Meredith is a global greeting card designer and has penned heartfelt messages for her wide range of cards.
What to Write in a Sympathy Card
Knowing what to say to a woman who has just lost her husband can be difficult. During this time of grief, you will want to offer comfort through your words but this isn't always easy to do. In this article, I will give you some suggested texts which you can use in a card or in a personal message.
In most homes, the husband is still the main breadwinner and this can leave the wife feeling vulnerable both emotionally and financially. In many homes, the man is also in charge of taking care the banking and financial side of the relationship. This can push the woman further into a state of grief, not knowing how she will cope. If children are involved, the situation is escalated. Her two-parent family has now become a single parent home.
As couples age, they often have planned what to do and although the loss of a partner is still felt, arrangements have often been made and dealt with beforehand.
To make this easier to find the message suitable for your circumstances. I have broken the articles into different sections.
- Religious messages for loss of a husband
- A co-worker, neighbor or acquaintance
- Loss of an older husband
- Death after an to an illness
- An Unexpected or Accidental death
What you want to avoid is bringing the cause of death into any messages. Your aim is to offer your help and emotional support.
Depending on your friend's relationship with God, a religious message may be appropriate. The caveat here is if you aren't religious then you could be seen as being hypocritical. Here are a few examples of religious sympathy message for you to use and modify for your needs.
- [Insert name] is now in the loving arms of God. Know that although he is no longer by your side, he is there watching over you in death as he did in life. My sincere condolences.
- There is another angel in Heaven. May God keep you and your family wrapped in His everlasting love at this difficult time. Although grief is painful, God's love is all consuming and will ease your burden of sadness.
- God has his own plans and we don't always understand them. We pray that you will find peace in knowing that [Insert name] is in heaven. Our family is here for you if you want to talk or just need a shoulder to cry on.
- When I heard of [insert name's] death, I prayed that God would receive him with open arms. He was taken too soon but the hearts he touched will keep his memory alive. He was a good and kind man and our congregation will support you however we can. In sadness, there is a light that God bestows upon us. Bathe your heart in His warmth and know that everything is going to be okay.
General Acquaintance, Neighbor or Colleague
If you've only briefly met, the husband who has recently passed but wish to show your support to the wife and family, just be honest. It isn't necessary to pretend you knew him well, remember your aim is to offer a sympathy message to the wife. As before modifying these passages to suit your situation.
- Although I didn't know [Insert name] well, I wish to express my sympathy to you on his passing. He always took the time to say hello or wave. If there is anything our family can do for you, you only have to ask.
- We were sorry to hear about [Insert name] passing. He was not just an asset to our company, he was a great guy to work with. He had a way of putting everyone at ease with his sense of humor. Our entire department wishes to extend their deepest sympathy to you and your family. He was a great man and will be missed by many.
- [Insert name] will be missed by our entire neighborhood. He was a kind and funny man who made everyone feel special. His genuine love for you and his family was evident every time we got together. You can call us anytime you need help, we are here to support you and your family. That's what neighbors do.
- Your husband was amazing. His coaching at Little League made a big impact on my son. His down to earth style made everyone feel special. His presences at the games, made everyone play better. They all wanted to win for Coach [insert name]. I would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest sympathy and tell you he will be greatly missed by every member of the team.
Death of an Older Husband
- I was sorry to hear of [name's] passing. He touched so many people's lives in his [insert age] years. The years you had together were special, and that bond was evident every time we saw you two together. He was a great man and a gentleman and will be missed by all who knew him.
- How do you say goodbye to a man who has shared your life for so many years? I can't imagine the grief you must be experiencing. His death will undoubtedly leave a hole in your heart and in your life. Please know that I am only a phone call away. Let's get together soon.
- I hope your memories of a life lived together will help soothe you at this time of grieving. A long marriage built on love and respect will live on in the hearts of the children you raised and the hearts who were touched by both of you. My family and I will be thinking of you at this difficult time.
- Men like [insert name]] are few and far between. He will be missed by so many people. He always took the time to say hello and stop for a chat. A man from another era, and proud of it. I will miss our talks about gardening and such. We always set the world to rights. [insert wife's name], if you need anything whether it is a trip to the supermarket or a coffee and chat, you know I am here for you.
Treasured memories are planted deep in our hearts
— Melanie Delorme
Death Following an Illness
If a husband has been ill for some time, the death won't come as a surprise. It may be that the family has had time to prepare themselves for the inevitable and already started to make arrangements. Although there may be a sense of immediate relief, grief will take over and as such, as a friend you should be ready to help. Here are a few messages which will be appropriate for use in a sympathy card after a husband has died as a result of an illness.
- There is no sense why a wonderful man like [insert name] should be taken so soon. He had so much to give and will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences.
- Illness makes no distinction between those who it takes. I know this time must be hard for you and your beautiful family. [insert name] is now at peace and pain-free and I hope that knowledge brings you comfort. Your family shouldn't have had to go through such a traumatic experience. Please keep in touch and let us help you.
- When I think of what your family has been through, I am saddened. Losing [insert name] although expected, it's still so much for you to cope with. Let the people around you help you and know that we are here to help you.
When a death occurs because of an accident, those involved are numb. Grief has not yet taken hold and as such, continued support will be needed. Sending messages at this time will show your compassion and will be remembered.
- [Insert wife's name], no words I can say will express the sadness I feel for your loss. [insert husband's name] was a great guy and he was such a good friend to me. If there is anything, anything at all I can do to help you through this I want you to promise to call me.
- How can life be considered fair and justice when something like this occurs. My heart is weeping at the thought of the pain you must be feeling. Don't you dare try and deal with this on your own. I will help you through this painful and unexpected period in your life.
- I was saddened and shocked by the news of [insert name] death. [insert wife's name] we are here for you in whatever way you need for as long as you need. Please allow us to help you at this difficult time.
Other Ways to Help
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that the loss of a husband may create potential problems. These may include things such as:
- home and automotive repairs
- tax implications
If you are qualified to help the newly widowed wife, then gently offer your services. She may not realize the magnitude with which her husband handled things. If he was handy around the house, or repaired and maintained their cars, she will need to reorganize the way these things are done.
Although grief can take many forms, it is necessary I believe, to keep the woman in the fold of friends. Go out together even if it is for a cup of coffee or a short trip to the grocery store. Know that she will now, very probably be watching what she spends and choose an event accordingly.
If there are children involved, offer to take them to school or babysit while the new widow organizes the funeral and even after the funeral. There will be much to arrange and it is best without children in tow.
The most important thing you can do when someone is grieving is just to be there and listen. If possible, support the new widow after the funeral and help her adjust to her new life without her husband. Different people take different lengths of time to adjust.
Image credit: Pixabay CC0
© 2018 Meredith Davies