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Writing Words of Sympathy & Comfort: The Ultimate Guide

This is a comprehensive guide on writing words of sympathy and comfort. If you’re struggling to offer comfort to a grieving friend you’ll find this incredibly helpful. You’ll find out exactly what to avoid and also some of the most helpful things that you can do.

Words of Sympathy: What Actually Helps

Writing words of sympathy is one of the most difficult things we do and so few of us know how to do it in a supportive way. We find ourselves procrastinating instead of getting that card in the mail. The fear of saying the wrong thing can leave us…at a loss for words.

We know that nothing we say or do can take away the pain. We know that grief cannot be fixed with a gift or flowers. We can’t imagine what they are going through.

We may want to avoid the whole depressing situation altogether.

Did you know that most bereavement forums have a section devoted to venting about the rude and insensitive things people have said?

Did you know that many grieving people feel isolated from their friends and family?

Here’s the amazing thing about all of this. The things that we could do to really help and be supportive are actually very simple.

It’s the simple things we do to express sympathy actually mean the most.

Things like offering a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a comforting card, a phone call, a song, a poem, a thoughtful gift, a prayer, or simply giving a hug.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Leo Buscaglia

Things That Get in the Way

When we start to make it complicated by trying to fix things or provide explanations we get into trouble. This is when we are most likely going to put our in our mouth, as the expression goes.

Simple sympathy is all about doing the little things that really make a difference.

  • No advice
  • No solutions
  • No easy answers

Ideas for Writing Words of Sympathy & Comfort

It can seem overwhelming, but looking at sample messages can give you a lot if ideas for your own message. Starting with a blank page makes it more overwhelming, but when you look at sample messages it’s easy to write something with your own style.

Here are a few sample messages to inspire you:

  • I am sending you a hug and my love through this note.
  • I was deeply saddened to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you.
  • I wish you peace and healing during this time.
  • We join all of you in your sorrow.
  • With caring thoughts
  • Wishing you as much peace as possible during this difficult time.
  • Thinking of you in this difficult time.
  • Sending you strength to get through this difficult time. With love
  • Thinking of you and wishing you hope in the midst of sorrow, comfort in the midst of pain.
  • We are very saddened to hear of your recent loss. Wishing you peace and comfort.
  • My heart goes out to you and your family at this difficult time. Please know that you’re in our thoughts.

Sympathy Cards Made Easy

One of the very best things that you can do to comfort a hurting friend is to send a card.

What can a sympathy card do? I know that a card doesn’t seem like a lot, but many people are comforted by kind words hand-written in a beautiful card. Sympathy cards and letter are oftentimes kept, treasured and re-read during sad times.

What should you write in a card?

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