Sympathy Quotes to Express Condolences

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If you’ve lost someone close, or know others struggling with their own grief, you know it’s difficult to find words of comfort. These sympathy quotes are a great place to start so you can center yourself and find solace when you need it.

When we lose someone special to us, the sense of loss can be overwhelming. We all want to say something meaningful that conveys a sense of how sorry we are for loss, but often can’t seem to find the right words.

Whether it was sudden or expected, taking the time to properly mourn our loss is an essential part of a healthy grieving process.

Whatever kind of loss has led you to this page, we hope you’ll find the right words to help you express your feelings.

Losing a friend or family member is one of the hardest things that can happen in our lives, but sharing the sorrow of someone who is grieving can be equally difficult.

We hope these quotes about sympathy and condolences give you a way to express your feelings at times when it’s hard knowing what to say.

Sympathy Quotes

Malcolm Forbes quote "The more sympathy you give, the less you need"
“The more sympathy you give, the less you need.” – Malcolm Forbes

Sympathy is two hearts tugging at one load.

Charles Henry Parkhurst

It is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought.

Oscar Wilde

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.

Helen Keller

To sympathize with the suffering of others forges understanding, but that doesn’t mean they’ll put up with you.

Benson Bruno

And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud.

Walt Whitman
Sri Chinmoy quote "Sympathy does not think - It acts - It acts to remove the ceaseless sufferings of the world."
Sympathy does not think. It acts. It acts to remove. The ceaseless sufferings. Of the world. – Sri Chinmoy

All sympathy not consistent with acknowledged virtue is but disguised selfishness.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

George S. Patton

Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure. You are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.

Renee Wood

Developing our sympathetic compassion is not only possible but the only reason for us to be here on earth.

George Saunders

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we deeply love becomes a part of us.

Helen Keller
Bram Stoker quote "Though sympathy alone can't alter facts, it can help to make them more bearable"
“Though sympathy alone can’t alter facts, it can help to make them more bearable.” – Bram Stoker

Those who weep recover more quickly than those who smile.

Jean Giraudoux

That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.

William Wordswrth

There is something very morbid about modern sympathy with pain.

Oscar Wilde

Be kind, be all sympathy, for each and every human being is forced to fight against himself.

Sri Chinmoy

A human life is a story told by God.

Hans Christian Anderson
Terri Guillemets sympathy quote "Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity"
“Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity.” – Terri Guillemets

Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.

Charles Darwin

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

Khalil Gibran

Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.

Oscar Wilde

Darkness may hide the trees and the flowers from the eyes but it cannot hide love from the soul.

Rumi

Grant but memory to us and we lose nothing by death.

John Whittier
Thomas Baily Aldrich sympathy quote "What is lovely never dies, But passes into other loveliness"
“What is lovely never dies, But passes into other loveliness.” – Thomas Baily Aldrich

He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 91:4, NIV

Sorrow is a fruit. God does not make it grow on limbs too weak to bear it.

Victor Hugo

We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.

Confucius

Any mind that is capable of real sorrow is capable of good.

Hariet Beecher Stowe

Seashells remind us that every passing life leaves something beautiful behind.

Unknown
Thomas Campbell sympathy quote "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die"
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” – Thomas Campbell

One has to all the time feel others’ sufferings as one’s very own. Sympathy has to be the first and foremost thing in one’s life, sympathy and the feeling of oneness.

Sri Chinmoy

Woman’s fatal weakness is to desire sympathy and comprehension.

Ouida

If there was less sympathy in the world, there would be less trouble in the world.

Oscar Wilde

Condolences Quotes

A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.

Maya Angelou

Sorrow is so easy to express and yet so hard to tell.

Joni Mitchell

The Remembrance of the good done those we have loved is the only consolation when we have lost them.

Demoustier

The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives.

Norman Cousins
Thomas Moore Sympathy quote "Earth hath no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal"
“Earth hath no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” – Thomas Moore

The light has gone out of my life.

Theodore Roosevelt

We understand death only after it has placed its hands on someone we love.

Anne L. de Stael

Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow.

Robert Louis Stevenson

To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable.

Erich Fromm

Each departed friend is a magnet that attracts us to the next world.

Jean Paul Richter

Compassion only plagues those with hearts, much like a field of thorns only troubles those who bleed.

Rachelle E. Goodrich

The world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.

Hellen Keller
Longfellow sympathy quote "He spoke well who said that graves are the footprints of angels"
“He spoke well who said that graves are the footprints of angels.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.

John Taylor

There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.

Mahatma Gandhi

Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains.

Kahlil Gibran
Rossiter Raymond quote "Whoever you hold in the heart of you, is forever and always a part of you"
“Whoever you hold in the heart of you, is forever and always a part of you.” – Rossiter Raymond

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

Unknown

Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.

Laura Ingles Wilder

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.

Richard Bach

The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives.

Norman Cousins

We meet but briefly in life, if we touch each other with stardust – that is everything.

Unknown
Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted"
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

Death – the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening.

Sir Walter Scott

Nothing you love is lost. Not really. Things, people–they always go away sooner or later. You can’t hold them anymore than you can hold moonlight. But if they’ve touched you, if they’re inside you, then they’re still yours. The only things you ever really have are the ones you hold inside your heart.

Bruce Coville

Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.

Thomas Aquinas

The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.

Proverbs 10:7 (ESV)
Sufi quote "When the heart grieves over what is has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left"
“When the heart grieves over what is has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left.” – Sufi

We hope these sympathy quotes help you express your feelings, whether you are currently grieving or expressing condolences to someone else. Be gentle with yourself throughout this process. Your loss will always hurt, but things will get easier with time.

Update: Originally published on Oct 30, 2012 and updated on June 3, 2020.

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Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's lead editor and content writer, and has invested in online properties since 2009. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.