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Condolence Letters

Resume Cover Letters » Sample Letters » Condolence Letters

The feeling of losing a near and dear one is very painful. The loss is something that cannot be compensated for. In such situations, a few words of sympathy, might give the much-needed moral support. To communicate your sympathy, concern and sorrow to someone, one needs to write a condolence letter. This letter expresses one's sympathy and concern towards the person who has lost a close friend, partner or relative. However, this letter is used in some other situations as well, such as - death of a pet, loss of a job, loss of valuables, etc. Usually this letter is only used in case of death of a person, and only in rare cases this letter is written in the above-mentioned scenarios.

Expressing the feeling of sorrow or empathy for someone via written communication, can at times be difficult. It might also seem ridiculous. However, if one cannot go and meet the person in grief, he/she can at least express his/her feeling via this letter. This makes writing a condolence letter essential in such situations. If situations are such that it is impossible for you to be with the person who is in grief, you cannot just escape from the situations and shrug your shoulders. Writing this letter would not take much of your time; however, it would help heal someone who would expect some moral support and sympathy from you in such situations.

As these letters are written to sympathize the grieved, these letters are not formal letters. Even when written for a business associate or client, the letter is not a formal letter completely. The matter/content of the letter would change according to your relation with the person. Let us discuss this further, before moving to the instructions for writing a condolence letter.

Condolence letter for informal relations:

This letter would be addressed to a relative, friend, colleague, etc. Here the relationship that you share with the person is not formal. You know the person very well, you spend time together, you share thoughts, etc. You might have had certain experiences that strengthen your bond with the person. Here you do not need to be formal. You can address the person by his/her nickname, use a very casual language; the letter could be a blend of your mother tongue and any other language that both of you know. The aim however, remains the same, providing your sympathy and moral support.

Condolence letter for formal relations:

Your client, business associate, etc., has lost someone and here it is your duty to write a letter of condolence not only on the grounds of humanity, but also due to the professional bond that you share. Again, the purpose as mentioned above remains the same. However, the way you console or sympathize with the person slightly varies. Here you share a professional relation with the person, thus you can make any personal references, use nicknames, etc. You need to write the letter in the business language, and address it to the person directly. The subject line however, would not be a part of this letter, despite of it being a formal letter. The letter has to be precise. Unlike informal letters, you cannot go on and on showing your sympathy and make your letter look fake. Be precise and polite in your tone. Since it is a formal letter, it is advisable to write this letter on the company's letterhead, and address it with your name and designation.

Instructions to write a condolence letter:

  1. The letter is written to sympathize with someone when he/she is in grief. Thus, the letter should be simple and should have a soothing and calming tone.

  2. Express your grief for the loss of the person, and mention one or two incidents that made you feel worse on the fact of losing the person

  3. Ensure the grieved that your support would be there with him/her and he/she could contact you whenever in any need or trouble

  4. End with a positive note that would serve as a moral support to the reader. A sentence like 'Though he is not there amongst us today, his soul is with us and he will always be alive in our hearts', would help in calming the reader.

Be careful while writing this letter as the person to whom you address the letter is already in grief and your words should be healing and not hurting. Some sample condolence letters in the links below can be used as a reference.

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