You may notice plaques on items purchased in loving memory of someone. For example, a group of people may buy a bench to be placed in a park and put a sympathy or memorial plaque on the back of the bench.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Parent or Grandparent
- What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Child or Infant
- What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Partner or Spouse
- What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Sibling or Sibling-in-Law
- What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Pet
Other times, a plaque acts as a memorial item on its own. For example, a plaque might hang in an office building to commemorate the life of a dedicated employee. You may also use a plaque displayed in a home as a sympathy gift.
What do you have engraved on sympathy plaques? Here are some ideas.
What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Parent or Grandparent
What you choose to have engraved on a sympathy plaque is determined by its use. Here are some engraving ideas for plaques placed near an item donated to honor someone. We will also include other phrases to use on a standalone plaque.
Get our free checklist for navigating loss 💙
Enter your email to get your free roadmap for the steps after loss in your inbox.
1. “In Loving Memory of Michael J. Smith, 1970-2020 Mayor of Smithville, Beloved Husband and Father.”
This sympathy plaque could be placed at the foot of a trail that was completed to honor a public servant. You may also decide to add an “in loving memory” poem to the plaque as well.
2. “Susan J. Smith 1955-2020. Susan’s compassion and humility was the cornerstone of our organization. She will be greatly missed.”
You might choose to name a conference room or rooftop garden in honor of a person who contributed a lot to an organization.
3. “Forever Loved. Forever Missed. You will be in our hearts forever.”
Perhaps you would like to create a sympathy gift for a family that undergoes a traumatic loss. Consider having a plaque made with a photo of the family member.
4. “In loving memory of our grandfather, George Smith, whose spirit lives on in our hearts. He will forever be missed.”
Some organizations do fundraisers that allow families to participate by honoring a deceased loved one with a plaque. Here is a sample of text that could be written for that situation.
5. “Planted in Memory of our Grandmother, a Master Gardener and Beloved Matriarch.”
Consider planting a tree or hardy bush to honor someone who loved digging in the dirt. Place a plaque near the site.
What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Child or Infant
Some families donate items to the community to keep their child’s memory alive. Here are some sympathy plaque messages that may help you as you write your own text.
6. “You were alive only for a moment but loved for a lifetime.”
Some families look for ways to honor a life cut too short. They may donate an item, such as a piece of play equipment, to a children’s facility. This donation may be accompanied with a sympathy or memorial plaque.
7. “If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.”
When a child dies, the entire family grieves. Consider purchasing a plaque with this inscription as a sympathy gift to grieving parents.
8. “When the most precious of children only stay on Earth for a moment, that moment changes us forever.”
Parents and grandparents forever grieve the loss of a child.
9. “On angel’s wings you were taken away, but in our hearts you will forever stay.”
This message may also be appropriate to place on the headstone marking a child’s grave.
Download your free end-of-life plan.
Enter your email below to get your free checklist in your inbox.
10. “In memory of our infant son, Matthew, and all other children who were taken too soon.”
Parents who lose a child may consider doing something positive for the community as you remember the life of your son or daughter.
What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Partner or Spouse
How do you say goodbye to someone you shared a life with for decades? Here are some sympathy plaque messages for a person who is missing a spouse.
11. “Though absent, you are ever near — but still missed and loved and always dear.”
A poem is a lovely sentiment for someone who recently lost a spouse.
12. “If tears could bring a stairway and memories a lane, I’d walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.”
This is part of a longer poem that is often printed on funeral programs and sympathy items.
13. “Those we love can never be more than a thought away. For as long as there’s a memory, they live in our hearts forever.”
This text may give peace to those who mourn.
14. “Till death do us part wasn’t long enough.”
This saying would pair perfectly with a wedding or anniversary photo of a special couple.
15. “I will treasure our time together for the rest of my life.”
The sentiment on the plaque doesn’t have to be a poem or often-quoted verse. Instead, the text could be written from the heart.
What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Sibling or Sibling-in-Law
How do you honor the life of a brother or sister? Here are some wording ideas for a sympathy plaque.
16. “In memory of our brother, Frank, who gave his life in defense of his beloved country.”
Here is one way to honor someone lost while serving their country.
17. “To our sister, Sheila, who is now dancing at the ultimate country music concert in heaven.”
When you think of your sister, what brought her the most joy? Share this on a sympathy plaque.
Get weekly reminders to live life fully.
We'll send inspirational quotes directly to your inbox.
18. “I’ll miss you until we meet again, dear brother.”
If you have hope of the afterlife, death is less bitter.
19. “Dedicated to the memory of our brother, Steve. May he rest in peace.”
Place this plaque near a memorial item you purchased to honor a deceased sibling.
20. “Remembering you is easy. I do it every day. Missing you is a heartache that never goes away.”
This sympathy plaque may bring up bittersweet feelings as you reflect on the life of your sibling. You may want to include a plaque in a memory corner that you set up for your sibling. Other items may consist of a photograph, a candle, and a figurine that reminds you of your brother or sister.
What to Write on a Sympathy Plaque for the Loss of a Pet
Some families purchase a sympathy plaque to honor a deceased pet. You may include this plaque in a display that could include a collar, tags, and a favorite toy.
Here’s what to engrave on a plaque to say goodbye to your pet.
21. “No longer by my side, but forever in my heart.”
Do you feel lost without your pet by your side? Share your feelings with others by displaying a customized plaque in your home.
22. “You left your paw prints forever on our hearts.”
Before you cremate or bury your pet, you may consider taking a print of the animal’s paw. You can have other remembrance items made using the print.
23. “No matter how bad my day was, you always made me smile.”
Pets have an uncanny ability to know when we need extra affection.
24. “You’ve left my life but will never leave my heart.”
This is another great way to express the fact that you will always remember a beloved pet.
25. “In memory of Rex, who crossed the rainbow bridge on July 13, 2020.”
Many pet owners like using the imagery of the rainbow bridge to describe the death of an animal.
Other Ways to Say Goodbye
Plaques can make nice sympathy gifts, but there are other options that you might consider as well.
A simple photo frame that includes a picture would also make a lovely gift. A person may prefer to have a photo of their loved one in their home instead of a plaque that doesn’t have a picture. You could also create a scrapbook or calendar with images you borrow off of social media.
Some people give windchimes or pieces of jewelry as sympathy gifts. It’s easy to find these memorial items from online stores.
Finally, you may also consider purchasing a really practical sympathy gift. While commemorative items are lovely, the family may also appreciate receiving food to serve as groups of people gather together to say goodbye.