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Sympathy quotes for loss of a loved one

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Sympathy quotes for loss of a loved one
September 08, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 1 comment

Sometime it is difficult to find the right words. Let these sympathy quotes be ones to offer comfort, condolence and thoughts for the loss of a loved one.

45 Sympathy Quotes

Sometime it is difficult to find the right words. Let these sympathy quotes be ones to offer comfort, condolence and thoughts for the loss of a loved one.

  1. Nothing will ever take away our memories. May your memories be ones that give you comfort and reminders of happier times. Catherine Pulsifer

  2. Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    Mary Elizabeth Frye, Do Not Stand By My Grave And Weep
    Funeral Poems

  3. There are no words. While you have joy knowing where your love is in a better place, there is sadness in the loss and grief. You are in our prayers. Catherine Pulsifer
    Grief Quotes

  4. Perhaps the mourners learn to look to the blue sky by day, and to the stars by night, and to think that the dead are there, and not in graves. Charles Dickens
    Inspirational Quotes

  5. May God be with you and give you comfort. May He wrap His arms around you and give you peace and hope. May He fill you with strength, and may you feel His love. Catherine Pulsifer

  6. Our words are useless unless they come from the bottom of the heart. Mother Teresa

  7. When there are no words to say, but know that I'm always here for you. Danielle Duckery, Words For The Occasion
    Quote of the Day

  8. Extend sympathy, empathy and compassion to others. Vishnu, Seven Sacred Promises

  9. Too long sorrow makes a stone of the heart. Yoda
    Short Quotes

  10. One day He'll give us the answers to questions that now plague our mind,
    When our journey on earth has been ended, and our hardships are all left behind.
    Greta Zwaan, By and By
    Christian Poems

  11. While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil. John Taylor

  12. Time does not heal all wounds; it makes coping with the loss easier but the heart never fully recovers. Robbie Miller Kaplan, How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say

  13. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. Written on a Headstone in Ireland

  14. It is by a wise economy of nature that those who suffer without change, and whom no one can help, become uninteresting. Yet so it may happen that those who need sympathy the most often attract it the least. F. H. Bradley

  15. Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow,
    May the blessings of love be upon you,
    May its peace abide with you,
    May its essence illuminate your heart,
    Now and forever more A Blessing

  16. Hold tight to memories for comfort, lean on your friends for strength, and always remember how much you are cared about.

  17. However you choose to show sympathy - that you know someone is experiencing a loss and that you care - is almost always better than saying and doing nothing. Your response, whether verbal, written, or visual, provides an indication that you care about other people.
    Carol Fredericks Ebeling, What to Say

  18. The true way to mourn the dead is to take care of the living who belong to them. Edmund Burke
    Encouraging Bible Verses

  19. We pray the love of God enfolds you during your difficult times and He helps you heal with the passage of time.

  20. There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathise with the colour, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life's sores the better. Oscar Wilde

  21. Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  22. Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven
    where the love of our lost ones pours through
    and shines down upon us to let us know that are happy. Author Unknown

  23. Sympathy extended to another is the expression of the human heart demontrating that love is true and wholesome. Byron R. Pulsifer
    Prayer Poems

  24. A good condolence note: acknowledges the person's loss; expresses your sympathy; in certain cases, it comforts. Florence Isaacs, My Deepest Sympathies...: Meaningful Sentiments for Condolence Notes and Conversations
    Inspirational Messages

  25. May the road rise to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face.
    May the rains fall soft upon your fields
    and until we meet again,
    may the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand. Irish Blessing

  26. Research tells us that individuals heal and bounce back faster if they can voice their feelings and feel the support of caring souls. Robbie Miller Kaplan, How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say

  27. May there be comfort in knowing that someone so special will never be forgotten. Julie Hebert
    Words of Encouragement

  28. He spake well who said that graves are the footprints of angels. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  29. When a child or young person dies, friends and family members usually focus their sympathy and support on the parents of the child who died. Next to be comforted are the siblings of the child who died. Grieving grandparents, on the other hand, are often neglected or forgotten. Alan D. Wolfelt, Healing a Grandparent's Grieving Heart

