How to Write a Condolence Message: The Best Examples of Condolences (updated June 2022)

Express your condolences with a thoughtful message: 100+ examples of heartfelt condolence messages and sympathy notes for every situation.

Writing a condolence message can be tough. What should you say? Or not say? How do you strike the right tone?

From “I am sorry for your loss” and “may he rest in peace” to “we’re deeply saddened” and beyond: sincere condolences are among the most difficult things to write.

Extra: turn your passion into your livelihood

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What you will learn in this article:

Introduction: writing the perfect condolence message

Fortunately, this page will help get you started. It lists more than 100 condolences, sympathy card ideas, and handy tips that you can use in various settings.

What to say to someone who lost someone is indeed a sensitive issue. So learning about how to write condolence message is an invaluable life skill.

Feel free to modify them as you see fit; think of the below messages as starting points, to get you thinking.

General condolence messages

What to say to someone who lost a family member or a dear friend?

The below examples of condolences are appropriate for almost all situations; the best condolence messages are at once timeless and elegant.

  • May peace be with you.
  • As a testament to your strength and courage, you are in our prayers.
  • We hope you find peace and comfort in your time of grief.
  • Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers, and that we are sharing in your sorrow.
  • Let the memories provide comfort in your journey through this loss.
  • I send my prayers and support to you and your family during this difficult time.
  • Please accept my deepest sympathies to you and your family.
  • Rest In Peace, dear friend. Wishing you comfort and peace.
  • My heart is saddened by your loss.
  • My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
  • My heart aches for you and your family.
  • It is never easy to find the words to express our feelings when there are no words that can fully capture the depth of what we’re feeling.
  • We hope you can find comfort in the memories and celebration of their life.
  • Please know how much they will always be loved, deeply and sincerely.
  • We are so sorry for your loss, and send a prayer your way.
  • You have our deepest condolences as you grieve this passing.
may he rest in peace - how to write a condolence message for 2021 - flowers and candles

Condolence messages for loss of mother

What to say to someone who lost their mother? It’s a very sensitive point. The below suggestions will help you get some ideas.

  • I’m so sorry for your sorrow and loss. I know your mother is smiling somewhere, as she watches over all of you.
  • Your dear mother was so loved and was so good to everyone who knew her. She will be missed by so many.
  • May your mother’s soul rest in peace.
  • We deeply miss her, and we pray for you. Her passing is a great loss for so many.
  • Your mother was a gem, and will be greatly missed.
  • I’m truly sorry to hear about your mother. She was such a great person.
  • Your mom touched so many lives. May her spirit continue to live through you and your family.
  • Remembering her wonderful and gentle soul will forever remain in our hearts. May she rest in peace.
  • May her soul rest in peace and light forever. Wishing you peace and comfort.
  • Your mother was such a sweetheart, and was so full of so much love for others. May she rest in peace and be free from pain.
  • I’m so saddened to hear of your loss. Your mother was a wonderful woman. I wish peace and comfort to you and your family.
  • Your dear mother was such a beautiful soul. The world has lost a wonderful person. I know you will hold on to the memories and the lessons she has taught you
  • She taught us that love is the only truth.
  • She was a very special person and always will be. May God be with you and your family in this time of sadness.

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Condolences for loss of father

  • My thoughts and prayers are with you as you deal with your loss and with the absence of your father.
  • Your dear father will be very missed. May he rest in peace.
  • His spirit is everywhere, like a beautiful light that he took with him.
  • My heart goes out to you. I’m terribly sorry for your loss. I know your Dad was a very special man.
  • His soul will live forever in our hearts.
  • We want you to know how deeply, truly, and dearly we will miss him.
  • He touched so many hearts, and opened so many minds.
  • We will never forget him, and are grateful to have had him in our lives.
  • My thoughts and prayers are with you as you are dealing with your loss and with the absence of your father.
  • May your father’s soul rest in peace. He will be forever missed.
  • Your dad was such a wonderful person, and I will always be grateful for the memories I have of him.
  • Your father has taught me how to be a good human being. He was a gentle, kind, and selfless man.
  • We’re happy we had him in our lives.
  • His loving warmth will be forever with us.
  • He will not be forgotten, and will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, my friend.
  • Your father was a very honest and trustworthy man.
bereavement meaning - candles and wine glasses

Religious condolence messages: “May he rest in peace” and beyond

  • May God be with you and your family in this very sad time.
  • I will pray for you all, and keep you in my thoughts.
  • May God grant you and your family the strength to bear this loss.
  • God bless you and keep you in his care.
  • May the Lord bless you in this time of need.
  • May God comfort you during this time of grief.
  • I hope God gives strength to your family during this painful time.
  • May God take care of you and watch over you.
  • We wish that God will grant you the power to overcome this difficult moment.
  • May God’s mercy and blessing be upon your family at this difficult time.
  • God bless the departed soul. We will pray for you.
condolences quotes - bible letters

Biblical condolence messages

What does the Bible say about loss? Or about memories? What does God say about difficult times? The scriptures below will shed some light on those questions.

  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27
  • O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. – Psalms 30:2
  • I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. – Genesis 28:15
  • For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13
  • My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalms 73:26
  • The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. – Psalms 116:5-6
  • And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10
  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28
  • For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. – Corinthians 1:5
  • The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:8
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What a short condolence message needs to say

Short and sincere condolences are sometimes necessary in situations where space is limited, for example on a note attached to a floral bouquet.

Condolences text messages (that is, a condolences SMS) are another example of where every letter counts.

With short messages like these, finding just the right word or words matters deeply.

Of course, it’s important that your words of sorrow be comforting, regardless of what words you use. Below are some examples, all of which are less than 70 characters in length.

  • My deepest condolences for your family’s loss.
  • Condolences to you and your family.
  • Deepest sympathies to you and your family.
  • We send our heartfelt condolences.
  • We want you to know how sorry we are.
  • Please accept our heartfelt condolences.
  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this painful time.
  • I pray for your comfort and strength during this difficult time.
  • I wish peace and mercy upon your family.
  • We are so saddened to hear of your loss.
  • May the soul of the departed rest in peace.
  • We can hardly describe how sorry we were to hear of your loss.
  • Heartfelt condolences to the departed soul.
  • My prayers and heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved family.
  • My thoughts and prayers are with you during this trying time.
  • Our heartfelt condolences to the family. We wish you peace.
  • May the departed soul rest in peace.
  • Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of grief.
condolences text messages - couple in the sun - beyond may he rest in peace

Best sympathy quotes

Sympathy quotes by famous people will help you to craft the perfect condolences. for a friend or family member.

The below examples will help you to embrace the memories of a loved one, the moments of sadness, and the moments of joy in grief and life.

Become the reason that your grief-stricken loved one, colleague, or friends and family smile, even if they are still hurting because they lost a loved one.

You can offer them that smile right now by using the below condolence quotes for inspiration, to let them know that their loved one will never be forgotten.

  • “Across the years I will walk with you, in deep green forests, on shores of sand and when our time on earth is through, in heaven too, you will have my hand.” – Robert Sexton
  • “Earth hath no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” – Thomas Moore
  • “Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison
  • “How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts.” – Dorothy Ferguson
  • “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
  • “It is not length of life, but depth of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow.” –Robert Louis Stevenson
  • “May love be what you remember most.” –  Darcie Sims
  • “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity.” – Terri Guillemets
  • “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” – Thomas Campbell
  • “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller
  • “Wishing you strength for today and hope for tomorrow.” – Renee O’Neill
condolence messages for loss of a pet

The best condolences for a cat or dog (or other pet)

What to say to someone who lost a parent is one thing, but the loss of a pet can also be a very difficult thing to go through.

It can make the grieving pet owner feel lonely and disconnected.

But they are not alone on this journey – there are many other people out there who feel just like they do.

The below “loss of a pet messages” will help you show them that they are not alone in this difficult time. They can also be added to a memorial gift for a lost pet, if you choose to get one.

  • He was a loyal and faithful friend.
  • It’s sad to say goodbye to a great cat/dog.
  • Rest In Peace, little brother/sister.
  • She’ll always be my princess.
  • He was such a fun-loving and sweet cat/dog.
  • Sad to say goodbye to a good friend.
  • You were the perfect companion and the little friend we needed to make our life complete. 
  • Thank you for the happy times. You were a good friend to us.
  • We’ll miss him/her. He/she was a wonderful dog.
  • Goodnight, my friend. We’ll see you at the Rainbow Bridge.
  • He was such a kind and gentle dog/cat.
  • I hope you find comfort in your memories of the good times you shared together.

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How to write sympathy card messages: sincere condolences

If you have recently lost someone close to you, or know someone that has, it is important to show them that they are not alone.

One way of doing this is by writing a sincere sympathy card or message for them, for the loved one, or for their family and friends.

