Expressing Condolences: Empathically and Compassionately Expressing Mourning + Quotes

Mourning expressions – In case of a death in the family or in the circle of friends, condolences should be expressed to the mourning family. Finding the right words is often quite difficult. They should be personal and always tactful and compassionate.

The Right Words for the Expression of Sympathy: Speech to Wreath Choice

Finding the right words is very difficult, especially in a bereavement. No matter whether it is a funeral card, the inscription of a wreath ribbon or a funeral speech. The words should be chosen tactfully and carefully to pay the deceased the necessary honor. For those who find the choice of words difficult, we offer support and give some examples and tips for the appropriate words as a funeral service.

Pay Attention to the Level of Relationship to the Deceased

In order to find the right words and gestures in the case of bereavement, one should first of all be clear about the relationship one had with the deceased. It may well make a difference whether the basis of the expression of mourning was a rather business or clearly personal relationship. For example, surviving relatives do not expect profound thoughts when expressing sympathy if the deceased and the mourner had a purely business relationship. In this case, the standardized phrases (“With great dismay…”, “Deeply saddened I was…” etc.) may be used in the card text without any problems.

More demanding and also accompanied by the corresponding expectations of the relatives are condolences based on a previously very personal relationship with the deceased. For both sides – the immediate family of the deceased and the conductors – memories of shared experiences play a major role and influence the content and form of what is said.

But it can also be a great help for the conductor to find the right words and to fall back on the personal relationship with the deceased. The beginning of the conversation with the bereaved, even a speech or written condolences can help us to remember these personal encounters. Often, the right words and thoughts arise from these encounters, even without “outside” help.

The Introduction – Mourning and Salutation

And yet: It is often the moment of mourning that is the hardest. A funeral oration can be started well with a tactful funeral proclamation, condolence or condolences. Sayings of this kind deal with the topic of mourning, death, parting or loss. They are always empathetic and encourage reflection and contemplation.

For the entrance into a mourning procession it is however quite alright to begin with an important sentence or thought of the deceased, which remained in good memory to the conducting person. In this way, a personal bridge is immediately built between the deceased, the immediate bereaved and the speaker.

In the context of the later following personal words of condolence reference can be made to this saying. Afterwards follows the address of the mourning family. If there is a personal relationship to them, they should be addressed directly with their first name. Some formulations, which are well suitable as salutation, are for example love mourning family, love mourners, love family Mayer, …

The Words of Condolence – Personal Stories and Words of Condolence

After the salutation, the words of condolence should follow directly. Here the topic death can be addressed directly, but also personal memories of the deceased can be mentioned. Together experienced moments, small stories or anecdotes about the life of the deceased or simply the deep expression of grief. It is important to show the mourning family that the loss was also very painful for you, but that the memories, love and experiences are much stronger than death. Make sure to remain tactful and choose your formulations wisely. It helps to make some notes about the content of the speech before you start.

Stay True to Yourself

Many people are tempted to pretend to be sadder, more pious, more affected by expressions of sympathy than they really are. The reason for this attitude is often that the person conducting the conduction believes that a certain mourning attitude is expected of him. But the opposite is the case: whoever has not presented himself as a particularly spiritual person in his previous relationship with the deceased and the bereaved should not suddenly appear “more papal than the pope” in his words of condolence.

The basic rule is: Even in the event of a bereavement and with condolences, remain authentic. The person conducting the condolence should remain true to himself and his kind. Thus, a person who is fundamentally fun-loving and who has always met the deceased with humor and lightness may also take this attitude when expressing his or her condolences. Provided that one is really serious about this lightness. As a rule, people can sense very well whether their counterpart is really serious – even in the case of bereavement.

Grave and Wreath Ribbon – the Right Choice of Words

In the event of a bereavement, it is common for close family members, relatives and good friends to buy a wreath in memory of the deceased. For this purpose it is not only necessary to choose the flowers and the optical picture, but also to choose an inscription of the wreath bow. It can be both sayings, which come particularly from the heart but also a sensitive last greeting. Examples are words like ‘We will never forget you! – Yours …’ or ‘In silent remembrance’.

Mourning – Ideas and Suggestions for your Speech

So that you are not alone in writing the funeral proclamation, we have put together some ideas and suggestions for your funeral speech to help you find your bearings. Every funeral oration should contain something personal, which is why we recommend supplementing our ideas and suggestions with personal anecdotes or stories.

Beginning the Eulogy

  • Dear Family XY,
  • Dear Mrs. XY,
  • We express our deepest sympathy for the death of your husband.
  • I am deeply saddened and express my sincere condolences to you and your family on the death of your dear mother…
  • We have prayed, trembled and hoped with you. But now we quietly mourn with you.
  • We still cannot believe that your brother has left us forever…
  • It hurts me a lot to lose a good friend…
  • It is so unspeakably difficult to find suitable and comforting words.
  • I would like to express my sincere condolences to you for the heavy loss through the death of your wife…
  • It is so painful to lose a loved one so suddenly.
  • We share with you the painful loss that you have suffered through the death of …
  • We are all very saddened by the tragic loss of your beloved brother. Our sincere condolences as well as much strength for the difficult hours of mourning and farewell.

The Words of Condolence

  • We will keep her in best memory and continue her life’s work in her spirit…
  • Deeply touched, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to you.
  • All who knew her were impressed by her charisma and her helpfulness…
  • May the pain of death not overwhelm you and may the memory of our time together give you enough strength for the future.
  • He was my best friend, I will never forget him…
  • I wish you, supported by your children and grandchildren, to find enough strength to master the further path of life.
  • We loved her very much, and her cheerful nature was always an example for us…
  • I wish you a lot of strength and mutual love during this time
  • Many people will remember her with gratitude and love…
  • I hope that your grief will soon become a loving memory.

Sadness Quotes

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It is a distance that was, that we come from. It is a distance that will be that we go to.

The following quotation is also from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Absolutely true words, which anyone who has ever mourned can understand.

What you have deep in your heart,
one cannot lose by death.

Franz Kafka

You can see the sun slowly setting and yet get a fright when it is suddenly dark.

Ernest Hemingway

Only a few people are really alive and those who are never die. It does not count that they are no longer there. No one you really love is ever dead.

Dalai Lama

Inner happiness is not dependent on material circumstances. It is rooted in our mind


All worldly things are only a dream in spring. Think of death as a homecoming.

Theodor Fontane

Still it will be! And as the deep peace
a quiet contraction now went through,
there it may be that isolated
the earth soul flew upwards.

Thomas Mann

The bonds of love are not cut with death.

William Shakespeare

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep