Writing Sympathy Letters
When someone experiences a death in the family or the loss of a loved one, writing a sympathy letter or sharing your thoughts on a sympathy card can be greatly appreciated by those grieving. But finding the right words to help comfort someone after they’ve lost a love one is always a difficult endeavor. You have to balance the line between showing heartfelt condolences and trying not to upset them further.
We’re going to share several tips on what you should write in a sympathy letter or card, and we’ll explain why they’re important and sometimes necessary.
6 Tips to Writing a Sympathy Letter or Card
By just taking some time to write a sympathy letter or shopping for a good sympathy card goes a long way in helping someone understand how much you care for them in their time of need. Here are a few tips for writing a sympathy letter that will help you get across what you want tactfully.
Short Letters Do the Job
Don’t be concerned about sharing every memory or listing out all the ways someone touched your life. Remember that it’s more important to be heartfelt and genuine than it is all-encompassing.
This is All About Them, Not You
You don’t want them to feel like they have to console you for your loss – so make sure you let them understand how much they are in your thoughts. “You must be going through so much right now,” is a good way to say you’re thinking about them and their current situation.
Don’t Make Comparisons to Your Life
One of the worst things you can do is to compare their loss to a loss you’ve experienced. Eventually, they might ask for your advice, but saying things like, “I know what it’s like,” and “I know how it feels to lose someone,” is just not helpful at this time. Knowing that every person and every relationship is different, try to say something like, “I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now.” You can, however, say something like, “You were there for me when I went through my loss, and I want to be there for you.”
Share a Single Fond Memory
Rather than listing off all the ways your life changed because of this one person, try to just pick out one specific memory that encompasses their love and spirit. Maybe it was something poignant they said to you when you were down. Maybe it was something they praised you for when you were up.
Leave the Drama Behind
If you had some bad experiences with the person that died, now is not the time to acknowledge that. Concentrate your letter on the grieving person and that you are sympathetic with their loss of a loved one.
Offer Specific Help
Don’t just ask them to let you know how you can help – offer specific ways you can help them during their difficult time. Tell them you can pick up their kids from school or let them know you will do some shopping or cooking for them. Think of what they’ll need – and how you can help them.
Writing a sympathy letter isn’t an easy thing to do, but with the right words and the right sentiment, they can go a long way in helping a grieving friend feel loved.