1. Sympathy message writing tips: beyond “thoughts and prayers”

  • The first part of writing a sympathy card is to make sure the words are heartfelt. This means that you are not just saying “I’m sorry for your loss” or something like this, rather you should take some time and really express how much they meant to your life, and what the memories mean to you.
  • In addition, it’s important to write in a tone that conveys the right emotion. If someone has recently passed, you may want to use words and phrases like “passing,” “loss,” “comfort and peace,” “peaceful passage,” “support,” and “safely.”
  • Your choice of words does indeed matter! Express empathy for their pain, letting them know that you share their pain deeply, and are aware that they are grieving now.
  • Keep in mind that while we can’t always know exactly how the person reading feels about your message, they will be grateful for any effort put into writing one.

2. How to sign a (group) sympathy card

  • Use a pen with an ink color that contrasts with the envelope. This will make it easier to find in sorting piles later on.
  • Sign at the bottom right of the front side of the card, and then fold up towards yourself as though addressing an envelope (this way when people sign they’ll be able to see how much room is left).
  • Address your letter below where you signed, but don’t put on a stamp until after everyone has finished signing; sometimes cards can be changed at the very last minute.
  • Write the date of when you’re sending it below your name, and then put a line where people can sign their names
  • Wait about two minutes for the ink to dry after everyone has finished signing before you seal the card.
  • Don’t add anything else besides an address if sending via mail because additional information on the envelope can be read by anyone.
Sample condolence messages for flowers

23 Sample Condolence Messages for Flowers

Grief is a process that takes time to get over, but with the support of friends and family, it is possible to go through the grieving process.

If you are struggling with how to give condolences to someone who has lost a loved one, here are some messages for sympathy flowers or a sympathy gift basket that can help you say what you want in just the right way.

Feel free to combine some of the below suggestions in any way you see fit. See them as “building blocks” that you can use to compose the ideal message based on the specific situation.

Greetings:

  • Dear ___,
  • To the family of:

Main text:

  • We will always cherish the memories we shared with ___. I am sorry for your loss.
  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. You are in our thoughts.
  • My deepest condolences to you and your family.
  • I hope that these flowers bring you some peace.
  • My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.
  • Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your loved one.
  • We will miss __ dearly.
  • ___was such a wonderful friend.
  • We will never forget __.
  • I hope that __ is finally at peace.
  • May ___ rest in peace.
  • I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
  • I’m sorry to hear about the passing of ___. I hope __ finds peace in the next world.
  • I am so sorry to hear about the passing of ___. I hope that you are able to find comfort in the support of friends and loved ones in the next difficult days.
  • I am sorry for your loss. ___ was a dear and kind man, and I will always remember him for his humor, generosity, and care.
  • I am sorry for your loss. ___ was a dear and kind woman, and I will always remember her for her humor, generosity, and care.
  • I was so sorry to hear about ___. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
  • I hope that you are able to find peace and comfort.
  • We’re so sorry to hear about your loss. We hope you will find some peace in the days and weeks ahead.
  • Thank you for being such an important part of our life.
  • ___ will always be in our hearts, and we will never forget the time we spent together.
  • You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
  • I’m here for you.

Closings:

  • Sincerely, _____
  • Most sincerely, ____
  • Love, ____
  • With deepest sympathy, ___
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Beyond “May he rest in peace”: some tips on writing condolences

Writing a sympathy message when someone dies is never easy. Here are some tips to keep in mind for writing sincere condolences.

  • Be compassionate. Express your sympathy to the bereaved by your kind words.
  • Your thoughts should focus on the time you spent with the person.
  • Say something sincere and meaningful. Express how you are feeling in your own words, saying you are sad, grieving, worried,  concerned, etc. 
  • Do not try to say that you understand how they feel. 
  • Try to avoid clichés and vague comments.
  • Tell them you have been thinking about them, saying you are sorry to hear the bad news, and that your thoughts and prayers are with them. 
  • Ask the bereaved about what they might need
  • Remember that it is not about you, or what you have gone through. 
  • Don’t expect the grieving person to reply. They may not reply at all.
  • If possible, avoid mentioning the date of the passing, as it may feel insensitive.
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Grief quotes

We all experience loss at some point in our lives.

Whether it’s the passing of a family member, friend, or pet; breaking up with a significant other; or moving out of state to pursue your dreams – life is full of change and we must learn how to cope.

This grief guide was created for those who are experiencing grief right now and need hope, encouragement, and support during this difficult time.

The quotes below offer an idea of the thoughts and feelings that are shared by those who have experienced grief before you.

They provide insight into what someone might be feeling if they’re going through a similar experience, or they can help to put your own situation in perspective during this difficult time.