  30. I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love. Leo Buscaglia

  31. Not only today, but always remember that we love and care about you.
    Inspirational Stories

  32. Write a sympathy note full of memories. Perhaps you have a special memory from a visit or a past holiday you can mention. You can also relay any funny anecdotes you remember from school or teen years, or holidays or work. Sharing memories for the family is a lovely thing to do. Sometimes the family learn new things about their loved one that they never knew. Elizabeth Postle, Sample Sympathy Messages and Quotes: Condolence Sentiments

  33. Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel we for and your family. We are here to help, support, and do whatever you need done.

  34. I had always considered myself a great friend - encouraging, there to help when needed, sensitive, able to see when people were suffering and how I might comfort them. But when my husband died so suddenly, I soon came to realize that, when it came to helping someone who was grieving … I KNEW VERY, VERY LITTLE! Anne-Marie Lockmyer, When Their World Stops: The Essential Guide to TRULY Helping Anyone in Grief

  35. May your memories give you strength. Our prayers are with you.

Inspirational Quotes about Losing Loved one Inspirational Quotes about Losing Loved one might be exactly what Best Sympathy Quotes For Loss Of Friend.

Words of Sympathy & Sympathy Quotes

sympathy quotes for loss of a loved one

Sympathy quotes are quotes or messages that can show your comfort to people. It is best used for people who lost their loved ones – family, friend, or even pets or any other misfortune. In life, we can never detach the truth that everything will be gone especially the ones will love. These are the most difficult times that we would encounter along the way. Most people relate that receiving cards with personal memories helps them in healing their heartaches.

Writing a sympathy quote for cards or letters isn’t easy. We look for words and we wonder what would be comforting to hear. We even worry about saying the wrong things. If you have difficulty on what you will say or how to phrase your thoughts and feelings for them, don’t worry because we have compiled some of the best sympathy quotes that you can use. Use them to show how you feel for those people who have their difficult times. Here are the Inspirational Sympathy Quotes for Loss with Images that we have prepared.

31 Inspirational Sympathy Quotes for Loss with Images

1. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.


2. After a loved one passes, be encouraged by their passing and legacy. Instead of crying, live…

3. Memories… let them fill your mind, warm your heart, and lead you through.

4. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

5. Relationships can be strengthened through the veil with people we know and love. That is…

6. Friends are the pillars on your porch. Sometimes they hold you up, sometimes they lean on…

7. No person is every truly alone. Those who live no more, whom we loved, Echo still within our…

8. Autumn wins you best by this, its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.

9. What is lovely never dies, but passes into other loveliness.

10. With sympathy, thinking of you at this sad time and sending love.

11. A loss to us is a gain to our God so let’s rejoice to those who will see Him after this life.

12. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but…

13. Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost…

14. Words, however kind, can’t mend your heartache, but those who care and share your loss…

15. We thought of you in love today, but that is nothing new. We thought about you yesterday…

16. What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we deeply love becomes a part of us.

17. Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity.

18. Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure. You are loved beyond words and missed…

19. Death brings pain that time can only heal, no words could ease what we truly feel; but with…

20. Tenderly, may time heal your sorrow. Gently, may your friends ease your pain. Softly, may…

21. An Eternal memory until we meet again. Those special memories will always bring a smile…

22. Sympathy does not think. It acts. It acts to remove the ceaseless sufferings of the world.

23. Seasons change and songs do fade. Death can never be detached in our fate. Don’t worry…

24. Words cannot express my sadness. May the comfort of God help you through this difficult time.

25. Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost…

26. Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us everyday.

27. Your friend can never be replaced, but will always be remembered.

28. Gone is the face we loved so dear. Silent is the voice we loved to hear. Too far away for sight…

28. Losing a member if the family is never easy,especially one who offered such unconditional…

30. Don’t be sad. I’ll be waiting at the rainbow.

And lastly,

31. A special smile, a special face in our hearts, a special place. Memories are a gift to treasure…

Sympathy Quotes for Loss

There are a lot of sympathy quotes out there. You can even write your own sympathy quotes based on your personal experiences, stories you have overheard, or even the messages of other experienced people. Writing a sympathy quote, message, or note can be a very difficult task because we are afraid that we might say the wrong words. The point is, letting someone know you care for them will mean a lot, even if you are not quite sure on what to say.

