Signing a book of condolences

Your message in the book of condolence will be much appreciated by the family of the person who has died.

A memorial book will be important to the bereaved family and the messages of sympathy expressed by friends and people who knew the deceased person will provide considerable support to them at a time when they need it most.

The exact wording of your message of condolence is less important than the fact that you have made the effort to write something. Your message need not be more than a sentence or two long. One helpful tip is to write the message as though you are actually talking to the bereaved family.

How to start your message

Trying to find the right words to start a condolence message is often very hard. In this regard it is a natural reaction to try and avoid mentioning the name of the deceased person or the fact that they have died. You should resist this temptation if you can.

Here are a few alternative suggestions:

‘I am so sorry to hear that David has died.’

‘You are in my thoughts and prayers.’

‘What I am feeling right now is hard to put into words.’

Express your sympathy in your message

You should express your sympathy and give your support to the bereaved. They will gain much solace and comfort knowing that you are there for them at this difficult time.

 You should also let the family know your own sadness and sense of loss when expressing your condolences. This will mark up to them that the deceased person was important to people outside the immediate family. This will again give them considerable reassurance and indeed pride.

Share a personal memory

The bereaved will want to read about the deceased person; particularly their qualities, their strengths and how they touched the lives of others. If the deceased had a particular special quality that you admired then you should mention it.

If you have an appropriate memory or personal reminiscence then you should include it. If possible do try and avoid a long rambling story as this may be less welcomed.

Avoid clichés

There are some common clichés that are best avoided. Often people are stuck as to what they should say and fall back on old hackneyed expressions that add little and at worst will upset the bereaved still further. These clichés include:

‘I know how you feel.’

‘It is part of God’s plan.’

‘She is in a better place.’

How to finish

A thoughtful word or sympathetic phrase conveying friendship and support is the best way to end your message of condolence. Some examples are as follows:

‘My prayers and thoughts are with you at this time.’

‘You are in my thoughts and prayers.’

‘With our affection and deepest condolences.’

‘We share in your grief and send you our love.’

‘Our love is with you always.’

Please note

The information which we provide through Lasting Post is in outline for information or educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. We cannot guarantee that information provided by Lasting Post will meet your individual needs, as this will very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should therefore use the information only as a starting point for your enquiries.