Here are some sample condolence and sympathy letters from which to model your own message of support.


The following letter illustrates seven components to cover in a typical condolence letter. In this case, the writer knows both the bereaved and the deceased.

Dear Keith,

1. Acknowledge the loss.

My heart ached when Tim called this morning and I heard the news of Ruthís death. Though not unexpected, the final word was still felt as a blow.

2. Express your sympathy.

Words seem so inadequate, but with this letter comes my heart filled with love and sympathy on the loss of your beloved wife. I loved her too.

3. Note special qualities of the deceased.

Ruth was a vibrant, talented, caring woman and dearly loved by everyone whose life she touched. But for me, she was even more. She was a rare and cherished friend. Through our friendship, my vision of the beauty and possibilities of life grew.

4. Recount a memory about the deceased.

As I write, flooded with precious memories, I am recalling the day when Ruth and I were driving to the coast for what we thought would be a lazy afternoon of beachcombing. Instead, we had a flat tire. Youíve never seen a pair of more fumble-fingered, grease-covered, laughing clowns than we were that day, but we did it! And we made it to the beach just in time for a glorious sunset.

5. Note special qualities of the bereaved.

I know you will miss her deeply, but I also know that you recognize the blessings of the beautiful years you shared. You were always a source of strength and courage to Ruth. I recall her once saying that your love of life and enduring optimism brought her closer to God. I trust these same qualities will help support and guide you during this oh-so-difficult time.

6. Offer assistance.

You know you have my sympathy and my friendship, and I would be grateful if you would turn to me for any help I might give. Iíll call this weekend to see if thereís anything I can do.

7. Close with a thoughtful word or phrase.

My prayers and thoughts are with you.