A sample sympathy message reads, "My heartfelt condolences to you and your family." Other examples include the formal "Our thoughts are with you and your family during these difficult times," and the more personal sentiment, "Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs."
A sympathy message should convey thoughtfulness and support for the grieving person. Pre-written sympathy cards are available for purchase, as are blank cards in which personal messages may be written. Including personal anecdotes or statements of appreciation and admiration about the decedent such as, "What a good and generous man your father was," is a thoughtful gesture. When appropriate, the writer may include offers to help the grieving person with meals, monetary expenses and other needs, such as, "I hope it makes one less worry to know that I plan to care for the yard for as long as you need." When writing a message to an unfamiliar surviving family member, the sender should include a note about how he or she knew the deceased.
Sympathy messages can be sent via card, e-card, flower arrangements or on memorial Web pages. At funerals, messages of sympathy may be written in a memorial book. Cards may also be sent in the weeks or months following a death, to check in with someone grieving.