When someone you know passes away there can be a lot of feelings circling around in your head and your heart. You might think about the good times you had with the person or even regret that you never got to check something off your bucket list together because you thought there was more time. Whatever your reaction, their family, and friends are also grieving. If you send a condolence card, it’s a great way to provide comfort and support during a trying time. But where do you even begin? The thought of writing a condolence note can be intimidating, but it can help everyone heal. So, how do you write a heartfelt sympathy note that will soothe and touch the heart?

Start With a Short, But Sweet Introduction

The most important thing to keep in mind is that condolence notes should be short and sweet. They are not meant to be long-winded, instead just offering a few comforting statements and words of encouragement. When you start a condolence letter, you should first introduce yourself if you are sending a card to the widower or eldest child of the deceased and you do not know them.

Express Your True Feelings of Condolence and Appreciation

After addressing the sympathy note, the next step is to express your sympathy and acknowledge the loss. This can be the part where most people get hung up because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. Just remember to keep it simple and express how you’re really feeling. You can say something simple like, “We are so sorry for your loss,” or “I was saddened to hear that your father passed away. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.” Either of those statements or variations of them will work, but feel free to get a bit more personal if you feel comfortable.

If you were closer to the deceased, you may also want to express your appreciation of them. These statements are when you explain how much the deceased meant to you and it can be very uplifting for people to hear how much their deceased loved ones were cherished by those around them. Something like, “What an amazing person your father was. I feel so blessed that I got to know him,” or “Your mother was an amazing lady and I feel privileged to have gotten to know her,” or “I have the most fantastic memories with your sister as a child. She truly was an amazing woman who blessed everyone she encountered with her generosity and kindness.” For someone that you were extremely close with, you can also share a specific memory that you had with the deceased. If not, keeping your sympathy note general is okay as well.

Offer Help If Appropriate

Depending on your relationship with the deceased and the sympathy note recipient, you can also offer to help if. Obviously, you wouldn’t offer to do the housework for someone that you aren’t close with, but if it’s appropriate you can offer to assist with housework, cooking meals, yard work or even child care. However, if you’re going to say it you better mean it! If you aren’t close to the deceased’s family, it’s perfectly okay to skip this and go right to the closing. You don’t need to offer help to have a thoughtful condolence letter.

End With a Touching Closing

When you are ending a sympathy note, you should include two things. The first is a message about following up or checking in on them at a later date. This serves as a comforting reminder that even after the sympathy flowers wither, they still won’t be left on their own.

For your touching condolence note closing, you should express your sympathies a final time. Any statement along the lines of, With Sympathy, With love at this trying time, Caring thoughts are with you and your family, Wishing you peace, Thinking of you, or any closings along those lines are best.

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