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Sample Wording for a Sympathy or Condolence Letter

Alice Wisler
Receiving letters are important.

When you want to offer your sentiments over a death, a sample letter of sympathy or condolence can be helpful to guide you in writing your own words. Crafting a letter of condolence is not a simple task, yet valuable for all involved.

Take Your Time

When someone close to you loses a loved one to death, the emotions are vast. Whether the loss be due to the death of a child, parent, grandparent, spouse or friend, the sorrow is profound. As you plan to write your own letter of condolence, clear your mind and spend time reflecting upon the deceased. You want your letter to have the following qualities:

  • Sincerity
  • Sorrow
  • Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Compassion

Do Not Be Judgmental

When you write a condolence letter, it is not the time to be critical or judgmental. Letters of this nature are not platforms for sermons or heavy passages from the Bible. Also do not say:

  • "I know how you feel."
  • "You will get over this."
  • "Be glad he/she didn't have to suffer anymore."
  • "He/she wouldn't want you to be sad."
  • "I hope you will get back to your old self soon."

Writing: A Sample Letter of Sympathy, Condolence

You may wish to use a sheet of stationery or note card for penning your heartfelt sentiments. Don't rush the experience. Many keep all of the cards or letters received after the death of a loved one. Your letter will be meaningful at the time it is received as well as for years to come. If you can, recall a fond memory of the deceased and paraphrase the memory in the body of your condolence letter.A letter to guide you follows. This is from Linda to her friend Kim at the death of Kim's spouse.

"Dear Kim,

What a tremendous memorial service you had for Bob. The music and words spoken were such a
reflection of who Bob was. I couldn't stop crying.

I remember when Joe and I first met the two of you and were so grateful to have another couple
we could enjoy as friends. Bob was vivacious and loved life. He would do anything for anyone.

I recall the time our refrigerator broke and he came over with one you all had in your garage,
claiming you really didn't need an extra fridge. He loaded it into our house as Joe helped.

We were amazed at Bob's kindness to us. Since we've moved out of town, we have missed the
two of you more than anyone else.

I cannot imagine how hard this is for you. I know you miss Bob tremendously. We miss him,
too. We hope to come by to see you soon.

All our love,

Kim and Joe"


If you choose to add something else in the envelope besides the letter, make sure this is appropriate. A sheet of paper with a bereavement verse can be tender and sincere in expressing some of your feelings. Read whatever you plan to include a few times to make sure it is appropriate.

Write Again: Another Sample Letter of Sympathy, Condolence

When a loved one dies, often the family left behind receives many letters at first. While it is good to send a letter or card right away, do not neglect sending another letter. As time passes, often the average person forgets to see that the bereaved would welcome letters later on. Send many letters throughout the year to your friend in grief. She will be encouraged to know that she is remembered and thought of.

Your letter can include one or more of the following:

  • How you continue to miss or think of the deceased
  • How you continue to think of your friend and what she is going through
  • Anything else you think your friend would find comforting
Sample Wording for a Sympathy or Condolence Letter