Q:

What are the steps to writing a good condolence letter?

A:

Quick Answer

A good condolence letter includes expressions of compassion and sympathy to the person who is grieving. Before beginning, select some high-quality stationery and a comfortable ink pen, as a handwritten letter is more sincere. Have some regular paper on hand to write an initial draft of the letter.

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Full Answer

  1. Draft the letter

    Start a draft of the letter by addressing the grieving person and noting that you sympathize with the grief the bereavement has caused. Mention a fond memory you have of the person who has died. If you did not know the deceased, note that you too have experienced loss and that you understand the grief. Keep the letter short.

  2. Offer assistance

    Toward the end of your letter, offer to help the recipient with some of the everyday tasks that can become difficult to accomplish after a loss. Tasks such as cooking, housework and taking clothes to the cleaners are often neglected in times of mourning. Offer an hour or two of your time to bring by food or pick up and drop off laundry. If you live or work close enough to facilitate this, the gesture goes a long way toward showing the recipient that you care.

  3. Write the letter by hand

    Write the final letter on linen or other premium stationary. Handwritten letters are perceived as more sincere than pre-printed note cards. Even a short handwritten short on a pre-printed card is better than simply signing a card. Writing your letter on special stationery adds a personal touch and gives a warm feel to the letter, making your sentiments stand out in the mind of the grieving person.

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