  • “I grew old, I grew young again as the day turned along” – W.H Auden
  • “To grieve is to take a break from the minutiae of life and to allow life’s weight, its gravity, to bear down on you. It is not an indulgence but rather a necessary act.” – Dr. Sharon Jayson
  • “There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.” – Geoffrey Chaucer
  • “Grief takes time; there are no shortcuts. You can only hope for understanding friends who listen without judging or offering solutions.” – Robert Farrar Capon
  • “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Tao Te Ching
  • “The days are long but the years are short” – author unknown
  • “I am resolved that someday when I’m ready to die from old age it will not be of fright or sadness” – author unknown

What does a meaningful sympathy message consist of?

A meaningful sympathy message is one that is heartfelt and expresses condolences for the loss of a loved one.

It is important to offer words of hope if possible and to let the grieving person or family know they are not alone.

A meaningful message of sympathy is one that is comforting and thoughtful.

It is not meant to be a long, drawn-out message or conversation, but rather a short, heartfelt message acknowledging the loss and shared grief.

A meaningful message of sympathy may be accompanied by a small gift, such as flowers or a card. It also lets the recipient know they are cared for and supported.

That you are sorry for their loss, that you are thinking of them, and that you are here for them.

short condolence quotes - bird in sky

Helpful links and resources for grief counseling and bereavement support

  • Bereavement help, online grief counseling, and online grief support: the CDC provides this helpful page of bereavement-related links, many of which are specifically tailored to people grieving after the loss of a loved one due to COVID-19.
  • Why do we use the plural “condolences”? And not just “condolence”? As this Wiki page explains, it’s similar to the way we day “regards,” “best wishes,” and “greetings.”

15 comforting phrases for a loved one’s passing

  1. May you find comfort in the memories of the person you lost.
  2. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.
  3. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
  4. I am sorry that you lost someone you loved.
  5. Condolences to your family and friends.
  6. This is a difficult time for you, so I wanted to say that I am here for you.
  7. I know it’s hard to believe that someone you loved has died.
  8. It’s hard to know what to say in a situation like this, but I hope this message helps in some way.
  9. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
  10. May you find comfort in the memories you shared with her.
  11. There are no words that can make this better.
  12. I hope you find peace during this difficult time.
  13. He will always be with you – in your heart and in your memories.
  14. She was a bright light in our lives, and we will never forget her.
  15. You are not alone in this.

Sample condolences email messages, and how to write a letter of condolence

Sometimes you might want to send a slightly longer message — that is, longer than can fit in an SMS or a small card — and here both written letters and e-mail come in handy.

They are ideal for when just a few words on a sympathy card or flower card are not enough to say what you want to say.

Below are some example sentences that can be used in writing condolences email messages. They show that there are many ways to be comforting, even if words seem inadequate.

Feel free to use only the examples sentences that you feel are appropriate for your situation, and rearrange them in any way that you see fit.

  • Grieving family, know that you are not alone.
  • I am saddened that the outpouring of love from friends and family will not be enough to heal the wounds of sorrow, but know that [__] is in a place of peace. I’m sure you know that you’re not alone in grieving. Your lovely memories [of your close friend] will remain with you always.
  • I know that you will miss them very much, but you are not alone in this hour of need. 
  • I want to offer my heartfelt sorrow in this moment of pain.
  • May you find them in our loving Heavenly Father, who treasures your loved one.
  • May your tears dry and your soul find peace.
  • My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time of bereavement.
  • My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
  • The outpouring of love from family and friends is a testament to the life of ___.
  • There are no words that can help you right now, but the thoughts of comfort and the love that you are receiving from others will help to ease the sorrowful time.
  • Treasure your memories.
  • Your sorrowful time is a moment for comfort and peace.

Condolences gift ideas: from flower arrangements to books and baskets

We all know that sending a condolences gift is common practice when someone is in mourning. 

A sympathy card may be enough for some people, while others want something more tangible.

However, there are times when a card can’t fully express how sorry you are for someone’s loss or hardship.

Fortunately, there are also some other gifts you can send to show your sympathy.

The evolution of condolences gifting: from cards to baskets and beyond

In the past few decades, the tradition has evolved from sending flowers and plants to sending sympathy baskets of food and other gift ideas.

Appropriate condolences gift ideas can also include toys, books, or a charitable donation in the name of the mourning person, if you feel that’s more appropriate.

It’s also sometimes difficult to find the perfect words, so sending for example a condolence gift basket can be more fitting.

Below is some helpful information on the available options for thoughtful condolence gifts.