The most important thing to remember while writing a sympathy quote is that your message comes from the heart. Your friend or loved one will surely appreciate that you are honoring their loss or acknowledging their grief. Another note to remember is to write what feels natural or comfortable for you. Choose words that you think will not get other people offended.

We hope that you have enjoyed reading the Sympathy Quotes for Loss. You might also be interested in reading the 52 Best Osho Quotes on Love, Life and Fear with Images. Feel free to share them to your friends and loved ones on Facebook or any other social media site.

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Sympathy Quotes - Top 21 Condolence Quotes for Loss
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45 Sympathy Quotes

sympathy quotes for loss of a loved one

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest times in our lives. If someone you know lost a friend or relative, it’s important to express your support and offer you help, where you can. If you are struggling with your own words, some of these sympathy messages for your card can help express the sadness about the loss of a loved one will help.

If you want to do more than just send a card, you can also send flowers as an expression of sympathy, or bring funeral flowers with you if you’re attending the funeral ceremony.

Here, we list over 40 sympathy messages for loss, for your inspiration.

40+ Sympathy Messages for Loss

  1. It’s terrible to hear about your loss and I express my sincere sympathy to you and your family
  2. Words, however kind, can’t mend your heartache, but those who care for you share your grief and wish you comfort and peace of mind. My condolences.
  3. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, the courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.
  4. May you be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding you.
  5. Please remember that you are not alone… We are always here for you.
  6. Please accept our heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your loved one.
  7. My heart goes out to you during this difficult time
  8. It was with great sadness that we learned of _______’s passing; please accept our heartfelt condolences.
  9. When reason fails, pray for peace. We will be praying with you.
  10. I’ll be thinking of you. Please think of me if you need anything. I’m available to talk or help any way you need me.
  11. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now, but I want you to know that we are just a phone call away. My heartfelt condolences.
  12. Hold tight to memories for comfort, lean on your friends and family for strength, and always remember how much you are loved.
  13. Our family is deeply saddened by the passing of your _______. We’ll always remember ___ fondly and feel lucky that we had the pleasure of knowing ____. ____ will be very missed.
  14. Words are never adequate in moments like these. We will say though, that our hearts go out to you, and we will always remember the joyous memories that we are privileged to have in knowing your _____.
  15. I offer you my thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes during this dark time in your life.
  16. Our hearts are saddened by your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you.
  17. Life isn’t always easy or simple. Thank goodness for friends who can laugh and cry with you. You have been that friend for me, and I’ll be that friend for you anytime.
  18. We don’t always get to know why things happen the way they do. I hope you do get to see something meaningful and significant that matters come from this loss.
  19. Words may not suffice to express the heartfelt sorrow that we/I feel for the passing of (Name), but please accept our/my condolences and we/I will be sure to include him/her in our daily prayers.
  20. I want you to know that I am here for you during this difficult time.
  21. We all have different types of reactions to loss. I’d like you to know that you don’t have to experience this loss on our own. I’d like you to lean on me by allowing me to listen to any time you need to talk.
  22. Memories are one place we can visit those we’ve lost. Since memories are portable, we can take our lost loved ones with us anywhere at any time.
  23. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, the courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.
  24. May loving memories ease your loss and bring you comfort.
  25. My condolences to you and your family on the passing of your _____. It is never easy to lose a parent, no matter your age. I pray for your peace and comfort as you continue your life journey without your _____’s earthly presence.
  26. While there is no way we can feel your pain, we do feel your loss as we have known “name of deceased” for many years. Peace and love to you and your family during this sorrowful time.
  27. I extend my deepest sympathies to you and your family. May the soul of your mother be at peace with our Heavenly Father.
  28. We have hope through He who knows every need we have. We’re praying for you and your family.
  29. We are sorry for your loss. (Name), was such a great person, (He/She) will live on in our memories forever. My heartfelt condolences.
  30. Someone as special as “name of deceased” will never be forgotten. He/she will remain in our hearts forever.
  31. I’m wish you the comfort in the strength he/she gave you, the love he/she wraps your heart with and his/her healing power to get you through this very difficult time.
  32. In this sorrowful time, we would like to extend to you our heartfelt condolences. May our Lord comfort you and your loved ones.
  33. Although no words can really help to ease the loss you bear, just know that you are very close in every thought and prayer.
  34. Sympathies to your family on the passing of your brother/sister. He/she will always be in our hearts.
  35. You and your family are surrounded by love during this difficult time.
  36. I am deeply saddened by the loss that you and your family have encountered. My condolences.
  37. Our condolences to you at this sad time. Your _____ was a wonderful man/woman. He/She always had a beautiful smile. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
  38. May care and love of those around you provide comfort and peace to get you through the days ahead. My most sincere condolences.
  39. Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always. My heartfelt condolences.
  40. I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. Please accept our condolences and may our prayers help comfort you.
  41. Prayers and fond memories are what we have to remember our dearly departed. My most heartfelt condolences.
  42. May peace and comfort find you during this difficult time.

