Offers of condolences should be responded to with a basic acknowledgement and a simple thank you verbally or in writing. An example of a condolences thank you note is: "It was very nice of you to think of me in this time of sadness. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers." A well-wisher will not expect an in-depth message, and a simple acknowledgement is enough.
It can be hard to know what to say when offering condolences to someone who is grieving. The goal is to offer concern and compassion without saying something that may increase their pain. The bereaved need friends and family to offer support and let them know that they care.
Some examples of things to say to those who are grieving include, "I'm sorry for your loss," "You are in my thoughts" and "This must be so hard for you." These phrases offer support without making assumptions about how someone should grieve.
On the same note, there are certain things that should not be said to someone who is grieving. For example: "I know how you are feeling," "Now you can start moving on with your life" and "Don't worry, you will feel better soon." These are all things that should not be said because they are more presumptuous than supportive and may only serve to further upset the bereaved.