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How to Write a Sympathy Letter

Be sure to express genuine sorrow and concern

  1. Respectifully describe your admiration
    Describe how much the deceased was respected and admired by you and others.
  2. Mention what good things you liked about the person
    Write about a few of the deceased person's strengths, achievements, and successes.
  3. Discuss a positive memory
    If appropriate, include a short personal story or anecdote involving your relationship with the deceased.
  4. Keep the letter balanced
    Strike a careful balance between the formal tone of a sympathy letter and its deeply personal nature.
  5. Keep your sympathy letter short—under one page in length
    Remember that a mourner is emotionally drained.
  6. Offer to help in some way
    If you can do so sincerely, include contact information such as your cell phone number and your email address.
  7. Even better, just help in some way without being asked
    Clean their house. Mow their lawn. Bring over cooked meals. Now is your chance to show true love and charity to the mourner and his or her family.
  8. Comfort the mourner with words of hope and faith
    If you have strong religious convictions, mention your belief that the deceased will find peace and happiness in a better world.
  9. Imagine yourself in their situation
    Put yourself in the mourner's place and imagine the kind of sympathy letter you would like to receive.

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  1. Find a sympathy letter that fits your needs and copy it directly into Microsoft Word or your favorite word processor.
  2. Or let our letter recipes guide you step-by-step through the writing process, suggesting sample phrases and sentences for each writing step. In minutes, you can write an effective sympathy letter.
  3. Print your sympathy letter and send it!

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