Offering sympathies and condolences can be very difficult and most of us struggle with words while writing condolence letters. In fact, a good number of people do not know what to say when meeting the bereaved family in person. This is for the simple reason that the loss of a loved one is too big to be expressed in words. There are no words that can be consoling enough for a person who is facing such a testing situation. However, you need to show the bereaved that you connect with his/her loss and share the sorrow. This article brings you some helpful tips on how to write a well-meaning condolence letter. Read on to help yourself.
Tips For Writing Condolence Letters
Components Of The Letter
- The loss of the deceased is to be acknowledged and his/her name is to be mentioned in the letter.
- Express your heart-felt sympathy towards the bereaved.
- Note any special qualities or characteristics of the deceased that you can remember.
- Try to include your favorite memory of the deceased.
- Remind the bereaved of their personal strengths and special qualities to lift their spirits.
- Offer help, but be specific in your offer. Instead of writing, “Let me know if I can help with anything at all,” write the specific help that you can do, such as “I would like to do the grocery shopping for you this week.”
Writing The Letter
- Try to keep the condolence letter short, as the bereaved family may have piles of cards and letters to read and answer.
- Make sure you never use words like “I know what you are feeling” as ‘you’ really can’t feel the magnitude of ‘their’ loss. Even if you have been in the same situation, grief is so intimate that it is unique to every individual. Instead, write, “I understand it is difficult for you, but you are strong enough to overcome it.”
- Since acknowledging the loss makes more sense than being in denial, you can write, “I know that you are suffering and I share your sorrow.” Reassure the bereaved that he/she will soon be able to deal with the loss.
- Send a hand-written condolence letter. It is a personal note that you are sending with heartfelt sympathies, and it is therefore better to make it appear that way. Typed letters and emails convey a very impersonal touch.
- Conclude your condolence letter with an appropriately meaningful thought or phrase, such as ‘you are in my thoughts' or ‘may God be with you during this difficult time'. The conventional ‘sincerely' or ‘love' don’t seem to be appropriate, considering the time and situation.
- Make sure that you send your letter immediately. Condolence letter loses its meaning and purpose if it reaches the bereaved by the time he/she has already overcome the loss and moved on.