Sympathy Etiquette for the Loss of a Brother

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Do you know someone who has recently lost a brother? If you want to offer comfort to this person, there are some important things you need to know. Soothing words of sympathy are nice as long as you show compassion. 

This isn’t the time to be creative or charming. In fact, sometimes the less said the better. Losing any family member to death is heartbreaking. Siblings have a special connection. So when one of them dies, the others often feel as though their world has been shaken to the core. It’s important to understand the depth of emotion people have when they lose their brother. 

At the Funeral

When you go to the funeral of a friend’s brother, expect to see tears. Say a few words of sympathy to each family member, but unless you’re very close to the family, keep it very brief and step aside for others to offer their condolence. 

Examples of what to say:

  • I’m so sorry for your loss.
  • You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
  • We’ll all miss him very much. He was such a kind and gentle person.
  • I have such fond memories of your brother.
  • I’ll always remember him as one of the nicest people I knew.
  • He was such a great mentor to all the new people at the office. We’ll miss him very much.

If you’re close to someone who recently lost a brother, offer to help with whatever is needed. They may want you to assist with the guest book or help seat mourners at the funeral.

There are some things you should never say to someone who lost a close family member. Even though you might mean well, it comes across as cold and unsympathetic.

What not to say:

  • He’s in a better place.
  • You’ll feel better in a few weeks.
  • Cheer up. It’s not like you were close to him.
  • He was sick for a long time. Life will be easier now.

Simple and Basic Condolence Messages

When you know someone who has lost a brother, you should send a brief condolence note. If you’re close to the survivor or if you knew the brother who passed away, you might add more to the message. 

Here are some basic condolence messages for the loss of a brother you didn’t know:

  • I’m thinking of you and your family during this time.
  • Please accept my condolences for the loss of your brother.
  • I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m praying for you and your family.
  • I know how close you were to your brother. I’m praying for God to give you the strength to get through this difficult time.
  • It’s very difficult to find the right words during this difficult time. Just know that I’m truly sorry for what you’re going through and that I’ll be thinking of you.

Condolences If You Knew the Deceased Brother

The surviving siblings will appreciate any kind words you can say about their brother. They’ll appreciate knowing that he’ll be remembered in a positive way.

If you knew the brother, here are some things you might want to add:

  • Your brother was such a fun person to be around. I’ll miss him very much. Please know that I’m praying for you and your family.
  • I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. I’ve worked with him for three years, and I can honestly say he was a great team player who will be greatly missed.
  • Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your brother. He was such a kind, considerate person, and he’ll be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Examples of Sympathy Notes for the Loss of a Brother

A brief sympathy note is always a good idea. Whether you choose a preprinted card or one that is blank, add a personal message from the heart.

Sample 1

Dear Jonathan,

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your brother Charles. He was such a kindhearted guy. Remember that time he took us fishing? I’ll never forget that day, sitting on the bank, watching that bobber floating in the water, and listening to his stories about the big one that got away. Everyone who knew him will miss him very much.

My deepest sympathy,

Sample 2

Dear Sara,

I was heartbroken for you when I heard about your brother’s passing. I know how much you looked up to him. He was truly a super great guy who left behind many wonderful memories that will stay with you and everyone who knew him for a very long time. Know that I’m thinking of you. If you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call.


Being a Friend During This Time

Don’t expect to cheer up anyone who recently lost a sibling. And don’t be shocked by anything the survivors might say through this period of raw and painful emotion. People don’t think as clearly when they’re grieving, so be compassionate and understanding without passing judgment. 

You might hear some things you don’t expect from siblings who lost a brother because sorrow manifests itself in several ways. The person may blame herself for losing her brother, or she may feel guilty for not being there when he needed her. The best things you can do are listen and offer sincere sympathy. If there are ways you can assist in helping the family, try your best to do so. Everything from babysitting to making meals can be a much appreciated gesture during this time.