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How to Write a Message in a Sympathy Card

I've enjoyed sharing original messages to write in cards for over eight years. Send me a thank-you card if you find my words helpful.

What to Write in a Sympathy Card

Figuring out how to write in a sympathy card can be difficult. Hopefully, you don't have a lot of practice because your family and friends haven't had many misfortunes.

Sympathy messages take much thought to word your expression of sympathy the right way for the right person. They don't have to take much time, however. You don't need to worry about what you write because this article will help you get started in the right direction by giving you the directions to write your own sympathy card messages with ease.

Follow the message writing steps below.

Use These Idea Generating Words

Use this list of words to brainstorm ideas. Since these are common words used in sympathy notes, it's easy to make a unique message from one or two.


















Put Your Words of Sympathy Together

1. You can choose a random combination of numbers, such as pray, condolences, saddened, and loss.

2. Then make phrases and sentences using those words. Here are some examples:

  • My condolences
  • I am sorry for your loss
  • You will be in my prayers
  • I was saddened to hear of your loss

Make Your Sympathy Message Personal

Get personal by mentioning something positive about the person who died. Try to stay positive if possible. The greiving's heart will be bandaged with a very thin band-aid, so it will be easy for you to cause them to feel the loss again if you are negative. Here are some examples using the words from the earlier examples:

  • My condolences. I will miss John's warmth and ability to ease tension in a room so naturally.
  • I am sorry for your loss. You will be in my prayers. John will be missed.
  • I was saddened to hear of your loss. John was a blessing from God. I am glad I got to know him.

Choose the Best Sympathy Card Message

Out of my examples, I like the last one the best:

  • I was saddened to hear of your loss. John was a blessing from God. I am glad I got to know him.

Develop this one even more:

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  • I was shocked and saddened by John's death. I know I will miss him, but I am glad that I was able to get to know him so well. He has been a blessing from God. I will be praying that God will bless you and give you strength at this time.

Read and Revise Your Condolence Message

Now that you have developed your message, it is time to check over it for a few problems. Make sure you don't do any of these common sympathy card message mistakes:

  1. Avoid cliches like, "It was his time to go" or "It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all." Avoid these like the plague, even if they have truth to them. You will seem insensitive, insincere, or uncreative at the least. Make your own message and make it sound like something you would want to hear if you just lost someone.
  2. Don't bring up personal business like, "John owes me $50.00, so you can give it to me when you get a chance. No rush." Do you want to be the ridiculously selfish person trying to profit somehow from someone's death? Then leave your personal business out.
  3. Do not write anything negative, unless you are expressing your own feelings. Don't put down the deceased in any way, obviously. You also don't want to use any negative message about the survivor's feelings or loss. For example, don't write: "I bet you are feeling awful. I don't know how you can even get up in the morning. You have it bad." This does not help at all. However, if you genuinely express your own feelings, then you will validate the same feelings the receiver may feel. For example: "I feel sad" is much better than, "You must feel sad."

Now you are finished. Write your message in the card and send it or hand it to the grieving person who can be touched by your genuine, well thought out, sympathy card message. And you didn't have to struggle writing it.


Barbara Taft on April 01, 2017:

Thank you for this wonderful help.

Tamara on April 10, 2012:

The Word of God says that every knee will bend and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord.. My heart aches for thoswe who don't believe because even they will confess Jesus as Lord. Nothing worse than to have to acknowledge and confess something you don't believe in. We can't lieve without Him so all I can say is Thank you God for sending your Son Jesus, Thank you Jesus for agreeing to go to the Cross for me and all of us and Thank you Holy Spirit for residing on the inside of me.

mathapelo on April 10, 2012:

nice words to keep the faith and have hope even during sad time

Bob on January 08, 2012:

Enough with the God stuff.

kristi on March 16, 2011:


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