sources: hearttoheartsymptahygifts.com, condolencemessages.net, shutterly.com, acknowledgemetns.net, obituarieshelp.org, treesofchange.com, wishesmessagessayings.com


Lily Calyx

Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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Sympathy Message Ideas, Condolence Quotes, and Sympathy Card Ideas for those who've lost someone. Let our Sympathy Messages page help you find the.

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sympathy quotes for loss of a loved one

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What should I write in a sympathy card? You are carefully thinking about sympathy card messages for your condolence card. This is a good thing! It is very wise to be conscientious about what you say or write to someone experiencing grief and loss.

For anyone who has lost a loved one, you know that there are many things people say with good intentions that are still insensitive and even hurtful.

For those who have not lost a loved one, you cannot fathom what it is like. So it is doubly important to be considerate in how you express your love and sympathy to those who are grieving as you write your sympathy card messages.

Here is our guide on how to express condolences with sincerity yet without offending. We highlight the best tips and quotes along with what to say and also what not to say in a sympathy card.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something you see on our site we may receive a commission at no cost to you. See our full disclosure here for more details.

Sympathy Card Messages

Table of Contents

  • What to Write in a Sympathy Card
    • General Tips
      • Say something
      • Hand write a note
      • Say the decedent’s name
      • Include a photograph
      • Tell a story or memory
    • 25 Sympathy Quotes for Loss of a Loved One
    • Fill-in-the-blank Sympathy Card Messages
    • What NOT to Say (and What to Say Instead)
      • I know how you feel
      • They were so young
      • Everything happens for a reason
      • It was God’s will / their time to go
      • Call me if you need anything
      • Nothing
      • Sappy sentimental phrases
      • Anything that begins with “At least…”
      • We didn’t make it to the funeral because…
  • Final Thoughts (More Tips)

What to Write in a Sympathy Card


Say something. You need to acknowledge their loss. Writing a sympathy card is a great start, and you can also call and leave a voicemail, send a text, talk to them the next time you see them in person. At the very least, taking the effort to acknowledge their loss tells the grieving person that the person they loved so deeply matters to you.

Hand-write a note. Go beyond whatever sentiment is on the card and put in the effort to say something in your own words. It can be a very brief line expressing love and sympathy or you can fill up the card. Pick up a pen and write something, it shows that you care.

Say the decedent’s name. For some reason, people can be hesitant to say the deceased person’s name around mourners. Perhaps it is an effort to avoid stirring up unpleasant memories or bringing up intense emotions. But there are few things better to a grieving person’s ears than to hear their loved one’s name. And there are few things better than to see their loved one’s name written out on a card.

