How to Send Condolences


Many people want to reach out with condolences for friends, coworkers or family members after hearing the news about them losing someone they love or after attending a funeral service at a one of our funeral homes. However, it can be hard to know what to say to someone that is going through the loss of a loved one, especially when trying to craft a sentiment that both acknowledges the loss and provides comfort to the bereaved. 


When you lose a loved one, it can be difficult to know what to say to the bereaved. A simple expression of sympathy can mean so much in those difficult times. Here are some tips on how to send condolences:


What it Means to Send Condolences

When you send condolences, it is an expression of sympathy and support to the bereaved. It is a way to let them know that you are there for them and that you care. Condolences can be sent in any number of ways- in person, over the phone, or through a card or letter.


Tips on Sending Condolences

Tip #1. Use Sympathy Cards

Sympathy cards are the most traditional method of communicating these sentiments to the bereaved in their time of grief, but it can be tricky to accurately convey feelings and ideas. You can express empathy. You might have lost someone, too. And while comparing your loss to the bereaved might seem like a good idea, it may come across as you trying to make it about you. Instead of writing, “I know how you feel” or “I've lost a ___ too”, try writing, “I’m grieving with you” or “I miss ___ too”.


There are many stores and websites that sell sympathy cards. These can be a great way to send condolences because they will already have the right words on them so you don't need to try to think of how to express your feelings in words for someone who is grieving.


Tip #2. Offer to Help

One of the best things that you can do for someone who is grieving is to offer to help. This could be something as simple as taking care of their children while they go to the funeral service, doing their grocery shopping, or walking their dog. Something that takes a burden off of them will be greatly appreciated.


Offering help to the bereaved is always well-intentioned, especially since it can be hard for people to ask for help when they need it. To make it easier for the bereaved to get the help that is specific for their needs, try not to write statements like, “Call me if you need anything.” Instead, try to say “I’m going to go grocery shopping on ____, send me your list and I will be happy to get it for you” or “Here is a gift certificate. Please use this to____.”


 Sometimes you can’t make the service and want to apologize. Listing the various reasons why you couldn’t make a funeral or service may just look like you’re making excuses. Rather than writing, “I didn't make the funeral because ___” try focusing on how you will support them in the future by saying something like, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it. I’m bringing lunch for you on ___ if that works for you.” 


Tip #3. Be Conscious of Their Loss and Grief

When you’re sending condolences, it is important to be aware of the fact that the person who lost a loved one is experiencing grief. It is normal for them to feel many different emotions like sadness, anger, and confusion. You don’t want to say something that will make them feel worse.


There are a variety of ways to express solidarity in your words that are both helpful and soothing. Consider the following: "No one can understand how you're feeling right now, but know that you're not alone. I've been there, and it's excruciating. Just remember that it's fine to be sad." You can also say something like, "My heart is grieving with you."


While they do not require your permission to grieve, it is comforting to know that they are not alone, that crying is acceptable, that the grief is real, and that the loss is significant. If you don't feel comfortable pursuing such concepts, that's fine as well; simply let them know you're grieving as well.


Tip #4. Keep Your Condolence Message Short and Sweet

When it comes to writing a condolence message, brevity is key. This isn't the time to go into great detail about how much you loved the deceased or what they meant to you. A simple sentence expressing your condolences and letting the bereaved know that you're there for them is more than enough.


You don't need to write an entire letter or eulogy, just a few sentences is enough. You can always go the extra mile by writing more, including quotations and verses, and sending a gift or flowers. Those are fantastic, but they aren't required. So don't make this seem like a tremendous undertaking.


Tip #5. Give Them a Call

You can also try to give the bereaved a call to express your emotions and support them in their time of loss. Expressing condolences can be a tricky thing, as it can be hard to know what to say. If you’re at a loss for words, you can try saying things like, “My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.”, “I’ll always remember how [name] would [insert story or characteristic here].”, “There are no words. Just know that I love you and will also miss [name].”, “[Name] was a great person. My sympathies to you and your family.”, “We are so sorry for your loss.”, or “No one can ever replace the remarkable person that your ____ was.”


When to Send Condolences

As soon as possible is always best. If you’re in an emergency situation, sending a text message or email will be fine - although there are some who would suggest that the phone call itself should wait until after the funeral or cremation service has been held to avoid being too disruptive. Otherwise, voice-to-voice conversations and handwritten cards or letters are the most heartfelt. If you have a very close relationship with the family, sending flowers is also an acceptable and appreciated gesture of sympathy.


Many people find it difficult to send condolences. You can still send a message after someone has passed away if you are unable to do so at the time of their death. It's appropriate to apologize for the delay and explain that you struggled to find the correct words in that note. It might be helpful for individuals who have lost someone to know that they are still in your thoughts beyond the initial period of loss and sadness. In short, it's never too late to let someone know you're thinking of them and that you recognize their loss.


Visit Hillcrest Funerals and Cremation today for more information on our Richland, WA funeral home services. Give us a call at (509) 737-9717 (Kennewick) or (509) 547-3321 (Pasco), we’re happy to do whatever we can for you in your time of loss or of preplanning.

Hillcrest Funerals and Cremation
Phone: (509) 737-9717
9353 W Clearwater Ave Kennewick, WA 99336

Hillcrest Funerals and Cremation
Phone: (509) 547-3321
2804 W Lewis St Pasco, WA 99301

Hillcrest at Columbia River Cemetery
Phone: (509) 547-4212
224 S. 24th Ave, Pasco, WA, 99301

© Hillcrest Funerals and Cremation
Crafted with care by Frazer Consultants and TA


Privacy Policy & Terms of Use | Accessibility