A condolence letter is a common way to express our sympathies to a grieving loved one or family member after the loss of a loved one. You can give a little comfort to the grieving by sending a letter or note to them to let them know that you are thinking about them during this difficult time. Also, by sending this letter you can let them know that you can be there for support and aid if they need you, and you can even tell some heartwarming memories about their loved one. It may do a lot of good for them to hear how much the deceased matter to others and was loved throughout their life. You may be wondering how you should put all of this in writing because it seems like a lot to put into one letter.
It can be difficult determining how to begin your letter, especially if you are not accustomed to dealing with such sensitive topics. It is perfectly acceptable to practice and edit your letter on a piece of scratch paper and try to follow the tips below to help you along the way.
- Begin your letter with the word Dear. As with most letters, this is easy and the most typical way to begin a letter. If you are writing to one person, then you can simply put their name after the dear. The problem many people may find is if you are writing to the entire family. If you are doing this, you may want to try to include each and every family member’s name, which may get to be a little long.
- Open your letter by offering your condolences to the bereaved. This is the part where you can tell them how sorry you are for their loss, such as I was saddened to hear of the passing of the deceased or I am heartbroken to hear of the loss of your grandfather. However, you want to word your condolences in the letter is basically up to you and how you see fit.
- Share happy memories and mention the positive qualities of the deceased. Next, in your letter, you should help the family remember all of the good their loved one passed on to others. Mention any happy stories about the deceased and how much they positively affected your life. Also, bring up any positive qualities that will be missed, such as how they were always laughing and spreading joy or how they were always the first one to stand up and help others. Anything that could bring some peace to the bereaved would be appropriate.
- Offer assistance if you are available. Many of us do not like standing by and doing nothing. If we feel people are hurting and need help, we want to be there. It can be a touchy situation when someone dies, and you do not want to overstep boundaries, so you can make it known in your letter that you are available to help them in any way that they need, such as cooking, cleaning or even babysitting. It usually depends on your relationship if they will actually take you up on the offer, but you could always call to check up on them before or after the funeral.
- Mention the funeral. If your letter reaches them prior to the funeral, you may want to include that you plan to be there. Or, if your letter reaches them after the funeral, you can let them know what a touching tribute it was to their loved one. If you were unable to attend the funeral, you could mention that you are extremely sorry for being unable to make it.
- End with the appropriate message. The ending may have a lot to do with how close you are to the family. You could simply write with sympathy or our sincerest sympathies. If you are truly close to the family, you could opt for sending all my love or lots of love. It depends on what is most comfortable for you and the family.
It can seem a little daunting trying to write down your feelings, but remember that is the main point of this letter. You should not be afraid to express a little emotion. You should avoid saying things like they are in a better place or they are with God now. This may not comfort them as much as you think it would, so it is best to keep these thoughts to yourself. Also, try to avoid saying you know how it feels because honestly every death feels different, and everyone mourns differently. There are many dos and don’ts involved in a condolence letter, but the biggest thing to remember is how it all boils down to how close your relationship is with the family. You can base what you need to say off of how comfortable you are with them.
By Helen Bishop
MOBI Funeral Supply
Updated: March 6, 2019