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Sympathy and Condolence Advice

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How to write a sympathy note, share condolences, comfort and support the bereaved

When someone you care about is grieving, it's hard to find the right words.

What should you say in a condolence message? What common sympathy expressions should you avoid? What else can you do to comfort a bereaved friend?

To help you support a grieving colleague, friend or family member, Legacy offers advice from condolence experts.

Click on the links below to learn more about how to write condolence notes, what not to say and more.

Why Write Sympathy Notes?

Learn what to say when a friend's loved one dies—as well as why it's so important to say it.

How to Write a Condolence Note

If you're not sure what to say—and you want to avoid saying the wrong thing—this article offers concrete tips on how best to express your condolences.

Simple Ways to Show Sympathy

Showing your sympathy to a grieving friend is easy—and will be much appreciated. Learn which small gestures mean a lot.

The Power of Condolences

Friends and family members play a crucial role in extending support during the mourning period.

Comforting the Bereaved Through Supportive Listening

What mourners need most are listeners, and it can be hard to find them.


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Is "I'm Sorry" Becoming a Cliché?

Saying, “I’m sorry” or, “I’m sorry for your loss” has been an accepted way to extend condolences for just about forever.

What Not to Say After a Death

It's easy to say the wrong thing, even when you have the best intentions. Learn some of the sentiments to avoid when a friend is grieving.

It's Never Too Late to Send a Sympathy Note

It's human nature to procrastinate, but you can still say what you need to say—even if it's long overdue.

What to Say to Someone Who Is Dying

Visiting a friend or loved one who has a terminal illness can be scary, but don't let nervousness keep you away. This article offers tips and support to help you make this important visit.

Must Bereaved Parents Grieve Alone?

The true way to mourn the dead? Take care of the living who belong to them.

Condolences When a Friendship Is Strained

You can still reach out and send condolences to the bereaved, even if your friendship has faltered.

How to Comfort When a Pet Dies

Your support of someone mourning a beloved pet can positively impact their healing.

When a Bereaved Coworker Returns to the Job

If you worry about what to say and do when a bereaved coworker comes back to work, you're not alone.

How to Write Condolences on Facebook

Facebook has become a major channel for your friends to share and mourn the death of their loved ones.

Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? Find comfort in one of our grief support groups.

What Kind of Flowers Should I Buy for a Funeral?

We’ve created a guide to which sympathy flowers are often used to remember the most important people in our lives.


Funeral Flower Messages: What to Say

By including a thoughtful message or card with the flowers, you can make one of life's most difficult experiences a bit easier to bear.


Funeral Etiquette

What is the difference between a memorial service and a funeral? What should I say to the deceased's family at the visitation? Does it matter what I wear? You have questions, we have answers.

Feeling Guilty About Missing a Friend's Funeral

Missing a funeral can bring up a lot of emotions, but guilt shouldn't necessarily be one of them.


Coping with Loss

Advice from leading experts, helpful information related to loss, and grief support groups to help you cope with the death of someone important to you.