How To Write Letter Of Sympathy For A Terminal Illness ?  

When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, perhaps writing a letter of sympathy will be one of the most difficult tasks for close friends and acquaintances. A person may not know what to write or may even end up feeling that life is just not worth it. Regardless of your feelings, writing a letter of sympathy is a must if you know the person well. It will definitely not be easy, but the letter will be able to convey your deep regards for the person.

A terminal illness diagnosis is always devastating for the person who has it and for the rest of the family members. Just receiving a letter of sympathy from close friends and acquaintances can help the person feel cheerful. However, it is imperative that you avoid clichés and also not give false hope to the person. Instead you can mention your shock on hearing the news that the person was diagnosed with the terminal illness. Make sure that you hand write the letter on your personal stationary. You can also send a card, as long as you make an effort to write a few words in it.

When writing a letter of sympathy for a terminal illness, make sure you address the person by name. Mention how you heard about the person’s illness and express your dismay on learning it. This is the time that you should offer your sympathy to the person in addition to your thoughts, good wishes and prayers, if the person is religious. If you like you can also dwell on some incident that the two of you shared together and how much fun you had. This will not only comfort the person, but also show that your feelings of sympathy are genuine.

You can keep the letter a short one consisting for just a few lines or a slightly longer one. But do not write pages and pages.

Refrain from making your letter extremely dramatic. Yes, the person has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, but it the person who has to cope with it, knowing that they will not be around for too long. If you are dismayed or shocked about hearing the news, say just that instead of trying to sensationalize the issue. Just saying a simple “I am sorry” can often be quite comforting.

Avoid trying to get the person to turn to religion if he or she has no religious beliefs. The last thing the person needs is a close friend or acquaintance trying to be philosophical about life and death and offering religion as a way to escape from reality. Your letter of sympathy for a terminal illness should refrain from giving the person any sort of advice or false hope.

The letter of sympathy should not be about your feelings. At the same time, do not offer pity to the person. Sympathy allows a person to feel that they still have the ability to overcome an unfortunate incident in their life, whereas pity implies that the person has given up hope. While you are not offering any form of hope, do not let the person feel as though everything is lost because of the terminal illness.

Also, this is not the time to mention anything about the person’s death. This is a topic that the diagnosed person should bring up with you when they talk to face to face. You should be telling the person that you were sorry to hear about the illness and you were thinking of them, and hence, the letter. Do not send a get well card to the person if you want to send a card. Instead go for a plain card or a card that says you were thinking of the person.

Here is a sample sympathy letter for a terminal illness that you may find useful when drafting your own letter.


Dear John,

I am hoping that you’ll not take it amiss that Kate mentioned about your illness. I would like you to know that you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I will be giving you a call soon, and I hoping that you will be up to it when I come to visit you.

Also, please know that any time I call you or come to visit you and you do not feel up to it, please tell me so. I will not get upset or offended. I just want what is best for you, so there is no reason for be to think otherwise.

I am looking forward to seeing you real soon when you are up to it.

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Support For Terminal Illness      It is not easy offering support for terminal illness. Often a person is hard pressed for words and feels helpless as they do not know what to do or say when someone close to them is formed that he or she has a terminal illness. One thing is for sure that when a near and dear one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it will not change the relationship that you share with the person. However, if you are worried about it, you should look for ways to strengthen and improve the relationship. More..




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