Writing a Condolence Letter

A death has occurred and you’re at a loss for words, your first thought is to go to the store and purchase a sympathy card. Yet you want it to be more personal than a card with something like Deepest Sympathy on the loss of your loved one with a brief sentiment on the inside. Yet your heart and mind tell you to say more, you have been a part of the deceased’s life for most of your lives. Then a fleeting thought enters your mind of making a memorial donation in their memory, though you still want to be personal.

The loss of friend is just as heartbreaking as the loss of a family member, your friend was just like family. You met in kindergarten, developed a friendship that spanned many years, attended one another’s marriages, birth of children and many other life cycle events. Now your faced with writing a condolence letter to the family. Yes, some people do still write letters, as convenient as it may seem to send a text or an email it’s just not personal enough. Now, you find yourself asking what do I need to say.

The answer isn’t really as complicated as it may seem, it’s a matter of not over thinking and letting your mind flow. Since the death occurred you may have been reminiscing about days and moments gone by, those special times of life. You think of the day you met, the school trips, the times on the playground, the trek to the candy store, the first dates, the pool parties, the weddings and baby showers.

The letter can be short or long and it shouldn’t be about you and your family alone, yes it can be mentioned how the loss has had an impact on you and yours.

How to start

A flow of many emotions will be going through you as you take pen to paper to write your letter. This is normal, those teary eye moments, the laughter and back to tears while you reminisce. In your letter from the heart talk about the special life moments, start off with, “Your mom, she was a wonderful lady”, I remember the time your father and I first went fishing at the lake”, and tell the story of the adventure. Talk about the happy and good times the moments of wonder, awe, the road trips you took together, how dreams were fulfilled and adventures had. The letter can be as long or short as you like just remember it doesn’t have to be the next great novel.

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