sympathy letters

Sympathy Letters: The Ultimate Guide for Writing Words of Sympathy


The following sympathy letter tips and sample letters can make it much easier to write a letter that will be treasured for years to come.

  • Use the deceased’s name.
  • Make it personal.
  • Find a nice solid-colored stationery. Cream, white or ivory are good choices.
  • Make sure the stationery you use is archival and acid-free to make your letter easier to preserve.
  • As a general rule, a letter of sympathy should be hand-written with black ink.
  • Keep your sympathy message brief.
  • Accept that there is nothing you can say to take away their grief and pain. Instead make it your goal to show your support and care.
  • Still send a sympathy card even if it will be late. Bereaved individuals usually are still glad to received a belated card or letter, but completely being ignored at such a difficult time and be harder to deal with.
  • Do not display pity. Pity and sympathy are very different.
  • You may want to mention that you do not expect a response or a thank you card.

A Comforting Sympathy Letter: Tips for Writing a Letter That Celebrates a Loved One’s Life

Sympathy messages don’t have to be depressing. A letter of sympathy can help the bereaved to recall in more detail the special characteristics of their loved one and the impact they have had on the life’s of others.

  • Telling about visits to your home
  • Recalling favorite memories and good times shared
  • Sharing lessons learned from him or her
  • Reminding them of a favorite saying by them

Should I Send a Letter or a Sympathy Note?

When to send a letter of sympathy instead of a card or a note.
Next, have a look at some sympathy letter examples.
You may also be interested in:
A sample letter of sympathy (suitable for a variety of circumstances).
Inspiring sympathy letters shared by our readers.