Include a photograph. One of the few things that might be better than hearing the decedent’s name is to receive a previously unseen photograph of their loved one. It is a great gift, which some describe as almost like getting one extra moment of their life. A new photograph is a treasure. If you have a photo of the departed loved one, print it out and include it in the card with a note that says “I thought you might like this photo of [name].”

Tell a story or memory. If you have shared special times with the deceased, write out a brief memory or story. A funny story, or something that illustrates the person’s kindness, creativity, or passion. Perhaps include it on a separate sheet of paper if it is longer than a few lines. This is another way that you can share an “extra moment” of their life, and it will be treasured more than you know.


Do not try to reinvent the wheel, and keep in mind that there is no magical phrase that you can say that will make it all better. The best thing you can do is simply say something. Acknowledge the loss, say their name, acknowledge the grief and pain, and let them know you care.

Here are some brief sympathy card messages you should totally steal, tweak, mix, and match to hand-write into your sympathy card.

  1. I don’t know what to say.
  2. I miss [name] too.
  3. [Name] was a wonderful person. My condolences to you and your family.
  4. We are so deeply sorry for your loss.
  5. Our hearts go out to you and your family in this difficult time.
  6. Sending this card along with our prayers for you.
  7. Words cannot express the sorrow and sadness we feel at the loss of your [parent, spouse, etc], [name]. Please accept our condolences and know that we are thinking of you.
  8. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of [name]. As you mourn [him/her], please know that we are grieving with you while at the same time honoring [his/her] memory.
  9. It was a gift to know [name].
  10. I’ll always remember how [name] would [insert story or characteristic here].
  11. There are no words. Just know that I love you and will also miss [name].
  12. I just want you to know that I am going to be there for you, no matter what.
  13. I just wanted to let you know that it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to remember [name] and love and miss [her/him]. I love you and am here for you.
  14. May the memories of your beloved [father, brother, wife, etc] provide you with comfort during this difficult time.
  15. We are grieving [name’s] death and celebrating [his/her] life with you.
  16. We are missing [name] along with you.
  17. I didn’t know [name] very well, but my thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.
  18. Our hearts ache for you. We all miss [name] very much.
  19. [Name] will be greatly missed. Our most tender condolences to you and your family.
  20. I often think about you and [name] when I [walk by your house, am at work, getting up in the morning, etc]. I say a prayer each time. Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you and cherishing [name’s] memory.
  21. The sun has set on an amazing life.
  22. This sucks. (Or, “This succs“)
  23. When I heard about [name’s] passing my heart broke for you.
  24. We are sharing in your sadness as you remember [name].
  25. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction. II Corinthians 1:3-4 – Though it may not feel that way now! I pray that God’s hand of comfort would be on you, and I want you to know that I love you and miss [name] too.


Use this as a starter template to say something simple yet true and meaningful about the person.

[Name] was a [attribute #1] who [attribute #2]. He/she will be greatly missed.

Attribute #1

  • Devoted father, mother
  • Caring husband, wife
  • Wonderful person, friend, co-worker
  • Delightful person, friend, co-worker
  • Giving person, friend, co-worker
  • Lovely person, friend, co-worker
  • Thoughtful person, friend, co-worker
  • Amazing person, friend, co-worker
  • Incredible person, friend, co-worker
  • Infectiously joyful person, friend, co-worker
  • Compassionate person, friend, co-worker

Attribute #2

  • Had an amazing laugh
  • Loved everyone she met
  • Always took the time to ___
  • Always lit up the room with her smile
  • Loved the Lord with all his/her heart
  • Lived life to the fullest
  • Did things the right way
  • Was generous to all
  • Had such a giving spirit
  • Had such a patient and gentle heart
  • Was a true poet at heart
  • Could outdo anyone at the (racetrack, basketball court, all-you-can-eat-buffet)
  • Knew how to party
  • Had such an effect on my life
  • Meant so much to me
  • Could sing like an angel
  • Worked hard yet always had time for family and friends
  • Was a scholar and a gentleman
  • Always made everyone feel special
  • Baked the most amazing cookies
  • I was proud to know
  • Was a great role model
  • I will tell stories about to my kids


“I know how you feel.”