Sympathy cards

Cards can be sent from anyone and they’re a quick and simple form of condolence gift. Well-made cards are also a treat to behold.

They’re also the least expensive option of this list, which is especially appealing if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to say sorry for someone’s recent bereavement.

Personalized cards with a handwritten message also add a personal touch that e-mail or text messaging cannot.

Don’t forget about the small details when it comes to sending your card, as details can make all the difference.

Don’t, for example, let it get torn or mangled, and avoid coffee stains or crossed-out text.

Make it look nice, and let it show that you care.

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Sending condolences flowers

These are among the most popular condolence gifts; flowers speak for themselves.

Condolence flowers can help bring some light and color into a place where there is only darkness and sadness.

Sending flowers for condolences also represents love and caring to those who receive them, which may bring comfort during difficult times. They are also linked in people’s minds to birthdays and anniversary celebrations, and as such carry positive associations.

When sending flowers, it is important to know what type the recipient might prefer. In brief, the best flowers for condolences are the ones that create the least inconvenience.

For example, someone who is allergic to certain types of pollen might want non-allergenic flowers such as tulips, daffodils, carnations, orchids, or roses.

Also, try to arrange with the florist that the condolences flower arrangements are easy for the recipient to receive and set up.

Think here of avoiding tedious steps to receive the flowers, and unnecessary packaging that needs to be discarded somewhere.

Because the mourning family may be quite busy with practical and logistical tasks, condolence flowers can also be sent directly for display in the service. This applies to sympathy baskets as well.

Ordering flowers: pros and cons of online vs offline

Online flower shops are convenient in that they allow you to select from a wide range of different arrangements with just the click of a button.

Offline “brick and mortar” flower shops, on the other hand, are great when you want to send something that has been hand-picked by their florist, like fresh-cut flowers that will last longer than a pre-arranged bouquet.

If you have little knowledge about what kind of flower bouquets are appreciated in certain cultures, try asking someone within the family about what they would like to see at the ceremony.

Finally, look elsewhere on this page for examples of a (short) condolences flower message that you can send along with the flowers delivery.

Again, little details make all the difference in situations like these.

Sending a condolences basket 

Condolences baskets are a great choice when you want something more than flowers, but don’t want to go overboard.

A condolence gift basket can be a wonderful gesture to let someone know that you are thinking of them during their time of loss.

The gift basket does not have to be extravagant or expensive, but it should include items which will comfort the recipient or remind them of happy memories.

The basket may also include a card that may provide words of sympathy and support for the bereaved family.

A condolence gift basket is a thoughtful gesture, perfect for times when words seem insufficient.

Keep in mind that different types of baskets mean different things in different cultures, so be sure to send one with the right meaning for the occasion.

People may also send condolence food baskets that contain staple food items that the bereaved person may not have time to buy themselves.

What should I include in a condolence gift basket?

A condolence gift basket is a thoughtful gesture that can be customized to suit the needs of the bereaved person.

The basket can include items that are specific to the bereaved person’s tastes or interests, whether that be snacks or books or wine or pasta.

For example, if you know someone’s favorite type of candy or tea or wine, consider putting those in your basket.

There is no one specific item that is appropriate for every condolence gift basket, but some good examples are things like:

  • A favorite treat or snack: think here of candies, cookies, and other sweets
  • Soothing beauty products such as bath salts and lotions
  • A good (and ideally a meaningful and appropriate) book
  • Candles
  • A handmade card with condolences messages
  • Plush toys
  • Movies or music from their favorite artists.

Extra: what does condolences mean?

A simple definition of the word “condolences” is the following:

  • Sympathy, compassion, or regret shown for someone who has experienced misfortune or loss.
  • Example sentence: “The family received condolences from friends after the loss of their grandmother.”

The word “condolences” is almost always used in the plural form; the singular form “condolence” is rather rare when used as a noun.

But the singular form, “condolence,” is not rare when it is used as an adjective, for example in the phrases “condolence card” or “condolence message.”

In terms of etymology, both “condolence” and “condolences” come from the Latin condolens, which itself comes from the Latin verb condolere: “to suffer with another.”

Dolere means “to grieve”; think, for example, of the word “doleful.”

How do you spell condolences?

The headline of this section has just answered that question. It’s “condolences,” and not “condolances,” “condolinces,” or “condolonces.”

Conclusion: don’t face grief alone

Grief can be hard to navigate, but it’s not something anyone should face alone. There is comfort in knowing that people care.

The grief quotes and comforting words shared here are only some of what’s out there.

Please share these quotes, tips, and links with someone who might need them.

Related condolences links:

Other posts of interest: