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After the death of a child, a condolence letter can help bring comfort to the family. But it can be hard to know what to say. Friends want to sound genuine and offer support. But the words often do not come easily.
Condolence letters are written to benefit the family. They show support and remember the child. Families may keep these letters as a remembrance of their child’s life. They may reread them as a source of comfort. Families can learn new stories about the child and deepen ties with friends through sharing memories.
A note of condolence does not need to be long or complicated. The pressure of finding the “right” words often keeps people from writing. A few tips can help:
Use a calendar to remind you to follow up with phone calls or help. Make a reminder to send another card or reach out to the family with a text or phone call on important dates, such as the child’s birthday or anniversary of the death. This helps families know that they and their children are not forgotten.
It can help to break the letter down into its basic parts: opening, middle, and closing. A helpful outline is to:
Many people never send a note because they do not know where to begin. Write on simple stationery or a sympathy card. Start by writing a greeting. When writing to parents, consider addressing the letter to siblings as well.
The main part of the letter should make a personal connection. Write from the heart. Often people feel as if they should be excessively formal given the situation. But honest feelings convey much more.
Reminders for writing the middle of the condolence note include:
The close of a condolence letter is often where help is offered. If you are unsure what to offer, simply express care and support.
When offering help:
The final sentence of a condolence letter can sometimes feel as difficult as the first. End with an expression of hope or sympathy. Sample closings include:
Below are some samples of condolence letters. These may help you write a condolence letter.
Reviewed: November 2023