Ways to Sign a Sympathy Card

Be honest and sincere when expressing words of sympathy.

It is sometimes difficult to know how to appropriately sign or close a sympathy card. You may wish to add a personal note that is sensitive and thoughtful to boost the spirits of the bereaved, but choosing poor words can convey the wrong message. Some closings are more suitable than others based on your relationship with the deceased and survivor, though there is no magic formula for determining the best wording. Taking the time to choose your words carefully, while speaking from the heart, will show that you are sincere and that the loved one will be missed. Whichever closing you choose, it is helpful to include your last name after the salutation to avoid any confusion during this difficult time.

1 To Close Family and Friends

Though it is often best to keep your closings short, if you were close to the deceased, expanding on your thought to reference a special memory or endearing qualities conveys how the loved one will be missed. Including the name of the deceased and expressing what he meant to you can also be a comfort to the survivor. For close family, use closings such as “We will miss Uncle Bill's infectious laughter. He will remain in our hearts forever” and “Auntie Jane was so important to me, and I will miss her kind and inspirational words greatly.” For close friends,“I was saddened to hear of Roger's passing. I share in your sorrow with love and friendship” and “Jean was so kind and willing to help others in need. I am here to help in any way you need me” are good options.

2 To Associates and Distant Relatives

Keep the closing short if you were not close to the deceased, but opt for a personal touch over a generic closing like "Sincerely.” Instead, a thoughtful line can convey that the recipient is in your thoughts during this difficult time. Closings such as “Please accept my condolences,” “Wishing you peace and strength during this difficult time,” “With caring thoughts,” “I am sorry for your loss” or “May your memories give you strength” are short and thoughtful.

3 To Parents of a Deceased a Child

Keep your closing simple and genuine when the recipient is grieving the loss of a child, but avoid including things like “I know how you feel,” unless you truly do. Closings like “May the love of those around you provide strength to overcome your pain,” “With deepest sympathy” or “We are deeply sorry to hear about the death of your daughter” are appropriate, but if you had a personal connection with the child, mentioning her name will personalize it further. “You and Suzy are in our thoughts and prayers,” “Words cannot express the pain and sorrow I feel over the loss of your son Danny, but know that I am here for you” and “Cindy brought so many gifts to our lives. We will never forget her” are a few more personal ways to sign your sympathy card.

Based in Washington, Mariah Elaine has been a freelance writer since 2010. She has professional writing experience in a variety of media including Navy correspondence, business documents and research reports. Elaine holds a Bachelor of Arts in natural science/mathematics from Thomas Edison State College.