How To Write A Letter Of Condolence & Sympathy

By: Alterna Cremation
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

When someone you care about loses a friend or family member, it’s a heartbreaking experience. Due to COVID-19, many people are losing loved ones who are older or have health conditions. It’s hard to watch a person that you love go through the depths of grief. 

How do you express to a loved one that you are sympathetic to their loss? In a pandemic, you can’t exactly show up at their home and offer them a hug. Instead, try writing them a letter of condolence. 


Handwrite it Instead of Typing it

Technology offers us unparalleled conveniences—when computers first became widespread, people feared that paper would become obsolete. Although nothing can compete with the speed and features of word processing software, it may not be the best choice when it comes to a letter of condolence.

Writing a letter by hand shows that you’ve taken the additional time and effort to share your sympathy. It will be more impactful than a card you can buy in the store. 


Keep it as Long or Short as Needed

It’s hard to put what we are feeling into words. But making that effort goes a long way to help someone in need. Even if you aren’t the most adept writer, the thought you’ve put into a letter will be a meaningful gesture. You don’t need to write pages upon pages of words about your sympathy unless you want to. There’s nothing wrong with keeping things short and saying what you really mean in 3-4 lines.

You might write a letter that’s only one page, or slightly less. Share how important that person was to you, reminisce about a fond memory you have about the deceased, or be hopeful about the future. Rather than focus on the gloom and sadness, try to maintain a hopeful tone in the letter. Emphasizing the negative might have the opposite effect that you’d like. Focus on being thankful for the time that you had with the deceased, and let your recipient know that you’ll be there for them.


Offer Support

Try to offer your loved one what they need most during this difficult time: your support. Grief does not always take a linear path. Some days will be harder than others. Let your loved one know that you’re always just a phone call away, even if that call comes early in the morning or late at night. 

You might include something special with the letter, like an item that you know your friend or family member will appreciate. Think about attaching a meal from their favourite restaurant, homemade cookies, or a comforting candle.


Be Delicate

When you’re writing something as personal as a letter of sympathy, it’s important to tread carefully. You may want to also take care to avoid bringing up negative experiences that your friend or relative had with the deceased. Even though they might not have had a perfect relationship, it does not diminish their grief. Try not to include religious sentiments unless the person you care for shares your faith.


When you lose a loved one, it can be tough to afford the costs of a casket and burial. You might prefer a simple and dignified cremation. For cremation in Winnipeg, visit Alterna Cremation. On our website, we offer grief resources, a beautiful selection of urns, and 24/7 support.


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