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Simple Sympathy

Condolence Letter Tips and Sample Words of Condolence


If you need to write a condolence letter, rest assured.  It’s not as hard as you might think.  First read these important tips then be inspired by a sample letters of condolence.
Still, feeling a little unsure? Here are a few tips to keep you on the right track.

A few things to keep in mind before you start your letter.

A condolence letter should be sent as soon as possible, ideally within the first two weeks following the death.
You should still send a letter of condolence even if it is belated. When it comes to sympathy and condolence messages late is truly better than never.
Describe your relationship with the deceased and how you felt toward them and what you will miss about them. Mention character qualities, talents and achievements of the deceased. This may be difficult if you did not know the deceased very well, but usually you can offer a more general statement.
Tell them about what you knew of the deceased, what he wanted to achieve, what were the dreams that he shared with his friends. Seeing his life through his friend’s perspective can bring comfort to the bereaved, and allow them to dwell in their cherished memories. As the years pass, when they read through your words of sympathy again, it will bring peace and healing.
A short but meaningful letter is far less painful to read than a long letter.
It is best to not use the phrases: passed on, passed away, departed, left this life, or gone to a better life. Instead simply use death or died.
If there is some way you can be of assistance please offer your help and support. It is best to make of specific offer of some kind. Need some ideas? See this list of wonderful ways to comfort the bereaved.

Is it okay to send a typed letter?

Most experts agree that it is best to send hand-written condolence letters, however there are some instances in which it is more appropriate to send a typed letter.
When sending a formal letter of condolence you should use business letterhead or stationery. A condolence letter can be inserted inside of a condolence card.
In addition to sending a condolence here are some other ways to comfort somebody you know who has suffered the death of a loved one.

Expressing Sympathy in the Workplace

According to Peggy Post and Peter Post of the Etiquette Advantage in Business, the following advice will help you support a bereaved co-worker.

  • Attend funeral services
  • Send flowers to the home or to the service
  • Collect money from other co-workers for sending flowers as a group
  • Send a card or letter to the house, even if you sent flowers
  • Offer practical help. It can be somethings as simple as, “I will check you phone messages for you.”
  • Send a gift basket to the home or consider asking co-workers to commit to a week long schedule of delivery dinners to the family.

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