Writing a sympathy note for someone's loss is always a challenge. Words rarely seem sufficient to convey the comfort you intend. It can feel even more daunting in a professional setting when you're unsure how to address a very emotional and personal situation.
However, a condolence message for the loss of a loved one is often something people who are grieving appreciate the most. Simply acknowledging someone's pain and extending a sense of community in the workplace can offer needed emotional support.
In a related post, we covered some best practices for writing heartfelt sympathy messages to coworkers and colleagues. The following content offers examples of these guidelines in action. Use them as inspiration for your words, or personalize one of these sentiments in your own condolence card or sympathy gift.
Condolences to a coworker from the group
- Everyone at the office is thinking of you. We hope you feel our best wishes and combined efforts in our support of you right now.
- Sincere condolences from your work family. You are one of us, and we feel sorrow with you.
- Sending care and condolence to you and your family-from all in your work family.
- Please know that many of us are thinking of you at this time of sorrow. May you find strength and peace.
- We wish you strength during this difficult time. Our thoughts are with you and your family.
- May you have courage and peace during this time of mourning.
- A loss like this is heartbreaking. We hope you know we are by your side during this time of sorrow.
- Our words cannot take away the pain of loss, but we hope you find solace in knowing there are people who care about you. Deepest condolences.
When a colleague has lost a loved one
- I heard about the loss of [your relative]. I'm so sorry about their passing. I wish you and your family the best during this time of sorrow.
- My heart goes out to you right now. Stay strong.
- Sending you strength to get through this difficult time.
- My deepest sympathies for your loss.
- I am deeply saddened to hear of your loss. May you be well.
- I hope you find comfort at this time of loss. My sincere sympathies to you and your family.
- May loved ones around you bring you strength and help ease the pain. Know I'll be thinking of you.
- I heard about [your relative's] passing. This must be a very difficult time for you. I'm keeping you in my thoughts.
- Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss. I hope you have many family members and friends around you to share support and happy memories. My condolences.
When a colleague has lost a parent
- Please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of your [father/mother]
- I am sorry to hear about the loss of your [mother/father]. Wishing you comfort and peace.
- May you have happy and meaningful memories of your [father/mother] to bring you comfort. My sympathy and best wishes at this difficult time.
- Wishing you my sincere sympathies for the loss of your [dad/mom]. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
- May you have the strength and courage to bear the loss of your [mom/dad]. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.
- Losing a parent is heartbreaking. You have my most heartfelt sympathies during this time.
When a colleague has passed away
Long-time coworkers can feel like part of your family. Extend your care and concern to their own families should a coworker or colleague pass away. It is a good idea to share fond memories, as well. Even if you did not know family members well, give your well wishes and a happy memory or two. The right words can offer great comfort and perhaps even new perspectives on how others saw their loved one.
Condolence messages for a coworker's family member
- I hope this message finds you surrounded by strength and compassion. [Name] was loved by many. You are as well.
- Your family extends to ours at the office. We share in your grief and wish you peace.
- [Name] will be sorely missed. [Their] memory and impact will always be felt here.
- It was a joy to work with [name], and I will always remember [him/her/them] here.
- My thoughts are with you and your family. Our company was a better place to work because of [name].
- The loss of [name] will be felt by many. We will continue to celebrate [his/her/their] personality, contributions, and memories.
- [Name] will always be in our hearts and memories.
- The loss of [name] leaves a huge hole in our lives. The office will not be the same without [them]. We share the burden of your loss and wish you peace.
- I have many cherished memories of [name] at work. Here's one I hope you can add to remembrances of [them].
- I was part of [name's] team and was able to see [their] sense of fairness in action. I never worried when there was a big decision because I knew it would be the right one.
- I can't imagine what you must be going through, but I wanted you to know my thoughts are with you. Please accept my condolences.
- Sending my sorrow and deepest sympathy to you and your family. Please be well.
When a coworker has lost a position
Sometimes, condolences are appreciated not only in times of loss of life but also in the smaller (but still significant) realm of career. If a coworker was not promoted when they had been hoping for the opportunity, or if hard times have led to layoffs, you can still show that you care during this stressful time. Here are some examples of what you might say in a sympathy card:
- I'm sorry you've been placed in this difficult position.
- It has always been a pleasure to get to work with you.
- I am confident that your talent and skills will only take you upward.
- I enjoyed getting to know you and working with you. We will miss you around the office.
- Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help you and your family during this time.
If you are in a position to help them find a new job, let them know they have a direction they could go in. Be careful not to advise them on what to do; just let them know they can reach out to you if they'd like your help.
- If you'd like me to write a recommendation letter or add to your resume, I'd be happy to.
- I have connections with [company] if you'd like me to put in a good word for you.
If you were close in the workplace, try to keep that relationship with them. People need to know that they are more than their jobs. If you genuinely enjoyed their company, you don't need to stop supporting them as friends once you are no longer coworkers.
Sympathy message examples that share fond memories
- Besides being a great team member, [name] always made me laugh. On April Fool’s Day, everything on my desk was wrapped in pastel unicorn paper. It was weeks before I found out that was [name’s] idea.
- I have many cherished memories of [name] at work. Here’s one I hope you can add to remembrances of [him/her].
- I was part of [name’s] team and was able to see [his/her] sense of fairness in action. I never worried when there was a big decision, because I knew it would be the right one.
As you share condolence notes or sympathy gifts in the workplace, follow common sense standards like setting an appropriate tone, avoiding advice and potential social gaffes, and staying on point. These and other best practices are outlined in our article about Sharing Sympathy with Coworkers and Colleagues.
Spoonful of Comfort is honored to have helped thousands of people send condolence gifts and sympathy food baskets. If you’re sending a care package and are still not sure what to say, our Customer Care Team is more than happy to help. We appreciate the trust people extend to us during difficult giving situations and we are privileged to have learned from their experience and wisdom.
You may also find helpful advice about writing other types of messages in professional settings. See our articles like How to Say Get Well to a Colleague or How to Show Support on Administrative Professionals Day.