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One day is often like another, until we learn that someone we know or the relative of someone we know has died. Suddenly our day takes on a new dimension and the routine we were following is interrupted. This is often the way the death of someone outside of our family greets us: it stops us in our tracks and we redirect our energies for a while to support that family. And yet in wanting to help and to send words of sympathy and condolence, we don’t know what to say. We are in shock from the news and you want the family to know you are thinking of them, but just don’t know what is the ‘right’ thing to say.
Why we feel challenged to find the ‘right’ words is probably to do with the fact that death is treated with so much sadness and fear in our society and it is rarely a topic which comes up for discussion in general conversation. So when someone dies we are left bewildered because we don’t truly know how the other person is feeling – we only know how we are feeling. And this is the starting point for your sympathy message.
Writing your own sympathy message
The best sympathy message is one which you write yourself because it comes from your heart. Here are some tips on how to write a condolence card or letter, follow these steps:
1. take a few minutes to think about how you are feeling and write down what is happening for you right now.
2. write down what the loss of this person means to you, what you loved about that person and how they brought light into your life.
3. if you wish, think about what you can offer the family by way of support at this time. It could be helping practically eg offering to cook a meal or do the shopping, or it could be offering prayers, thoughts and love – whatever you would be happy to do.
4. now write up this sympathy message into a letter or card which you can send, beginning with expressing your sadness for their loss.
What you say doesn’t need to be long. Whatever you say is enough. When people are in a stage of grief and grieving, they are close to their own emotions and this open space within them will heighten their sensitivity to what is said. This is why it is best to write a sympathy message of your own, something that is real and comes from your heart. You may find this challenging to do – and this written support can be one of the most loving gestures you can do for someone.
Ten sympathy messages ready for you to use
Here are some sympathy words which are ready for you to use in your personal sympathy message either as they are or as inspiration for what you would like to say. Expressing sadness and grief is something which comes from the heart, so use the sympathy message which works best for you.
- My heart goes out to you as you grieve the loss of insert name. I can’t imagine the sadness you are feeling and send you much love and light.
- I’m so sorry to hear of your sad loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.
- Insert name has been borne away on a carriage of light. They are free of this physical world and are still with you in spirit. Know that their love for you continues and that your loving friends are here to support you now.
- I’m so sorry to hear that beloved insert namehas passed away. I remember him/her with much love and treasure the memories I have.
- I am sad to hear that insert namehas died. Whilst I can’t imagine what you are going through right now, I want you to know that insert namemeant so very much to me – they were a true inspiration in my life and I too shall miss them.
- Thank you for letting me know that insert namehas died. I hope that you will find comfort in knowing that their physical suffering has ended, and that he/she has returned to a place of pure loving kindness.
- I was so shocked and heartbroken to hear your tragic news. There are no words that can convey everything I am feeling right now and I can’t begin to imagine how you are feeling after such a shock. Insert name was such a beautiful soul and was so loved by everyone that he/she will be missed by all. I want you to know that I am here if you need a shoulder to cry on or need help finding a way through this. You are all constantly in my thoughts and I send you much love.
- Please let me know if I can help in any way – I’d be happy to help with cooking a meal/doing the shopping/picking the children up from school/doing the washing/cleaning the house/(delete as appropriate and/or insert your own suggestion(s) here).
- I just heard that insert name passed away earlier this year. I’m sorry it has taken so long for the news to reach me and I wish I could have been there for you. The news came as quite a shock and I just wanted to let you know that I think about you lots and that I would love us to arrange to meet up when you are ready to do that. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you beyond sending you lots of love, for that goes with saying.
- Thank you for taking the time to let me know that insert namehas died. I am truly sorry to hear of your loss and I’m writing to say that sadly I won’t be able to come to the funeral on insert date. I will be thinking of all of you, though, and am enclosing a cheque for your collection.
I hope that these words are helpful to you and that they will provide inspiration for your sympathy message.
write by Elmer