Writing a Condolence Message

When someone you know passes away, it’s traditional to send a message of condolence to their close family.

Many people send simple, short messages and these are usually enough. But if you were particularly close to the person who passed, or their family, you might want to send a longer and more personal message to show how much you cared for them and what they meant to you.

Showing family members how much that person meant to other people can help comfort them. But it can also be difficult to know what to say, how to properly express it and how to word things correctly too.

To help you write your message, we’ve put together a guide on writing a condolence message.

Sending the Message

It’s up to you how you want to send the message, whether that’s physically or digitally. Physically may add a more personal touch, but digitally can work too depending on your relationship. If it’s clear thatthe relative you plan on sending the message to usually uses social media to discuss personal things like family then it should be fine. Just as long as you use the appropriate channels to do so, such as messaging them privately rather than posting publicly.

There are many sympathy cards to choose from online and in shops, see if you can find onethat has some sort of connection to the deceased person. Perhaps a card with a favourite colour or flower on it.


Funeral director’s websites also contain resources where you can get advice about writing condolences, obituaries or giving you a general understanding of the funeral process. Just search something like funeral directors leigh to find directors local to you.

Starting the Message

It might be difficult knowing where to start, especially if you’re not used to writing. But sensitive topics like this can be a challenge for anyone. Try a practice draft first and then read it out to see if there are bits you need to cut out or change.

Start simple with a “Dear…” and then try to include every close family member’s name. Then open with a sentence that offers your condolences. You can word this in a variety of ways. If you need ideas, try“I’m so sorry to hear of your loss” or “I’m deeply saddened to hear about the loss of your mother”.

Personalising the Message

Now that you’ve opened the message in the usually expected way, you can start to add some more personal touches to it. Mention some of the deceased’s good qualities. Hearing of this will comfort the relatives, with it being nice to know they were loved by other people too. You could say something like “I will miss their great sense of humour” or “They were always so kind and would help anyone”.

If you didn’t know them that well but still wanted to send a condolence message for several reasons such as:

  • You are friends with the family
  • You used to know them when you were younger (i.e. you went to school with them but moved away or grew apart)
  • Any other reason

You could mention somethingthat other people have said about them. For example, you could say something like “By all accounts they were such a kind person”. You could even say “I wish I’d known them better, they seemed like such a lovely person”.

Share a Memory or Story

To add more uniqueness to your condolence message, tell a story about the person if you have one. It can be comforting to the family to hear something new about their loved one. It could be something simple such as the first time you met, last time you saw them or a time when they helped you.

Ending the Message

Towards the end of the message you can add things like your offer of support, if you are able. You can offer help with tasks like looking after children or just mention that you’re here if they need to talk.

Depending on if the letter reaches them before or after the funeral, you could either confirm if you are able to attend or say what a great tribute the funeral was if you went.

You can then sign off with something like “with caring thoughts” or “all my love” depending on your closeness to the family. Remember to keep it appropriate and if you have any doubts about a sentence, it might be best to leave it out.