Short Condolence Message Ideas - How to Write One
Writing a condolence message is perhaps one of the most difficult writing tasks. But when someone you know has lost someone that they love, it’s important to reach out and express your condolences.
If you’ve been tasked with writing a condolence letter, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or come up with something groundbreaking. Your condolence letter is likely to be one of many, so rather than stress about what to put in the letter and delay the message, it’s far more important to ensure that you deliver it in a timely manner.
Read on to learn our top tips for writing a condolence letter, including some short examples to help you get started.
If you like to jump to a particular example click one of the links below. Or if not read on:
- Loss of a spouse
- Loss of a child
- Loss of a sibling
- Loss of a parent
- Loss due to suicide
- Loss of a pet
7 things to remember when writing a condolence message
Before you get started with your condolence letter, consider these 7 expert tips to help you get into the right mindset. You might not need an example to get you started if you keep these 7 tips in mind.
- Keep it short. A condolence note should really be a note, not a letter. You don’t have to worry about writing something long and extensive, as you can expect that the person you are sending it to will receive a lot of condolence notes. Try to limit your message to around five sentences to avoid waffling or including anything that doesn’t need to be mentioned. The basic structure of a condolence note is to start with a heartfelt greeting, share a short statement or memory about the person, and then offer your support or assistance.
- Offer specific support. If you offer to help out, don’t be vague and say “if there’s anything we can do to help, please let us know.” Instead, try offering specific things that you know you can follow through with. For example, you could offer to host their children for a sleepover with your children, or you offer to walk their family dog.
- Try to be respectful of religious preferences. You might not hold any religious views, but if you know that the deceased family is religious, it can be comforting to acknowledge this. For example, you could write “Andrew is in our prayers”. If you aren’t sure about their religious views, it’s best to avoid any mention of this, rather than guessing.
- Never make comparisons. Now is not the time to mention your own feelings or your own grief. Even if you are also very upset at the passing of the individual, or you have recently suffered a bereavement, never bring your own grief into it. Stick with sympathy, rather than empathy to get your message across.
- It can be very personal. While you shouldn’t bring up your own grief, it is encouraged to share memories or any other qualities that you loved about them. This can be a great source of comfort to the grieving, as they will have the opportunity to experience their loved one’s life through the eyes of those who knew them. You might even have a new perspective or memory that the family weren’t aware of, which can be a huge source of comfort.
- Don’t dwell on the tragedy. If the person passed away in difficult circumstances, or if the cause of death was a suicide, you don’t need to dwell on how difficult this must be. The family will be all too aware of how troubling the event has been for them, so there is no need to highlight any specifics about the death.
- Focus on the living if you cannot speak fondly of the deceased. Sometimes the relationships between the deceased and their remaining family are complex and difficult. If you do not wish to say anything kind about the deceased, then focus on the living and their strength.
How to write a condolence message, with examples
Now we know that a condolence note should be:
- No longer than 5 sentences
- Offer specific support
- Focused on the living
A condolence note is most commonly included in a sympathy card, which may be delivered with flowers or another gift to the family home. If you know the family very well, you might deliver the card with a home-cooked meal. If the family has requested no flowers, then you should send a card and make a donation to the charity of their choice.
Always include a handwritten note, even if you feel self-conscious about your handwriting. Practice writing your message a few times so that you can get an idea of how much space you will need in the card.
The message that you include will all depend on who has passed away and how well you knew the person or their surviving family. Read on to see some examples of condolence messages to help give you some inspiration for how to get started with yours.
Loss of a spouse
“Your love story was an inspiration. I can only imagine the pain you are feeling at this time. Losses of this magnitude should not be endured alone, so please know that I am here for you whatever you may need.”
“You may be parted on earth, but your love will last an eternity. The love you shared with Greg was an inspiration to all of us. His sense of humour will be deeply missed. Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss and know that I will always be here to support you.”
“To my dear friend, I am so sorry to hear that Mary is no longer with us. I want to extend my condolences to you during this difficult time. On behalf of myself and my wife, I want to offer you our love and support. If you need anything, please let us know. We would be thrilled to take care of Emily and Jake if you ever need a babysitter.”
