There is an immediate desire to reach out to a relative or a friend who has lost someone close but finding the right words to use in condolence messages when someone dies is not easy. There are condolence messages in bought sympathy cards, but you may prefer to write a personal formal letter to better convey your own deepest sympathy messages. Some prefer the ubiquitous email but, for condolence messages following a bereavement, a personal letter is more correct. However, whichever you prefer, the right words are hard to find.
Suggestions for condolence messages to include in your letter
Begin the letter:
Condolence messages may start with an acknowledgement such as:
Please accept my heartfelt condolences following your (name’s) death.
May the Lord bless and comfort you and your family during this time of grief.
I was saddened/shocked to learn of the death/passing of (name) on (date)
How to end condolence messages
There are several ways to end sympathy messages other than with "Sincerely," and you can be more specific with one of these ideas:
My/our thoughts are with you.
Thinking of you in these difficult times.
My/our prayers are with you and your family.
My/our heart(s) go out to you in your time of sorrow.
Sharing in your sadness with love and friendship.
No words can describe how sorry I am for your loss.
My/our deepest sympathy to you all
With a caring heart,
With fond memories,
Sending you big hugs,
With love and warm wishes,
Sending wishes for strength and peace,
With our thoughts and prayers,
Thinking of you,
With heartfelt sympathy,
With deepest condolences,
Refer to the person with a personal reference, according to one’s relationship, such as:
(name) was such a special person with a huge sense of humour
I remember the time we went to (place) and (name) won first prize for her dahlias in the flower show
Do you remember the holiday we all had in (place) and (name) swam out to the island (or some special feat/event)
(name) would always put others before himself and was such a support to me during my illness
A brief paragraph referring to the deceased’s career, achievements, awards and published work is always appreciated.