“I’ve lost a ___ too.”

Every loss and every person’s grief is different. Even though you may have experienced a similar situation or a similar loss, it is neither helpful nor true to say that you know how the person is feeling.

Also, while it is natural to want to empathize, it does not help the grieving person to know about your loss. Do not try to make it about yourself, so avoid making these types of comments.

What to say instead:

  • “I’m grieving with you.” (This lets them know you are coming alongside as best as you can)
  • “I’m so sad.” (This tells them that sadness is ok)
  • “I don’t know what to say.” (This tells them that you respect the depth of their grief)

“They were so young.”

The grieving person does not need to be reminded of this. Avoid it.

“Everything happens for a reason.”

“It was God’s will.”

While there is a sense in which this is true, a sympathy card right after the death of a loved one is not the time to start a theological or philosophical discussion. The reality is that the mourner cannot comprehend any good reason why their loved one should be taken away from them.

Unless you have a very strong relationship with the grieving person and share their faith and values, we would advise that you avoid saying anything like it.

What to say instead:

  • “I don’t presume to know God’s purpose, but I do know that you can cast your cares upon him, because he cares for you.”
  • “I have no idea why God has allowed this, but I do know that we have a Savior who is acquainted with our griefs and sorrows.”
  • Or simply avoid it – again, a sympathy card is not the greatest avenue for deep theological issues
  • Avoid saying this to a non-Christian or someone who is not a member of your religion

“It was their time to go.”

On the one hand, it was indeed their time to go. But that is simply stating the obvious, and unhelpfully so.

What is more, the grieving person is typically struggling with accepting that very thing. They don’t think it was the right time to lose someone so close. Even if it was a long time in coming (for instance, after a long battle with cancer), it still doesn’t feel like the right time.

There are so many ways that this statement is received poorly, and so few ways that it is helpful, that you should simply not say it.

“Call me if you need anything.”

Ugh. They will hear this many times. It’s just something people say. You might mean it, but very few grieving people will ever pick up the phone and call someone else to ask for help cleaning the kitchen or mowing the lawn or running errands.

On top of this, the grieving person often does not even know what they need. They are just trying to get through each day. They are not going to call any of the twenty well-intentioned people who offered to help.

Rather than a generic offer, be specific in how you plan to help. Then jump in and do it.

What to say instead:

  • “Here is a gift certificate to a place that does both dine in and delivery. I’d love to pick you up and take you to dinner sometime, but I would also love it if you could instead use this to order delivery on a day you just need to stay in.”
  • “Jim and I want to help, so we are going to come mow your lawn on Mondays throughout the summer.”
  • “Can I come over sometime and help you _____? Only when you’re ready, but I really want to you know that I would love to help.”
  • “I’m going to go grocery shopping on Thursday, I’ll text you that morning for your list and I will be happy to pick it up for you.”

Just be sure to include something to the effect of “no pressure,” and “if that works for you,” or “if you want.” And truly mean both the offer to help and the opt-out. Sometimes people get overwhelmed with all the help, so be gracious if your offer is overlooked, unanswered, or not needed. The grieving person does not need more guilt from you on top of everything else.


Avoid saying nothing. While it may be easy to look around and think that so many other people are saying more helpful and profound things, the reality is that you never know what small gesture or kind word will be remembered.

Perhaps they expect sympathy from all their closest family members, and when you reach out it affects them in a special way. Or maybe they notice that you don’t call, text, or send a card, and wonder why. It is always good to reach out with a kind word and a gesture of love and support.

Nancy Guthrie is well-acquainted with grief, and the author of a marvelous book entitled What Grieving People Wish You Knew. We’ll let her take it from here. This is from the transcript of a video interview about her process of writing the book:

…grief is a very lonely experience. You know, even if all your friends are there for you in the best way possible — your spouse is there for you, all of those things — the essence of grief is a deep, pervasive loneliness. And it means so much for people around us to overcome the awkwardness — and maybe even the desire and fears that I’ll say the wrong thing — to say something.

