How to Write a Sympathy Note

If you know someone who has recently lost a loved one, it can be hard to find the right words. This is especially true when writing a sympathy note after an unexpected death. Here are some tips and tricks that may help in difficult times such as these.

Writing a sympathy note is not easy, but it is important. In this blog post, you will learn how to write a short sympathy message that will help the person who received your note.

Vintage man getting mail from mailbox beside the road.

The condolence note is likely the most difficult letter to write out of all the letters you will write in your life. Finding the correct words, or any words, to express may be very difficult. We are concerned about saying the incorrect thing, or we are uncomfortable discussing such a serious subject. As a result, it’s tempting to say nothing at all. We persuade ourselves that the other is aware of our affection and support.

And they most likely do. However, everyone would like to hear it directly from you. They want something concrete to remind them that you are thinking of them at this difficult time. Your remarks might provide a momentary but profound sense of relief.

Kate and I lost our kid when she was six months pregnant a few years back. We were both in excruciating pain. I can still remember the names of everyone who gave us a condolence message. During that terribly sad period, the cards provided moments of tranquility. I am grateful for the compassion shown to us by those who took the time to write.

As a result, the first rule of sympathy notes is that you should always write one. Take the time to write them a message, whether you live near by or far away, whether you know the person they lost well or not at all. It’s really better to express your condolences in writing rather than bringing it up with the individual the next time you see them. When you express your condolences in public, you risk bringing up all of the bereaved person’s emotions at a time when they’d prefer keep their cool. In the privacy of one’s own home, one may read and feel a condolence message.

How to Compose a Sympathy Letter

Make use of high-quality stationery. Notes may be scribbled on whatever is available. However, a better letter is required for the condolence card. Death is the most serious of situations, and your medium should reflect your regard for its gravity.

Keep it brief and straightforward. Many guys are unable to begin writing because they believe they must write something profound and philosophical about death, dying, and hope. While the terrible news is that there’s nothing you can say to make someone’s suffering go away, the good news is that the grieving buddy understands. They aren’t anticipating anything significant. They just want to know that you are thinking of them and are concerned about their well-being.

Begin by expressing your sorrow after learning of the deceased. “I was heartbroken to learn of your father’s passing.”

Share a story from your past. You can’t do much to make someone’s pain go away, but sharing a recollection of the departed person gets close. It allows the individual to laugh and recollect for a few seconds. It also gives them comfort to know that others have particular recollections of their loved one. Share some of the deceased’s unique characteristics and treasured recollections.


If you don’t know who your buddy’s friend lost, skip this step. If your friend has lost a baby, let them know that you realize that, even though they never got to meet their kid, they are mourning the loss of the future they had envisioned with him or her.

Don’t attempt to justify your loss. If you’re a religious person, refrain from using things like “God’s plan” or “God’s will.” This may be something the individual eventually believes, but in the heat of their sorrow, the concept of God removing their loved one from the earth is likely to irritate them. I met a man who was left to raise his five young children alone after his wife died in a car accident. “I’m going to punch someone out if I hear one more person say, ‘God needs her more in heaven,’” he remarked to me.

Make no comparisons between your loss and theirs. This is particularly true if you haven’t had a similar experience before. Don’t tell them how you know what they’re going through since your dog just died last week if their kid has died. You’ll come off as callous and irritate them. A reference to your capacity to fully empathise is suitable if you have suffered a comparable loss. However, don’t ramble on and on about how you felt at the moment; keep the attention on the other person.

Show your support for the cause. Tell them you’re thinking of them and praying for them. If you or your friend or family member is not religious, just say, “My heart and thoughts are with you at this tough time.”

Finally, offer your assistance. Please let the individual know if there is anything you can do for them or if they ever want to chat or hang out with you.


Dear Leo-

Nancy, I was heartbroken to learn about your mother’s passing. Your mother was always vibrant and a joy to be around. She’d always be making cookies for us, listening to her favorite Prince record, and getting down in the kitchen when we got home after school. When you were around her, you couldn’t help but smile. She was like a second mother to me, and I liked coming over to see her and telling her about my life. I’ll miss our conversations since she always offered me the finest advise.

I understand how heartbreaking it is to lose your mother. It was really upsetting when my mother died last year. I understand that it seemed unattainable right now, but things will improve. With each passing week, you’ll feel a bit better. All you have to do now is keep placing one foot in front of the other.


Every day, I think about you and pray for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you ever want to speak or have a drink.

I send my heartfelt condolences.


And here’s an actual example of a wonderful sympathy letter.

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. penned the letter. He is most known for his work as an actor, but he was also a distinguished Naval officer. The US Navy’s Legion of Merit with bronze V (for heroism), the Italian War Cross for Military Valor, the French Légion d’honneur and the Croix de guerre, and the British Distinguished Service Cross are among his honors.

Fairbanks sent the following message to Kremer’s mother after his best buddy John Kremer was murdered when a kamikaze jet slammed into the USS Orestes during WWII.

Jan 9th

Greetings, Mrs. Kremer!

John’s name has now come to my attention. No words I can say will provide you the comfort and strength you need right now. However, I couldn’t let the day go by without informing you of how profoundly I am affected by this devastating news. To say I liked John would be an understatement for anybody who had ever met him. He was a guy I admired for his bravery, respected for his intelligence, and valued for his friendship. No one will miss him as much as you will, but know that I, for one, will remember him fondly and consider myself privileged to have known him—at least for the time that I have left on this “mortal coil.” “I hope he is sitting on a beautiful comfy cloud, chatting in Greek, with a quartet of harps playing soothing chamber music to him,” Dick Barthelmess said in an email to me. That’s something he’d appreciate.” That, I believe, is correct. This kind of letter should be quick, but I’ve continued because I wanted to express my feelings about a wonderful guy, a brave fighter, and a great friend. My wife joins me in offering you and the children our heartfelt sympathies and friendship, with the hope that the immense pain you are experiencing will be tempered in some way by the pride you must be experiencing.

Lt. Commander USNR Douglas Fairbanks Jr.


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