Writing a letter of condolence

Writing a letter of condolence

When writing a letter of condolence, it is extremely important to sound authentic and to write from the heart.
Express your sadness in the introduction, send your sincerest sympathy and say some words about the deceased.

Examples of introductions:
  • We were greatly shocked to hear about the sudden death of your father.
  • The news of the death of your sister touched me deeply.
  • You have lost a very close companion in the death of your father.

Sentences that characterise the departed:
  • We valued his joviality and his sense of humour greatly and will miss him deeply.
  • She always had a good word for everyone and became close to our hearts thanks to her great gift for empathy.
If your relationship with the bereaved is close, you can recall some mutual memories and also offer your help, if appropriate.

An apt quotation could be just right here:
  • The only important things in life are the traces of love that we leave behind when we go. (Albert Schweitzer)
  • It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone. (John Steinbeck)
  • When you look for me, look for me in your heart. If I have found a place there, I shall live in you forever. (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Be careful not to use overblown or flowery language. You can end such a letter with the words "My thoughts are with you" or simply with your signature.
And another thing: a letter of condolence doesn't need to be long but it does need to come from the heart!

Here are some examples:
  • It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of your husband. We knew him as a very helpful and humble person. We will miss his cheerfulness and positive attitude towards life. We feel with you. Let us know if we can do anything for you. Our thoughts are with you, family XY
  • After a long illness, your mother has found peace. We have always admired her helpfulness and kindness. We will miss her tireless commitment in our enterprise very much. We express our deepest sympathy to you. Erna and Werner XY

Further information about comfort & grief