Islamic tradition, this phrase is used when someone dies. It translates to “indeed to God we belong and indeed to Him is our return.”
Longer Funeral Messages for Cards or Letters
While many people are quick to write short sympathy messages on Facebook, a few may care enough to purchase, sign, and mail a card. A few others may write longer messages of sympathy, either by writing in a card or composing a letter.
Here are some longer sympathy messages to give you an idea of what to write. Of course, you should personalize your message, so it fits with your situation.
65. My heart broke when I heard about the death of your brother. He was an amazing man and one of the best friends I ever had. I’m not sure he ever told you, but he helped me financially when I was out of work during my cancer treatments. He also dropped off meals, mowed my grass, and spent time with me when I was ill. While others would say, “Let me know what I can do to help,” Jon would just show up and help.
One of the best things you can do for a family who has suffered a loss is to share kind, funny, or lighthearted stories about the deceased. Most people want to hear how that person had an impact on other people’s lives.
66. Whenever I hear the song “You Are My Sunshine,” I think of your Mom. We walked in on her one time when she was singing this song while cleaning the kitchen. I remember thinking how funny it was that your mom sang when she cleaned, but the more I got to know her, I realized that she had joy in her heart. You are lucky to have had such a fantastic person as a mother.
Even the tiniest memory can mean so much to a person who has suffered a loss. You might remark on a smile, a short conversation, or how that person made you feel.
67. “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” My dear friend, I know that there’s nothing I can write that will make you feel better about your loss. My only hope is that the memories you had of your sister will comfort you as you continue life without her.
Consider adding a quote, verse, or song lyric to your message to describe how you feel.
68. I wanted to let you know that a donation has been made in your father’s name for one hundred trees to be planted in the Holy Land. I know how much your father’s faith meant to him, and I hope that you think this is a fitting tribute to a great man.
Discussions of donations or gifts may best be sent through private messages or letters. In some instances, you might want to explain why you thought the gift or donation was fitting.
69. While we will all miss Sam, I hope you take comfort in knowing that he has been reunited with Jessica, your parents, and your grandparents. They are probably eating pierogies together again in Heaven.
Trying to put a positive spin on death can be tricky and may not always be welcomed or comforting. It may be easier if you know the beliefs of the recipient.
70. I know you may want some time to grieve in private, but I will call you in two weeks to see if you are up to going out for dinner. In the meantime, please reach out to me for anything. I’m willing to talk anytime, day or night.
If you are close to the person who is grieving, consider offering your support. Your friend may or may not reach out to you on their own. Of course, if you write this message, make sure you follow up with a text.
Write the Right Funeral Message
Before you sign the card or press “send” or “post,” reread your message to make sure it says what you intended for it to say. Some people, in their haste, may accidentally write the wrong sentiment, and you don’t want to be the one who posted “Congratulations!” when “Thoughts and Prayers” would have been the appropriate message.
If you’re sending the message and you’re not closely involved with the situation, you may also want to check on the relationship the recipient had with the deceased. You don’t want to offer sympathies for the loss of a mother when it was the father who died.
More than anything else, consider how you would feel receiving these words from a friend. Send heartfelt messages full of sincerity and love.