Finding words for sad occasions isn't easy and sometimes we get it wrong. Below are suggestions as to how to word messages of sympathy so as to comfort and not offend, phrases to avoid and verses to include in cards of condolence. Also featured is a range of cards and memorial gifts that include words of sympathy and condolence that you can further personalize to ensure your genuine sadness at the loss of the deceased is conveyed.
Words of Sympathy and Comfort for the Loss of a Parent or Other
Express Your Condolences for the loss of Mother, Father or other with words that express your sincere sadness for their loss and that you are thinking of them. “I am so sorry for your loss, losing a mother / father is one of the worst things to bear, my thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Ensure you use their name too. Names can feel uncomfortable to say when the person is deceased but it's very important to use them. Don't be afraid to do so.
Show that you sincerely care and are willing to help. “I am here as your friend (neighbor, family) to support you and help you in any way you need during this difficult time. If you need anything just ask. I am also here to just listen if you want to talk, cry or just to have some company.”
Share a fond memory, something you can reminisce together about and cherish. Also try to remember anniversaries of death and living moments of the deceased as the grieving person will do and will require extra support during those times.
Words of Sympathy for cards
Send the card as soon as you hear about the death.
It is never too late, so even if the funeral has passed and you came across the news late you can still send a card. Choose a simple card and handwrite the message as it is more personal. Use the person who is deceased's name. Offer condolences, and if appropriate a sincere and specific offer of help. Do not make promises you won't or can't keep.
If you knew the deceased well then you can share a memory or focus on their good qualities. If you didn't know them well then focus on your friend who has suffered the loss.
“I am sorry to hear that your mother / father has passed away. I remember them with fondness and treasure the memories I have.”
“I can't imagine what you are going through but I want you to know that your mother / father was very special and made a difference in many lives. They will be sadly missed. I know it is little comfort that their suffering is now over and that they are at peace. You will miss them dearly as do we.”
“I was so sad to hear your news. I know that there are no words that can take away the pain but if I can help in any way, shopping, a meal, cleaning let me know. Myself and my family are here for you.”
” I am sorry to hear your tragic news. It came as such a shock, you must be devestated. We are all thinking of you and while I sadly can't make the funeral I will be there with you in spirit and I will be around afterwards to meet up to share fond memories and catch up. ”
Sympathy Phrases to Avoid
- “I know how you feel”
- Time heals”
- “They are in a better place now.”
- “You'll soon get over it, you're strong.”
- “They lived a long time, it was their time to go”
- “It will be alright, you'll meet someone else.”
- “You were blessed to know them, be thankful”
- “You have your whole life ahead of you.”
- “Life goes on.”
- “Oh well at least you weren't that close!”
- “It's not like losing a child or a parent”
- “My mate Sandra just lost her dad it was awful”
Yes, you and I have all used some variation of the above in the past and we did so with the very best of intentions!
It is just the case that people do not want their sadness and sorrow to be made to be smaller, less important or less impacting while in their moment of grief, which afterall can last a lifetime.
How we manage our lives after the loss of a loved one doesn't mean we grieve for them any less on any single day.
We just don't show it, or have a way of shielding others from it. And most importantly we do not want to get over it, forget about it. We want that person remembered and treasured as much in death as in life.
Comforting Lines and Verses
“Parents hold their children’s hands for just a little while .. their hearts forever.” Author Unknown
“Although it's difficult today to see beyond the sorrow,
May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.
Hold tight to memories for comfort,
Lean on your friends for strength,
And always remember how much you are cared about.” Author Unknown
“Our love will be deeper, our life will be fuller because we shared your moment.” Author Unknown
“Friends are the pillars on your porch. Sometimes they hold you up, sometimes they lean on you, and sometimes it’s just enough to know that they are standing by.” Author Unknown
“Those who loved can truly tell, the heartache of parting without farewell.” Author Unknown
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” Author Unknown
“May the peace which comes from the memories of love shared, comfort you now and in the days ahead.” Author Unknown
“They say love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies.” William Penn
“You don’t get over it, you just get through it. Your don’t get by it, because you can’t get around it. It doesn’t ‘get better’; it just gets different. Everyday… Grief puts on a new face….” Wendy Feireisen
“Those we love don't go away,
They walk beside us every day,
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved, still missed and very dear.” Author Unknown
“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” Author Unknown
“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
“May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.”
Chief Dan George
“For each thorn, there’s a rosebud…
For each twilight — a dawn…
For each trial — the strength to carry on,
For each storm cloud — a rainbow…
For each shadow — the sun…
For each parting — sweet memories when sorrow is done.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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