Sample letters of sympathy and condolences can serve as inspiration for your own sincere letter of sympathy, and provide you with guidance as to the proper etiquette of sending condolences. Death is a tragic time for the surviving family members and friends, and offering the right words of comfort can go a long way to helping them heal. Saying the wrong thing unintentionally however, can cause undue pain and even damage a previously warm relationship. That is why you should take the time to browse the sample letters of sympathy and condolences that we have provided below. And take a look at the etiquette of sending condolences using our sample letters of sympathy and condolences in the article further down this page.
As you look at the wealth of sample letters of sympathy and condolences that we have provided for your reference, let's also take a closer look at several sample condolence letters that exercise proper etiquette. Etiquette is important when writing a condolence letter, and though it is fairly straightforward, it is good practice to grasp a full understanding of it so that your words of comfort achieve their goal; to bring comfort to the bereaved, without unintentionally causing any upset. Okay, let's analyze a few sample letters of sympathy and condolences.
Dear Mr. Murphy,
I just wanted to let you know how sorry I was to hear about the death of your dear wife Louise. I know how much you loved each other; it was obvious whenever you were together. I didn't know Louise as well as I know you, but I know of her charitable work and friendly nature. My mother actually worked with Louise on a few charity drives, and wishes me to extend her own condolences. May God bless and comfort you and your family at this time.
With warmest regards,
The above letter as you will see is written by a businessman to one of his clients who has lost his wife. You will notice that the letter is quite formal (use of Mr. in salutation), though it is warm ad comforting in nature. As with all of our sample letters of sympathy and condolences, it is based on a common real life scenario, and adapted from actual condolence letters. You can also see that the letter is signed using both given and surnames as the two have a business relationship, and etiquette requires that one doesn't cross certain boundaries when writing condolence letters.
Writing a letter of condolence to a friend can be less formal in structure. Let's look at the one below.
I am so sorry to be writing you under these circumstances. I was floored when I received the call from your sister Debbie. I don't know what to say Pete, except that I'm so, so sorry to hear about the death of your mom. It seems like only yesterday we were hanging out in your den, wolfing down those awesome tacos she used to make. "Get your feet off the table please Ron", I can hear her saying now "And watch the crumbs". I'm really sorry man; I hope you're doing okay. I'll be there on Friday, so hang in there till then my friend. I'll be arriving at around 2pm; I'll call you from the hotel when I get in.
Please let your dad and your sisters know how truly sorry I am. You guys are like my second family. The time I spent growing up with you in (your city, town) is such a big part of who I am. I so wish we were seeing each other again under different circumstances.
In reply to Debbie's request, I will be happy to be a pall bearer. It will be an honour. Your mom did so much for me that I would have been upset if you hadn't asked. It's the least I can do for her, and for you all.
I'll see you in a few days buddy. Remember what your mom always said; "Whenever you're having a hard time finding the answer, look under your nose. So often it's there right in front of you". I never really knew if she was talking about my nose or the answer!
Take care my friend, I'll see you soon.
As sample letters of sympathy and condolence go, this is one of the more informal structures one can use. It is to a good friend, so certain formalities such as full names and correct salutations can be overlooked. Notice that certain practices of good etiquette are incorporated however, and they are:
As you can see, sample letters of sympathy and condolences can provide us with ideas and the initiative to pen our own loving sympathy words and sayings. Take the time now to browse through our sample letters of sympathy and condolences above, and if you don't find an example that fits your circumstance, please let us know and we will add that scenario to our collection of sample letters of sympathy and condolences.
Of you would like to read more about condolence, please have a look through our Sympathy Resources.