Condolence Messages for Different Occasions

Knowing what to write in a condolence message or sympathy note can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t written one before. It can be difficult to find the right words or to put your thoughts onto paper.

We’ve put together some helpful phrases to inspire you, whether you’re writing a condolence message to:

  • a family member,
  • a friend,
  • a co-worker or acquaintance.

​​​​​​​Also included are phrases for many circumstances including:

  • loss of a parent,
  • loss of a sibling,
  • loss of a spouse,
  • loss of a child,
  • and even loss of a pet.
For a friend or family member

​​​A condolence message to a friend or family member can be personal and intimate. Feel free to personalise the message with anecdotes and memories of their loved one. You can also express your feelings of sadness and grief here, and let them know that you are there for them.

  • “My dear [name of friend], my heart goes out to you for your loss. Know that you’re not alone and you can call me at any time if you need to.”
  • “I know you’re going through a really hard time right now. I’m here for you, always.”
  • “We’re going to miss [name] terribly. We know how much she meant to you and how much you miss her. We’re thinking of you.”
  • “Take your time and be patient with yourself. I’ll be here for you when you need me. Sending you all my love.”
For a co-worker or acquaintance

Writing a condolence note to someone you don’t know very well, like a co-worker or acquaintance, can be difficult. We recommend keeping the message short, simple, and as professional as possible. You don’t need to add a personal anecdote or memory to the condolence note in this case.

  • “Please accept my sincere condolences at this sad time. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.”
  • “My deepest condolences to you and your family during this difficult time.”
  • “Thinking of you and your family. Take as long as you need. We’re here for you.”

Tip: If you didn’t know the person who died you can mention their good qualities from stories you’ve heard about them.

  • “I never got to meet [name] but they seemed like a wonderful friend. I know their loss must seem unimaginable. Thinking of you.”
For someone who has lost a parent

Losing a parent is incredibly difficult for anyone, no matter how old they are or what their relationship with their parent was like. Offer your sympathies and comfort during this difficult time.

  • “We’re so saddened by the loss of your dad. He was such a wonderful man who taught us all so much. We’ll all miss him terribly.”
  • “My deepest sympathies for the loss of your mum. I remember how alone I felt when I lost my mum. I’m here for you.”
  • “Your dad’s legacy will always live on in you and your brothers. He always told me how proud he was of you.”

Tip: If you’ve also lost a parent you can let your friend know that you understand how they may be feeling, but try to avoid making the message about yourself. Keep the focus on your friend’s needs during this time.

For someone who has lost a sibling

The special bond we share with our siblings can never be replaced. You can let the recipient know that you share in their grief and understand the magnitude of their loss. If you knew their sibling you can share a memory about them.

  • “Words can’t express how much we’ll miss [name of sibling]. [He/she/they] was such a wonderful friend and [brother/sister/sibling]. Our hearts go out to you and [his/her/their] family.”
  • “I’ll always remember [name of sibling] as the happy, fun, wonderful person they were. I’m here if you want to talk about them and reminisce about the good old days.”
  • “I can’t imagine what you’re going through right now. Nothing can ever replace the special bond between siblings. I’m here for you.”

Tip: If the person who died was nonbinary, trans, or gender fluid you should use the name and pronouns they had chosen for themselves. If you’re unsure, ask those close to them.

For someone who has lost a partner or spouse

When someone loses a life partner they can feel unmoored and alone. For many people, a spouse is a best friend, co-parent, and teammate. With your condolences you can offer to help out in any way you can, and remember their spouse’s good qualities.

  • “I’m so grateful I got to know [spouse’s name]. [He/she] was a wonderful partner, parent, and friend. [He/she] will be truly missed by all who knew [him/her].”
  • “[Spouse’s name] was such a kind, warm person. I’ll never forget the way [he/she] was there for me when my mum died. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time.”
  • “We’re thinking of you and the kids during this difficult time. Don’t hesitate to call me up for anything. I’d be honoured to help out in any way I can. I’ll check in with you soon. All my love.”
For someone who has lost a child

​​​​​​The loss of a child is unimaginable. During this time families will need all the help and support they can get, as completing even simple tasks will feel impossible. Offer support and understanding.

  • “I can’t imagine what you’re going through. Allow me to help in any way I can. I’d be happy to help out at home/babysit/with any paperwork/with the funeral arrangements.”
  • “[Child’s name] was such a special little [boy/girl]. [He/she] lit up the room. We’re so grateful we got to know [him/her].”
  • “[Child’s name] was an incredible young person who touched so many lives. I’ll cherish every memory I have with them. I’m here for you, if you need anything.”
For someone who has lost a pet

Pets are a part of the family and their deaths can be an indescribable loss. Whether it was a dog, cat, bird, hamster, farm animal, or even a reptile, the bond between owner and pet is special.

  • “[Pet’s name] was the sweetest [animal], even though he could be a little terror! I know how much you’ll miss him.”
  • “[Pet’s name] was so lucky to have had you as an owner. You gave her a wonderful life filled with yummy treats and lots of love. We’re going to miss her so much, too.”
  • “[Pet’s name] is in kitty heaven with all the treats he can have. I’ll never forget the day you brought him home and how tiny he was. I’d be happy to help organise a memorial for him.”


For if someone has suffered a miscarriage

A miscarriage is a deeply personal type of grief that requires the utmost sensitivity and gentleness from loved ones. People process the grief of a miscarriage in different ways. Offer understanding and love in your condolence message.

  • “I know how deep your grief must be right now. You’re in my thoughts.”
  • “I am so sorry for your unimaginable loss. Know that you can take your time to heal. We love you.”
  • “Grief doesn’t follow a schedule. We know how painful this is, and we’re here for you.”


For sensitive circumstances

There are times when extra sensitivity and kindness is required. For example, if someone has died by suicide, in an accident, from a terminal illness, or in another unexpected or sudden manner. Express your condolences in a non-judgemental way and avoid mentioning the details of their death.

  • “I was deeply saddened to hear about [name of person who has died]. He was so loved by all of us. We’re going to miss him.”
  • “I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts during this sad time. [Name] was such a special person who will be missed by so many of her friends and family.”


Taking the time to write a condolence message is a beautiful way to show you care. When in doubt, remember to write from the heart and focus on the needs of the person who is grieving. No matter the circumstances the bereaved will appreciate a heartfelt message from you.


Need more guidance?

For guidance on how to write the perfect condolence message in a few easy steps, read our blog here. You’ll learn what to include in a sympathy note, what to avoid, how to address the recipient, how to sign off, and whether to post a handwritten note or send a message on social media. We’ve also included an example condolence message that you can use as a template.

We hope you found this article helpful and informative.  Here are some more helpful articles from our website:

How Can Books Help Through Grief?

12 Ways To Help A Friend Through Grief