Knowing what to write in a sympathy card is a difficult question.
I think this line from lifedaily.com says a lot about what to take into account when writing a sympathy card and thought it would be nice to start of with a quote from them on the matter.
Death is not an easy topic to discuss, and if someone in your circle loses a close relative or friend, you may not know exactly what to say. Your first instinct might be to reach out and offer support, but you may hold back because you don’t want to say the wrong thing. Don’t beat yourself up. Read more on how to write a sympathy card at lifedaily.com….
There is no simple formula for writing to someone who has just lost a loved one, and frankly, you should be speaking from the heart instead of following any set format.
How much you say or the amount of detail you use will depend, to a great extent, on how well you knew the person who passed away. If they were casual acquaintances or someone you knew from work, keep your condolence card to the point and brief. Express your sympathy, wish the survivors well and offer your emotional support.
If the person who died was a close friend or family member, then you should write a longer and more personal card or letter. You may recall what it was about the person that made them special and share one or two brief stories from their life. Use common sense, avoid vulgarity and never give away any one’s personal secrets. You want to leave an image of the deceased that allows the survivors to remember them in a positive manner.
Avoid cliches or trying to guess how the other person is feeling. Expressions like “I know how you feel”, “You will get over this in time”, “It’s all for the best”, “Time heals all wounds” or “It was his time to go” are completely inappropriate in a condolence card.
Conclude your card or letter with a simple expression of sympathy and support. You may say “I’m praying for you”, “You are in my thoughts”, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you” or something similar. Take the time to write your words by hand instead of typing your message and sign it legibly.
These are the basics of writing a condolence card or letter. Be honest, polite and avoid discussing any personal issues you may have had with the deceased. Think about what you would like to have someone write to you if you lost a loved one and you will never go wrong.