Steps to Write a Letter of Condolence

How Tos
By: BonnieDossKnight    
05-Feb-2011

Introduction:Writing a letter of condolence is a tedious task. We can't change the fact that a person dear to us and to their bereaved relative is deceased. The most we can do is extend comfort and caring to those in mourning. The next time you are faced with the challenge to write a letter of condolence, perhaps the following steps will guide your pen to say what is in your heart.

  • 01

    When to Write a Condolence Letter

    We should consider writing a condolence letter when circumstance keeps us from attending the funeral of the deceased. Or, maybe we did show our respects, but feel a need to express thoughts we left unsaid due to grief and confusion. Whatever your reason, you may find it helpful to refer to these steps to write a letter of condolence.

  • 02

    It's Not All About You

    The fact that it's not all about you may be tough to reconcile with when you're grieving too. But, you must put your grief aside, because the condolence letter is about the recipient of your letter. Also, you may be tempted to wait until you're in a better place. Again, you must put the other person's needs first and begin your condolence letter immediately after the burial services.

  • 03

    No Right or Wrong Way

    Forget all previous expectations about the "proper" condolence letter you may have heard or read about, there is absolutely no right or wrong way to extend your empathy. It may help to imagine the recipient sitting across the table, drinking coffee with you. Write words your heart would dictate, if you were speaking to the mourner in person.

  • 04

    Consider Both Relationships

    What type of relationship did you have with the deceased person? How close are you to the person to whom you're composing the condolence letter?
    You would, of course, write in a different tone to the relative of business acquaintance than to the parent of a close friend. Either way, stay away from trite phrases such as, "Sorry for your loss" or "He's in a better place". If you care enough to console the grieving person, make your letter meaningful.

  • 05

    Journal About Your Feelings

    If you keep a personal journal, explore the depth of your feelings before starting the actual condolence letter. Journal about: a lasting memory the two of you make together, something the deceased did or said that made a tremendous impact on your life, different ways you shared a special friendship.

    Your aim is to write something the bereaved can cling onto during the grieving process. After your thoughts are composed, write the condolence letter and mail it.




Final Thoughts

When you were very close to the deceased person and the family, it becomes of those instances where a Hallmark card isn't enough. The sincere condolence letter calls for a real paper and pen personal message.




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