Honestly, the most painful thing is when you’ve had a loss and someone around you—because of the awkwardness — never acknowledges it. That’s what hurts the most. Because what it says to you is that person you love who died doesn’t even really merit a mention. And that’s devastating.

I think another thing that keeps us from saying something to someone who has lost someone is that we think to ourselves something like, “Well, lots of other people are saying something to that person, and so they won’t even notice if I never acknowledged it.”

But here’s the truth. When you’ve gone through the loss of a loved one, it’s almost as if there is a barrier put up between you and every person in your world. And it’s not until that person acknowledges your loss that that barrier comes down. And it doesn’t have to be anything brilliant.

…Sometimes it can even be wordless. I can think of times when I was going through grief when someone just came next to me and squeezed my hand or gave me even a knowing look, with that sense of, “I know what’s going on, and I’m sad and I’m in a sense speechless.”

Sappy sentimental phrases

“God must have needed her in heaven more than we needed her here on earth.”

“Now he’s looking down on us from above.”

“Now she’s an angel in heaven.”

We do not know any of these things. For Christians, we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, but the Scriptures nowhere say any of the above phrases or anything like them.

Sappy sentimentality trivializes the loss while trying to put a happy sheen on things. Aside from being untrue (which makes them unhelpful), such trite sentiments are corny and thoughtless. Avoid them.

Anything that begins with “at least…”

“At least you are young enough to marry again….” Nope. The grieving spouse doesn’t want a new spouse. They want their spouse.

“At least you can still have more children.” “At least you still have your other children.” Sure, maybe they have or can have more children… although maybe conceiving was very, very difficult and unlikely to happen again. But even if they have more children, they cannot have that child. No child can replace another, love does not work that way.

“At least he isn’t suffering anymore.” Yes, but now he is gone.

“At least she lived a long life.” Yes, but they would rather have it be just a bit longer.

Anything that begins with “at least…” is usually an effort to look on the bright side or put a positive spin on things. But death is hard, and there is no cheap, cheery solution. Avoid it.

“We didn’t make it to the funeral because…”

Do not give an excuse. To someone who has just lost someone so important, any reason to miss the funeral will seem trivial.

What to say instead:

  • “We’re so sorry we couldn’t make it to the funeral.”
  • “I’m sad that I couldn’t make it to the funeral. I will text you to arrange a time that works for you to come over and express my condolences.”
  • “I’m so sorry I couldn’t be at the funeral. I am bringing dinner for you on Tuesday if that works for you, and I would love to see you even for just a few moments.”
  • “I’m so sorry I couldn’t be at the funeral. I’d like to come and visit [name’s] grave sometime soon. Would you like to go together?”


Remember, the very fact that you are writing a sympathy card means a lot to the grieving person. They may never show it, they may not find time or energy to respond in the midst of this difficult time, but they will appreciate the gesture and remember that you acknowledged their loss.

You don’t need to write a book, or even a paragraph. But do hand-write something that expresses, in more or less your own words, that you care for them in their time of need.

If you offer help, remember to be specific. Follow through on your offer. If they don’t take you up on it, renew the offer in a few days, weeks, or months.

Do not get offended. Let them ignore your card or refuse your offer of help. Whatever they do or do not do, the last thing you should do as a caring friend is add more turmoil by getting upset.

Better late than never. Even six months later is all right, especially because by then most other people’s attentions will have moved on, and the grieving person will (likely) be feeling alone in their grief. Even if you do send a sympathy card right away, consider sending another one six or eight months down the road to remind them that you are still thinking of them and grieving with them.

Consider sending a sympathy gift along with your card. Here are 29 thoughtful and creative sympathy gift ideas for someone who is grieving.


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Category: Grief & Loss

Tags: bereavement, grief, sympathy, sympathy cards, what to say

to someone we love. May today's sorrow give way to the peace and comfort of God's love. *** Extending deepest sympathy. For you in your loss. And hoping, too.

sympathy quotes for loss of a loved one
Written by Sajar
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