How to Write a Sympathy Letter

When we or someone close to us experiences a loss, it can be a very traumatic time for everyone touched by the loss. It is important to show our loved ones support when they have experienced a loss.

A simple way to do this is with a thoughtful sympathy or condolence letter.

All you will need is a note card or blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil to write with. You can use a blank card or just a simple piece of paper–it’s really the thought that counts. While you are dealing with a sensitive issue, writing the letter need not be hard. Follow these steps and focus your energy on supporting the people who need you.

The salutation – This would be how you address the person inside the card or note. Dear…, For…, To…. Any of these is perfectly appropriate; Use what feels right.

Be thoughtful and address the loss the person has experienced. It can be as simple as “I am so sorry for your loss.” You can simply say “I know this must be a very difficult time for you.” Empathy is important because it validates the person’s feelings of sadness, loss, or bereavement.

If you have an appropriate memory or thought to share, be thoughtful and include it.

Sharing a childhood memory or remembering a favorite memory helps the bereaved person know that their loved one will be remembered. When my grandmother passed, one of the most thoughtful notes I received included the note “I will always treasure running into Sophie at the coffee stand every Sunday. She always had a smile to share”.

It was a simple thought but helped me remember that my loved one was loved by more than just me.

The close-“Sincerely”, “love”, “best wishes”, something sincere and simple is always best.

People are often paralyzed around sadness, especially sadness that comes from any loss. Your friend or loved one who has experienced a loss really just needs to hear that they are not alone and that they are loved. A very simple and thoughtful sympathy note can do that well.