What to write to someone when their loved one dies

When you learn someone has died you feel compassion for their loved ones left behind.

You know they must be hurting and you want to say something nice to acknowledge their loss.

But for most of us it’s hard to know what to write to someone who just lost a loved one.

I get a feeling of awkwardness not knowing what to say. I squirm and agonize over trying to figure out the right words.

Especially now, when these messages may be publicly displayed on social media platforms like Facebook.

For those of us who aren’t naturals at giving emotional support through words, here below are some templates you can use to pass on your message of condolence.

Chop and change the messages to suit the style you want to give.

I’ve split it up into:

  • short messages of condolence, suitable for a short post to a casual friend on Facebook, and
  • longer condolence letters, more appropriate for someone you’re closer to.

Black and white photo of flowers, clock and photos of a loved one who passed away

Samples of a brief message of condolence

Polite messages to an acquaintance who lost a loved one

  • Thinking of you.
  • Thoughts are with you and your family.
  • So sorry to hear this. Thinking of you at this sad time.
  • Heartfelt condolences to you and your family.
  • I’m so sorry to hear that. My condolences to you.
  • My deepest sympathy. May you treasure the memories of the good times you had together.
  • So sorry for your loss.
  • Sincere condolences.
  • Take care. Sending positive energy to you.
  • Sorry to hear the sad news. Sending massive hugs. XXX
  • May peace and comfort find you during this difficult time.


Brief loving messages to a friend who’s grieving

  • Love and peace to you and the family.
  • I’m so sorry to hear that. Sending you lots of love at this sad time.
  • Light and love to you and your family at this time.
  • I’m so sad to hear that. Big embracing love to you and yours. xo
  • Your mother left a perfect legacy of a loving family.
  • So sorry to hear this. Thinking of you xxx
  • I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. I know you will treasure those special moments you had together.
  • Sending you all my love and thoughts at this difficult time.
  • Love and hugs. xxx ooo
  • Much love to you. Take care and may your beautiful Dad rest in peace.
  • Thinking of you all. Treasure the beautiful memories you have all made together and the love that lives on in your heart. xoxo


Short religious messages of condolence

  • Religious man at a funeral carrying flowers and a cross

    Sorry for your loss. May God take her in the palm of hands and deliver her to heaven.

  • Your Dad was an amazing person who impacted many for the better. May his soul rest in peace.
  • So sorry to hear your sad news. May your grandmother rest in peace and her wings carry her to a beautiful place.
  • Angels are with us forever. Your grandmother is already looking down upon you all and knows how much you love her. I am sorry for your enormous loss.
  • My heart is with you right now. May your mother be the eternal light and guidance to you from above.
  • My condolences. May your mother transcend in peace, love and oneness.
  • Sorry to hear of your mom passing. A new angel has been anointed today. Much love to you and your family.
  • May the Lord comfort you in your time of sorrow. With deepest sympathy. xoxo
  • Bless *the person who passed*, bless you and bless your whole family. I feel very sad to hear of your loss. I know the love you share will remain and you’ll be strongly connected in spirit.
  • My prayers to you and your family for your loss. xxx
  • My heart, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.
  • Your father fought bravely, but he had a higher calling. May peace and strength be with you all.
  • Sending angels to hold you in their wings.
  • Sorry for you loss. Praying for peace and the memories of joy to fill the sadness.
  • Blessings


A sample template of a note of condolence

Dear _____________,

I am very sorry to hear about the passing of your _________________.

I know this must be a difficult time for you now. Please trust that we care about you and our thoughts are with you and your family.

Your _________________ was such a kind, loving soul. I was lucky to have met him/her. I remember the time we _________________.


I will always be here to support you.

Warmest regards,

[Sign your name] _____________________


The components of a condolence letter

Writing a condolence letter in calligraphyEven if you select a condolence card with just the right message inside, adding a brief personal touch adds an extra level of warmth are care.

When writing a condolence note or letter, use this as a guide:

  1. Use the name of the person you’re writing to. eg Dear ……………
  2. Acknowledge the loss and refer to the deceased by name (or the relationship to the recipient of the letter (eg “your mother”).
  3. Express your sympathy.
  4. If you knew the person personally, or had heard positive stories about that person, note one or more of the deceased’s special qualities.
  5. End with a thoughtful and warm hope, wish, or sympathy expression.

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