Writing a sympathy card can be tricky especially if you are doing it for the first time. Death is inevitable and everyone has to face it at one point or another in life. At this time of grief, support from friends and family is very helpful. Sometimes, even though we have the best intentions, we fail from supporting someone who is suffering from a loss. It is a very vulnerable phase of life and you may end up hurting someone even more if you are not using the right words.
Your presence is necessary because the very feeling of someone being there is quite comforting. You may not be able to visit personally but can send a thoughtful card or note so that your presence is deeply felt. You may or may not know the deceased person so you must write the note accordingly. If you had known the person, you can share some happy memories you had with the person. It is fine to praise the person and what a blessing it was to know him or her. Avoid any sort of preaching about life and death, moving on etc. Remember that the person you are addressing would move on in future, but needs time to grieve.
It is not possible for anyone to understand the grief of losing a loved one so don’t say it if you don’t mean it. If you did not know the deceased, keep it simple by saying you will pray for the departed soul. Make sure you know how the person died if you intend to mention it in the note. Try not to focus on the death but the life that the person lived and how he enriched the lives of others around him. Feel free to mention his or her contribution to the community or family if you know about it.