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Condolence Letter Format Example - a Helpful Template to Use

Category: Letters Of Condolence

Condolence letters can be challenging to write. Sometimes, you know exactly the words to pen in order to show a close friend, family member or work colleague a meaningful offering of support, but other times, you simply can’t think of the right words to write down.

Whilst you may find offerings of love to friends and family easier to write down, how do you write a condolence letter or sympathy message to someone you don’t know well as well?

If you’re finding it difficult to reach inside and put your thoughts and feelings down into a special message of sympathy that can be cherished and revisited by a loved one time and time again, we’ve put together a helpful condolence letter template for you to use, which uses

1. Acknowledge the loss of the loved one and refer to the deceased by name.

It can be hard to address this so directly but by recognising that somebody has died, it will help the bereaved during such a painful time of grief. Use this condolence letter example loosely and adapt the title accordingly depending on whether or not you are addressing a friend, family member, work colleague or client, etc.

E.g. “Dear (Mrs/Mr/Sir/Madam or name of recipient),”

2. Express sympathy and heartfelt condolences.

E.g. “Please accept my/our heartfelt sympathy for you and your family during this difficult time.

It was with a heavy heart that I/we heard about the recent loss of your (write down the name of the family member/friend/colleague) and I/we wanted to reach out and express my condolences during such a difficult time.”

3. Explain your relationship to the deceased.

This is of particular importance if the person you are writing to doesn’t know who you were to them.

E.g. “I worked with Paul for several years”.

4. Consider sharing some special or distinctive qualities of the deceased.

E.g. “He was a wonderful man, full of joy and love for others around him. He touched all whom he met and his kindness will be hugely missed.”

5. Write down a special memory, story or anecdote.

This can be helpful for the person’s suffering and help to show the meaningful impact their loved one had on the people’s lives around them.

6. Include a thoughtful and meaningful action or offer specific support to the bereaved.

Make sure to include any particular offerings of help or support in your condolence letter and stick to these. This could be anything from offering to pick up their weekly groceries, baking some sweet treats or sending a beautiful bouquet of flowers from slightly further afar.

7. End your condolence letter with a thoughtful hope, wish, or sympathy expression.

E.g. “While there are no words I/we can say to lessen your pain during this difficult time, if there is anything I/we can do to help, please just let me/us know”. (You can also add in a specific action, such as “I will call you in the next week.”)

Again, I/we all send you our deepest sympathy and hold you in our thoughts and prayers.”

Sincerely/faithfully/with sympathy”

Always sign off with your personal signature - handwritten.