How to write a letter to someone whose son just died

Written by robert lee
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How to write a letter to someone whose son just died
Send a thoughtful, handwritten note to someone mourning the loss of a son. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Writing a letter to someone whose son just died is never easy. People are sometimes overcome by grief, and your letter could help ease their pain. A letter to someone struggling with grief because of a son's death is considered a letter of condolence or sympathy. For effectiveness it must strike exactly the right tone as it offers encouragement and support while also showing how sorry you are to hear about the loss.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Write the letter by hand, preferably, to add more of a personal touch. Use stationery with gentle colours and tones.

  2. 2

    Employ a conversational style throughout the letter, using the same words you would use if the person was sitting next to you. Begin the letter by writing in the first sentence how sorry you are to hear about the loss. Mention the son by name as you clearly express your sympathy. If necessary, check and double-check to make sure you have the correct name and spelling.

  3. 3

    Write something upbeat about the son in the second paragraph. Offer a personal story, ideally, or write that you know how proud the parent was of the son and how much he is missed.

  4. 4

    End the letter by offering to help in some specific way that is appropriate based on your relationship with the parent. For example, offer to help with cooking or other housekeeping chores as the family prepares for guests arriving for the funeral. Make the offer specific by noting a day and time you are available.

  5. 5

    Sign the letter with a valediction, or closing that is informal and friendly, such as, "Your friend always."

  6. 6

    Follow up with a phone call a few days later to reiterate the offer in your letter.

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