How to Sign a Sympathy Card

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How do you sign a sympathy card? No matter who the card is for, whether a close family friend, an acquaintance or a distant relative, it can be hard to figure out the right things to say to someone who is grieving.

Sometimes it seems like there are no words to adequately express what you are feeling. And you don’t want to ramble on and on, so how do you end and “sign off” your sympathy message?

Today we’ll be sharing with you:

  • Tips for writing your sympathy message, from the beginning
  • Tips for ending/signing your sympathy card appropriately
  • Some examples to help you accomplish both of those tasks

Let’s get started.

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Why Send a Sympathy Card?

Sympathy cards are a type of greeting card that you can purchase or make yourself to send to someone. It’s an expression of your sympathy, and a reminder to them that you are thinking about them in their time of grief.

When someone you know has lost a loved one, sending a sympathy card is not only customary, it’s also just a nice thing to do.

You can also send an e-card if you prefer not to send a paper one. Or you can send an email or text message much the same.

When to Send a Sympathy Card

Send it Right Away

Generally, you mail or hand-deliver a sympathy card to the person it’s intended for not longer after you hear about their loved one’s passing.

Other Meaningful Dates

It may also be appropriate to send a card or condolence message on a subsequent date, such as a death anniversary or a special holiday. These are times that can be particularly difficult, so a card will be a very welcome show of support.

For more inspiration regarding death anniversaries, please see here.

When You Hear About It

If you hear about a passing after the fact, it’s perfectly okay to go ahead and send your condolences then. The family will appreciate you thinking of them and taking the time to let them know now.

Feel free to be honest about the fact that you just found out about the death of their loved one: “I just heard about ________. I am so, so sorry.”

How to Sign a Sympathy Card

Now let’s take a look at what all goes into writing and signing a sympathy card, from start to finish.

It’s important to remember to be yourself as you write. You should be sincere, of course, but there is no need for you to overdo it.

What I mean is this: don’t think too much about your sympathy message before you even start it. Yes, your loved ones are grieving, but they are still, well, them.

So many people don’t know how to approach a grieving person, as if they have changed in some drastic way now that their loved one has died. Your loved one has no doubt experienced this, so being the same you will bring them more comfort than you know.

Because rest assured that your integrity it will come across in your writing.

Still, sometimes it’s helpful to have some sort of idea about what to write. Here are 101 condolence messages you can borrow, adapt, or simply copy.

Tip #1: Begin with Some Words of Comfort

Grab some paper and a pen (or your laptop or cell phone, whatever medium you prefer). Jot down some notes and get everything you want to say organized before you write it in ink into the card. Or you’ll be headed right back to the store to pick up another one!

You may even want to write a rough drafts of sorts, before penning the final message into the card.

In any case, you’ve got to get the intro down first. Here are some examples of short intros, and a little bit longer ones, to help get you started:

You can keep it short and sweet…

  • “Dear ________, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of _________. They were a wonderful person inside and out; we will all miss him/her sorely.”
  • “Hi _________. Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of ________. I know that there is nothing I can say right now that would bring you the same comfort of having them back again, but please accept my sincere condolences.”
  • “__________, what can I say? Except that I am so, so sorry to hear about __________’s passing. He/she is no longer suffering, even if that is the one thing we can be thankful for right now.”
  • “Sweet _______, may the Lord bring you comfort as you begin to process your great loss. There is nothing like the loss of a _________, but that said, a Bible verse that always helps me during periods of deep mourning is ____________.”

(Pssst…see here for comforting Scriptures appropriate to include in your sympathy card.)

…Or make it as long and heartfelt as you’d like.

  • “____________, it’s been way too long. I can’t believe that it took something like this to prompt me to reach out to you. I am so, so sorry about ___________. If there is anything at all that I can do for you and your family, please let me know. Keep in mind that I am just a phone call away if you need anything…in fact, I’m sure there is something I could do for you right now. Name it and I’ll be there. Here is my number/email address:_____________.”
  • “I can’t believe that I’m sitting here writing this to you. How could it possibly be that _______ is gone? He/she was so full of life, it just seems impossible. I can’t even begin to imagine what you must be going through right now, and I’ve been wracking my brain trying to make sense of it all. But deep down I know that we just have to trust in God and lean not on our own understanding.
  • “Hi, _________. I just heard about __________. I’m in utter shock and really don’t know where to begin. I am so very sorry that you are having to deal with this right now. _________ was such a wonderful person; I have so many memories and stories to share with you the next time I see you. Please just let me know when you would like to get together to do that. In the meantime, I would like to share just one special memory I have of ________.”

For more inspiration figuring out what to write in your sympathy card, see our guide on What to Write in a Sympathy Card.

And speaking of memoriesā€¦.

Tip #2: Share a Memory or Story You Have of the Deceased

That brings us to our next tip: add in a special memory or story of the deceased (it can be funny, that’s totally okay) to help brighten your loved one’s day.

This is the kind of content that turns greeting cards (especially sympathy cards) into keepsakes:

  • “I remember this one time, me and _____________ went on this trip together to _________. It was just the two of us, and it was during this trip that I first got a real sense of his/her sense of humor! [Insert joke/funny story].
  • “_________ was the most kind-hearted person I know. He/she once [insert a time when the deceased did something thoughtful for someone else/showed their generous side.]
  • “Not many people knew this about ________, but he/she….”
  • “Did you know that ________ knew how to [insert unique talent]? I hope they wouldn’t mind me telling you about it now!”
  • “_________ always spoke so highly of you. He/she once had this to say about you:_____________. Obviously, they loved you very much, as I’m sure you still love them.”

Tip #3: Finally, Finish & Sign Your Sympathy Card

Now let’s answer the question as to why you landed on this page to begin with: How to sign your sympathy card?

Once you’ve gotten your intro and any memories or stories you’d like to share written out, it’s time to bring your message to a close. When ending a message of condolence, it’s best to keep it short and simple; no need to go on and on about the loved one who has passed, or share too many details about them when they were alive.

Closing Lines

Here are some brief examples to help you close the message in your sympathy card painlessly and seamlessly:

  • Again, please accept my deepest condolences.
  • In loving memory of [decedent’s name].
  • You and the family will be in our thoughts.
  • In Memoriam.
  • I will be praying for you.
  • We’re sending love and prayers your way.
  • You have our heartfelt condolences.
  • We’re thinking of you with much love.


Here are some words and phrases to precede your signature:

  • With sympathy,
  • Our condolences,
  • Yours,
  • Sincerely,
  • Most affectionately,
  • Affectionately yours,
  • Thinking of you,
  • Prayerfully,
  • Love,
  • With much love,
  • Many hugs,
  • Sincerely,

Then simply sign your name. For close friends and relatives, your first name could be enough. But typically you will want to sign your full name.

Read next: Condolence Messages to Express Your Love & Support

Now that you know how to write and sign your sympathy card, it’s time to consider getting your loved a sympathy gift to go along with it. Click on the links below for some mighty inspiration:

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