Sympathy verses -- for death notices, bereavement cards and even memorials -- can be just as easy to write as they are to find. The key to use a saying or expression that not only comes from the heart but one that is not construed as an insensitive cliché.
About Sympathy Verses
Sympathy verses are used in a variety of ways when a loved one dies. Traditionally, these sayings are written on bereavement cards or letters, or when signing memorial or obituary guest books. Grieving individuals cherish the sentiments given to them by loved ones and may refer to them periodically.
When someone you know loses a family member or friend, you should send a sympathy card as soon as possible. Many times, the pre-written sympathy verse or saying is exactly what you want. However, depending on the circumstances, there are instances when writing your own verses are more appropriate. Acceptable sympathy verses include:
- A simple apology such as "I'm sorry."
- An offer to help: "What can I do to help?"
- An offer to keep the family in daily thoughts and prayers
- A promise to call (and mean it!)
- Something short and simple such as "Be patient with yourself" or "It's OK to cry and be upset."
- If all else, simply state you don't know what to say because the loss is just too painful.
There are situations where traditional sympathy verses for death aren't appropriate, for instance when a child dies. While many greeting card companies created bereavement cards for this type of loss, there really isn't much that can be said to comfort grieving parents. Many of the cards available are generic in nature and don't always specify the type of death you want, such as stillbirth, miscarriage or other tragedy. In these instances, writing your own verse is appropriate. Say exactly what you want to say and keep it heartfelt. Show the parents just how sad you are over the death of their child. When expressing sympathy for the death of a child:
- Unless you've been in their shoes, do not say you understand
- Always mention the child by his or her first name
- Don't say he or she is in a better place
- Don't remind the parents that they can have more children
What You Shouldn't Say
When comforting a bereaved family member or friend, there are several things you shouldn't do, even if you think you are helping:
- Don't say or write anything ill about the person who died no matter what kind of person he or she was
- Don't tell parents who have lost a child that they can have another one
- Never compare the bereaved person's loss to one that you endured; everyone grieves differently
- There is no need to go about your personal life in a condolence letter; keep the sentiments simple
Finding Sympathy Verses for Death Condolences Online
If you are not comfortable or are unsure of what to write on a sympathy card, the Internet can offer a plethora of ideas. Everything from religious sayings and Bible verses to traditional expressions of grief are available. A few websites offering free sympathy sayings for use by the general public for private use only are:
- Making Greeting Cards: Choose from simple religious quotes or traditional poems
- Heavens Inspirations: Select from a variety of original Christian verses that can be used for cards, memorials or websites
- Simple Sympathy: Offers several religious and non-religious verses, as well as links to similar websites
- Top Bible Verses: Select from Old and New Testament Bible scriptures that can easily be used on bereavement cards
Keep in Mind
Remember that you don't need to be wordy expressing sadness over the death of a loved one. A few simple words or thoughts really are sufficient. As always, make sure you check your spelling and grammar, and if mailing the letter, double check the address to make sure it is correct. If you are sending the card or letter to a close friend or family member, follow up with a phone call a week or so later reminding the bereaved that you are thinking of him or her