What to Write in a Sympathy Card: 60+ Message Ideas

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Creating a heartfelt sympathy card is no easy task. You might worry about saying the wrong thing or struggle to find the right words. Even though it’s difficult, writing a thoughtful sympathy message is the right thing to do. 

Grief is often isolating, and receiving a compassionate sympathy card can make a person feel understood. 

Jump ahead to these sections: 

Having a hard time finding the right words? We’re here to help — here are 60 sympathy messages to help you find inspiration. 

For the Loss of a Mother

The loss of a mother can be one of the most painful events in a person’s life. No matter your age or the circumstances, losing a mother is never easy. 

It may seem like a sympathy message won’t be enough to make a difference — but a heartfelt message of compassion could be enough to bring light into the darkness, even if it’s just for a few moments.

Here are some sympathy message ideas that are perfect for the loss of a mother. They can work great alone, with beautiful flowers, or another sympathy gift for the loss of a mother. You can use them as-is or as inspiration for your own message. 

  1. There’s no love that compares to the love of a mother. But as you go through this difficult time, please know that you’re also deeply loved by those around you.

  2. Your mother was a perfect example of what it means to be a wonderful person. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  3. I know that navigating such a difficult loss can be easier with a friend by your side. Please remember that I’m here if you need me.

  4. I can’t begin to imagine what you’re feeling after the loss of your cherished mother, but I want to share my condolences. Please know that you’re always in my thoughts.

  5. I wish I’d had the privilege to know your mother better, but I know that she was a kind and courageous woman. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.

  6. I admired your mother’s character and heart more than anything. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. 

  7. I’ll always remember your mom’s welcoming smile, her warm hug, and her beautiful heart. I’m sincerely sorry for your loss, and I want you to know that you’re in my thoughts. 

  8. I want you to know that you and your family are in my thoughts, and I’ll continue to remember your mother’s beautiful life. 

  9. I will always remember your mother as a woman of great character. You and your family are in my thoughts. 

  10. I know that your mother loved you deeply and that you’ll miss her just as much. Please know that I’m here if you need me. 
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For the Loss of a Father

Losing a father can be devastating — a father is a guiding hand and a source of stability. A comforting sympathy note can help someone whose father has died feel supported and loved. You can even pair your message with a sympathy gift for the loss of a father to make it extra special.

When you’re drafting a sympathy message for someone who lost a father, think about the positive impact he had on those around him. 

  1. I had the privilege of knowing your father for only a short time. But I know that he had a calming presence and was extremely kind. Please accept my sincere sympathies and condolences.

  2. I know how close you were with your father and how much he loved you. Please know that I’m here for you during this difficult time.

  3. I was incredibly saddened at the news of your father’s passing. My heart aches for your loss.

  4. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. There will never be another man like your father. 

  5. I’ll always remember your dad’s warm smile and welcoming heart. He was a wonderful person, and I’m sincerely sorry for your loss.

  6. Your father thought the world of you and loved you more than anything. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m here for you if you need me. 

  7. Your dad was full of both wisdom and humor. His presence will be deeply missed. 

  8. Your father was one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I know I’ll never meet another man like him. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  9. A father’s hopes, dreams, and accomplishments live on his children. Your father was a great man who loved you very much, and I’m sincerely sorry for your loss.

  10. In moments like this, words fall short. Your father was an amazing man, and so many people feel his loss. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our full list of sympathy message ideas for someone who lost a father.

For the Loss of a Grandparent

It can be hard to know what to say if someone in your life is grieving the loss of a grandparent. 

These sympathy messages will help you draft condolences to give your friend, family member, or coworker a boost. 

  1. I know that you and your grandmother were very close. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. I’m so sorry about the death of your grandpa. You’re in my thoughts, and I’m here if you need anything.

  3. Grandparents are gifts that we don’t get to keep forever. I’m so sorry for the loss of your amazing grandfather.

  4. I hope to one day have your grandma’s wisdom and strength. Please know that you’re loved and in my thoughts. 

  5. I was deeply saddened to hear about the loss of your grandfather. Please accept my sincere condolences.

  6. A grandmother’s love and kindness lives on in the hearts of her children and grandchildren. I’m sorry for your loss, and I’m here if you need to talk. 

  7. I’m grieving the loss of your incredible grandfather. But I’m also celebrating the great life he led. He impacted everyone around him, and I’m so sorry for your loss. 

  8. I never had the pleasure of meeting your grandmother, but I’ve heard that she was a kind and loving woman. I’m here for you if you need anything.

  9. Some grandparents are more than grandparents — they’re mentors, role models, and best friends. Your grandfather was a wonderful man, and I’m sincerely sorry for your loss.

  10. I want to let you know that your grandmother inspired me in countless ways. She was an amazing person, and her spirit lives on in her family. 

For the Loss of a Son or Daughter

No parent expects to lose a son or daughter. You might be at a loss for how to express your condolences when such a tragic event occurs. 

A sincere sympathy message will help the family feel loved and cared for. The ideas below will help you create the best message for the person in your life.

  1. My heart is heavy with sympathy for your loss. I can’t imagine what you must be going through, but I want to express my condolences.

