How To Express Your Condolences To Someone You Love

Heartfelt expressions of sympathy never go out of style.

It is customary to send condolences to the bereaved when someone dies, but sending condolences to someone you love or someone you’re extremely close to can be a difficult task. When sending condolences to a person or family that you didn’t know so well, the emotional impact is not so intense; you are sad for them, but not overwhelmingly so. But if it’s a close family or friend to whom you’re expressing your sympathies, the feelings are much stronger. It can be quite difficult to sit down and write that heartfelt expression without being overcome with emotions yourself. Some things to keep in mind when expressing condolences to close family members or friends will help you choose just the right words.

Why Sending a Condolence Letter Is Important

To sit down and write a letter to someone you care about regarding their recent loss is one of the most loving things you can do for them during their time of grief. Most likely all you can think of is how much you care about them and how they must be feeling. You may be riddled with feelings of guilt and despair because you can’t be there during their time of need. These are normal feelings that any loving friend or relative goes through on these sad occasions, but remember the bereaved is waiting to hear from you, and your letter of condolence can make a world of difference.

If the bereaved is a close personal friend or family member, the first thing you’ll most likely do is call them and express your sadness about their loss. But a phone call only lasts for a few minutes or hours at most. A lovingly written letter of condolence or sympathy will last them a lifetime and give them something to remember your friendship at their time of greatest need. Many people keep the letters and cards they receive as mementos of the kindness they were shown after experiencing the death of their loved one. A note from a close friend can be especially comforting.

What To Say In Your Letter

Usually a letter of condolence is kept short, expressing your sentiment towards the bereaved and letting them know that you are sorry for their loss. As a close personal friend or family member, however, you are at liberty to say a bit more. Don’t shy away from letting them know how important your friendship or relationship is to you; they need your affection more than ever at this time. Talking about old times and their deceased friend, partner, spouse or other relative is good therapy for those who have suffered such a loss. Your demonstration of fondness for the deceased will validate their own feelings of the specialness they shared with him or her.

Some suggestions of sympathy phrases that are popular and appropriate include:

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this sad time. I will always remember _____ fondly and have wonderful memories of many times spent with you all during the younger years! He leaves behind a wonderful family and I know you will all be a great source of comfort and support to one another.
  • We were so sorry to hear about _____'s passing. We hope that the love of family and friends will comfort and strengthen you in the days ahead.
  • So sorry to hear this sad news. We will miss _____ at the lake this summer. Thinking of you and your family at this time.
  • 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.
  • Sympathies to your family on the passing of your brother/sister. He/she will always be in our hearts.
  • 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 _____.
  • May God's peace be with you. Cherish the memories you created with _____. I will always remember him/her for her caring and loving nature.
  • 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.

Use the KISS Principle

Keep It Sensitive and Simple when writing words of condolences with these four points in mind:

  • Say that you’re sorry for their loss
  • Share a funny memory of the deceased
  • Mention their unique qualities
  • Say that you’ll miss them also

If you aren’t able to be there physically for your friend or relative, let them know in no uncertain terms that you are there for them emotionally. Discuss in your letter your desire to get together as soon as life allows, and mean it. Think of how much your relationship with this person means to you as you are writing. Speak from your heart and your letter of condolence will be a refreshing, uplifting source of the love that they desperately need during this time of heartache and sadness.

Suzie Kolber is a writer at The site is a complete guide for writing sympathy messages, condolence letters and finding funeral planning resources.

See also:
Feng Shui Advice Soothes Grief
The Energies of Love: Harnessing the Invisible Forces of Your Relationship