“The loss of a partner is a pain that no one should endure alone. I know that your strength and spirit will keep you afloat during this difficult time. Please extend our thoughts and prayers to your beautiful family.”
Loss of a child
“We cannot even begin to understand what you are going through at this time. Losing a child is something that no parent should ever have to endure. My only hope is that you be surrounded by love and care during this difficult time. If there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”
“I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how difficult this must be. My thoughts and prayers are with you. If there is anything you need during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out, my door is always open.”
“Your daughter will forever live on in the hearts of all she touched. She had an incredible spirit, warmth and kindness that changed so many lives for the better. I’m so deeply sorry for the heartbreak you must be feeling at this time.”
“I’m deeply sorry to hear of your loss. I cannot imagine what you are going through right now, but I want you to know that I am thinking about you and that I am here for you if you ever need anything.”
Loss of a sibling
“Your brother was an incredible influence in my life, as I’m sure he was for countless other people. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing and wish to extend the deepest of condolences to you and your family at this time. We will always keep you in our prayers.”
“I’m shocked to hear of the passing of your sister. Her humour and creative spirit will be sorely missed. Please accept my deepest condolences for your loss.”
“I cannot put into words how deeply sorry I am to hear of your loss. While your brother may no longer be with us, his spirit will live on. If there is anything I can do to help share the burden of his loss, please let me know.”
“It is with great sadness that I write this letter to you. I know it may not be easy to hear this but the time will come when the pain will lessen. I am confident the memories of your sister will sustain you through your grief. If there is any way I can be of assistance, please let me know.”
Loss of a parent
“I’m deeply sorry to hear of your loss. Your father was larger than life and I know he will leave a void that seems impossible to fill. You may not know this, but you’re stronger than you think and I know your memories of him will help to ease your burden during this time. If there is anything we can do to help, our door is always open.”
“I was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of your mother. I was honoured to have had the chance to get to know your mother over the years. She will never be forgotten and lives on in our memories.”
“In this time of immense sadness, I hope that memories of your father can help to bring you comfort and peace. Your mother is an exceptionally special person and I can only imagine what she is feeling at this time. Our family would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to your family. Please know that you will always be in our prayers.”
“Losing a parent is the greatest source of grief, but I hope you can find some comfort in knowing that your mother will always be remembered fondly. As you navigate this difficult time, please know that I’m always here to help lessen the burden of your grief.”
Loss due to suicide
“There are no words to express how deeply sorry I am for your loss. I pray that [the deceased] can be at peace now.”
“My deepest sympathies. I cannot begin to imagine what you are feeling at this time. I want you to know that I will be thinking of you and will always keep you in my prayers.”
“I’m so sorry for your loss. This is truly a tragedy that no one should endure alone. If you need anything, I’m just a phone call away.”
“I’m sorry for the pain you must be feeling at this time. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on or someone to share memories with, my door is always open.”
Loss of a pet
“I was so sorry to learn of your pet's passing. I know these are trying times for you and your family. I hope you find comfort in the memories you shared with your pet. If you’re ever in need of a wagging tail, we’d be happy to drop by with Daisy any time.”
“My condolences to you and your family on the loss of your pet. I am sorry for your loss and I hope that you and your family can find some comfort and peace with time.”
“I remember the first time you brought Lucky home and I knew that you were both lucky to have found each other. He had the best life a pet could ask for, and I’m confident he’s having an incredible time in doggy heaven. Call me if you need anything.”
“All dogs go to heaven and Betty is no exception. We will miss seeing her nose pressed against your front window every day. If there is anything we can do to ease your pain, please let us know.”
Messages of condolence can help to remind a person that their grief is shared and that they aren’t alone. We hope that these messages bring comfort to anyone who might be experiencing loss and struggling to find the words to express their feelings.
A message of condolence may also be delivered alongside a memorial keepsake. This is the perfect gift to help a person to manage and process their pain. As they navigate the stages of grief, they will have the essence of their loved one at their side to help ease their pain. As time passes, they might reach for their memorial keepsake less and less. And eventually, the keepsake will become a source of joy that allows the individual to feel connected to their loved one.