How to Write a Condolence Letter

Written by ehow culture & society editor
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If someone you know is grieving the death of a loved one, sending a condolence letter will be an enormous comfort to him or her. Often a grieving person feels isolated. Condolence letters are connections to others who are also missing the deceased. They become treasured keepsakes, evidence that the loved one not only existed but had an impact on the world. Follow these steps to get started.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Writing pen
  • Stationery
  • Postage stamp

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Hand-write the letter on stationery. Don't write more than one page.

  2. 2

    Avoid any mention of how the loved one died or how he or she must have suffered before dying. This is especially important if the deceased was a child.

  3. 3

    Share a fond memory of the deceased or talk about how he or she was a positive influence in your life.

  4. 4

    Share something good that the deceased said about the bereaved.

  5. 5

    Tell the bereaved that you know he or she is suffering and that you share his or her sorrow. However, don't talk about your own grief. This letter isn't about you.

  6. 6

    Reassure the bereaved that he or she has the strength to deal with the loss and go on.

  7. 7

    Offer to be of assistance to the bereaved. If you can think of something specific you can do, say so.

Tips and warnings

  • It's never too late to write a condolence letter. You may even choose to write a new letter on significant dates, such on the deceased's birthday.
  • Condolence letters are also appropriate for divorces or news that someone has been diagnosed with a serious illness.
  • A preprinted sympathy card with nothing written in it but your signature is not an adequate substitute for a condolence letter.

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