Letters of condolence

Writing letters of condolence

For most people, writing letters of condolence to the bereaved is not a common experience, and so it can be easy to find yourself struggling to express your feelings. The following suggestions are a simple guide; you may wish to add personal comments to make the letter more appropriate to you, the deceased and the relationship you had. Your letter of condolence will be of great comfort to the family of the deceased - the bereaved often like to feel that their loved one positively affected the lives of others. Letters of condolence do not have to be long. It is more important that the content is sincere and genuine feeling is expressed. We would advise that you try to post the letter as soon as possible.

A letter to a close friend

Dear ........
I wanted to write to express my sorrow at the sad news at the death of [name of the deceased]. He/She was such a special person that no words are really adequate. He/She brought pleasure to everyone that knew him/her, and he/she will be sadly missed. All of our friends that I have spoken to have their own treasured memories of [name of the deceased], and I know how much they valued their friendship. I will be in touch in the next few days, but if you want to talk and share our memories of [name of deceased] or if you need any practical chores or shopping doing, please let me know.

A letter to someone who has experienced an accidental or sudden death of a loved one

Dear ........
I was so sorry to hear about the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of [name of deceased]. I cannot begin to understand the shock and disbelief that you must be feeling. His/Her sudden death comes as a tragic loss to all that knew him/her, but you must feel the gap left in life more than anyone. If there is anything I can do to be of practical help, please let me know.

A letter to the family of a colleague who has died

Dear .........
I am writing on behalf of all the friends and colleagues of [name of deceased] at [name of company/organisation] to express our sympathy at this time of your sad loss. [Name of deceased] was a valued and respected member of our team who contributed to the company/organisation in many ways. In addition to his/her working/professional achievements he/she was always thoughtful towards his/her colleagues, and everyone enjoyed working with him/her. [Name of deceased] often spoke fondly of his family, and our thoughts are with you all at this time of sadness.

A letter to the family of an acquaintance

Dear ........
It was with great sadness that I learnt about the death of [name of deceased]. Although I did not know him/her well, I always enjoyed meeting him/her and Iím sure he/she will be sadly missed by his/her family and friends. Please accept my sympathy for your sad loss.

A letter to a family who have lost a child

Dear .........
I was very sorry to learn about the death of [name of deceased]. He/She was such a happy, friendly child and you must miss them dreadfully. In his/her short life, [name of deceased] experienced many happy times and received and gave so much affection. No words can give comfort at such a tragic time, but if you want to talk or need practical help I am always available.

We offer bereavement advice and a range of support services to help you.