In Anglo-Saxon countries, and not only there, it is a very popular, widespread custom to send a condolence card to a family that has suffered the loss of a loved one. Writing a sympathy card, however, is not easy. We may not know either what to say or how to say it. We may be afraid to say something wrong or to not fully express what we are feeling.
Do not fear, regardless of the words you use the kindness behind the gesture of sending a card itself will be greatly appreciated. Additionally, it is not necessary to write a lot. If you did not know the deceased well, some well-written lines will be enough to show affection and empathy towards the family that is in mourning.
We are very sorry for your loss.
With heartfelt condolences.
Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.
I am very sorry to hear about your grandmother.
Like you, we also feel the lack of John’s presence.
Thinking about you and wishing you comfort and peace.
The news of your father’s death greatly saddened me. My heartfelt condolences.
Words of Appreciation
If you knew the deceased well, adding words of appreciation about an aspect of their personality or sharing what you remember about them can make a difference and offer comfort to the recipients. Adding something special and positive about the deceased that their relatives recognize as part of their character can help them to conserve good memories.
I will not forget your dad’s smile and great sense of humour. He made every moment fun and enjoyable.
What an amazing person! I am grateful to have had the privilege of knowing him / her.
Your mum was a great friend of mine. I will forever cherish our precious memories.
Your sister was an amazing lady and a wonderful teacher. All the good things she did will always be remembered by those who had the pleasure of knowing her.
To Conclude the Message
End your card with a short and precise closing, then add your signature.
With my deepest condolences,
Thinking of you,
Sharing your sadness,
Please, accept our condolences,
Keeping you in our prayers,
Generally, flowers for the funeral are sent by the closest relatives. These are large floral arrangements often decorated to transmit a message about the deceased person or about the relationship between the deceased and those who sent the flowers.
In case you are thinking of sending flowers to the home of the family in mourning, these floral arrangements are smaller and may include the same flowers that were used at the funeral: gladiolus, snapdragons, lilies, chrysanthemums, carnations, and roses. There is, in fact, no colour used more than others in Anglo-Saxon countries. Arrangements with lilac, yellow, and pink flowers are appropriate, while white is always considered classic as well as a symbol of loyalty and purity. Even potted plants are considered a pleasing detail that will last longer than a bouquet of flowers.
Now, if the deceased was of the Jewish faith, it is likely that the family would observe “Shiva” at their home for seven days. During this week, friends and relatives go to the family home to provide comfort and share in their pain. In this case, sending flowers is not suitable, but baskets of food and fruit are sent instead.
These have been some useful tips for sending condolence messages in English. Nevertheless, before writing your card, take a moment to think about the deceased person, their loved ones, their religious beliefs, and their culture. If you are interested in learning more about Anglo-Saxon culture, you will definitely find the ABA English course interesting. We offer 144 video classes and well as short films drawn from real-life episodes that will help you learn about various aspects of British and American culture.