  2. I know your heart is aching, and I can’t imagine what you must be feeling. Please know that I’m here for you if you need anything.

  3. In the short time [name of child] spent on earth, he touched the hearts of so many. You are in my heart and thoughts. 

  4. I hope you can gain comfort from those who love and care about you. I’m so sorry about your loss.

  5. [Child’s name] will live forever in my heart and memories. She made the world a brighter place. 

  6. My heart broke when I heard of [name]’s passing. If there’s anything we can do to help, please reach out at any time. 

  7. Your son was an inspiration to everyone who knew him — myself included. His life was a gift to this world.

  8. Nothing I can say will help ease the pain, but I want you to know I’m here if you need anything. Your daughter was an incredible woman, and I’m better for having known her.

  9. The loss of your baby [boy/girl] is a pain none of us can fully understand. I’d like to do everything I can to share your burden in any way I can. 

  10. Your little [boy/girl] was beyond special. Our family is here for you in love and support and we offer our sincere condolences.
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For the Loss of an Aunt or Uncle

Parents, grandparents, and children aren’t the only losses that impact our lives. Someone you know might have lost an aunt or uncle and might undergo deep feelings of grief.

Whether you knew their aunt or uncle or not, you can write a sympathy message that will help ease that pain.

  1. Your aunt was one of the most caring and compassionate women I ever knew. I’m sincerely sorry for your loss.

  2. I never had the privilege of meeting your uncle, but I know that he was an incredible man. Please know that you’re loved and supported in your time of grief. 
  1. I feel lucky to have known your aunt. Her compassionate soul and lively personality were evident. Please accept my condolences for your loss. 
  1. An uncle can be a role model, a teacher, and a friend. Your uncle was all of these and more. His presence will be deeply missed. 
  1. I was deeply saddened to hear of [name]’s passing. Please extend my condolences to your family during this trying time.

  2. The loss of your beloved aunt must be incredibly difficult. Your family is in our hearts and thoughts.

  3. I didn’t know your uncle well, but I would love to hear about the great life he led. I’m here if you ever want to talk.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt [name]. I know how close the two of you were, and how difficult this must be for you. Please accept my sympathies and support. 
  1. I’m sorry for your loss, and I hope you can find comfort in those around you. Please reach out if you need anything. 

  2. Your uncle [name] was generous, wise, and a natural-born storyteller. We will deeply miss him and remember him always. 

For the Loss of a Husband, Wife, or Partner

After the loss of a husband, wife, or partner, anyone would need a lot of support. It may seem like there are no words that could help your friend or family member cope with their loss but writing a sympathy message is the right thing to do. 

It helps you express to your friend or family member that you have sincere condolences. It also lets the person in your life know that you’re there. 

Here are some creative sympathy messages to consider when you’re writing a sympathy message. 

  1. Your husband was an inspiration and a role-model to everyone he met. I can’t imagine how you must feel, but my own heart breaks for his loss. Please know you’re in my thoughts. 

  2. I know that you loved each other enough for a thousand lifetimes. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m here for you if you need me.

  3. No love can replace the love you shared with [name]. But I want you to know that you’re deeply loved and supported.

  4. I’m deeply honored to have known your wife. Her spirit brightened the lives of everyone she met, and I’m sincerely sorry for your loss.

  5. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your dear husband. He will be sorely missed.

  6. My heart goes out to you at the loss of your amazing wife. Please reach out if you need anything.

  7. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to know your husband and the love you shared. I’m so sorry for your loss. 

  8. There will never be another woman like your partner on this earth. Our family feels so grateful to have known her. 

  9. I can’t imagine the grief you must feel after losing your beloved wife. Please know that our family is here for you in your time of need. 

  10. [Name]’s spirit will live on in our memories. His soul was a gift to everyone who knew him. Please accept our condolences for your loss.

Tips for Writing Your Own Sympathy Messages

The sympathy messages included here are a great place to start, but you can also customize them. 

Many of the sympathy messages above include personality traits or qualities that you might want to change to describe the person who has died. A sympathy message recipient will almost always appreciate it if you share a specific trait or memory about their loved one. 

There are also some phrases and concepts that you might want to avoid in your sympathy message. Avoid expressions like: 

  • He/she is in a better place. Not everyone believes this is true. 

  • Everything happens for a reason. Again, your recipient might not agree, especially with a sudden or traumatic death.

  • I know how you’re feeling. Everyone experiences loss differently.

  • I don’t know what I would do if my own [partner/child/parent/grandparent/aunt or uncle] died. You want to boost the recipient’s spirits, rather than make them feel more isolated.

  • How are you? The answer to this question is, “Not well.”

  • It will get better soon. You can’t rush the grieving process, and it often takes longer than expected to feel any better.

You can include religion in your message or leave it out, depending on your own beliefs and whether the recipient is religious. Let’s say you’re unsure of their religion or know that they don’t practice any religion, it’s best to omit mention of God, heaven, prayer, and other religious ideologies. 

If words aren't your forte, consider pairing one of these messages with a sympathy gift basket, care package, or offer to help with a few meals or errands. Offering help to a person who’s grieving will go a long way, but make sure that you’re ready to back up that promise if you offer.

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