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Condolence Letters – Writing a Condolence Letter to an Adult Who Has Lost a Parent

Condolence letters offer comfort and support long after the death of a parent, which can take years to accept. Your condolence letter can be a source of comfort throughout those difficult years. As we grow older, we start to reconcile with the fact that our parents are likely to die before us. Our parents are living longer, which give us more time to come to terms with their death. But when faced with the reality of their death, it is very difficult to overcome emotions of grief and bewilderment. A condolence letter written sincerely can help the bereaved adult child through the difficult times ahead.

Adult Children Dealing with the Death of a Parent

Regardless of your age and experience, your parent is always your parent. Your bond with your parents is a part of your identity that never goes away. Everyone can relate to the death of a parent, biological or not, grandparent or guardian.

Each of us is a son or a daughter, who at some point will lose a parent. You can use this knowledge as a basis for your condolence letter to the bereaved adult child. If you’ve already lost a parent, think back to what you felt and how you reacted and imagine that’s what the bereaved is feeling right now. If you haven’t already lost a parent, imagine what that might be like for yourself and the bereaved. Jot down those emotions and notes to use later in your condolence letter.

A friend of mine, whose father had passed, told me how terrified he was of approaching age forty-two because his father passed away at age forty-two. When parents die, you become more aware of your own mortality. Sometimes you might feel your parents have abandoned you and you are now an orphan no matter how old you are. The sense of loss overshadows everything you do.

Understanding this will help you to write an excellent condolence letter that truly comforts and supports the grieving adult child.

Dealing with Grief

For many adult children, grieving in public is unacceptable. People frown on such behavior. Friends and well-wishers focus their attention on the surviving spouse, or the grandchildren. No one recognizes that adult children are also grieving. In addition, when there is one surviving parent, the adult child feels it is his or her duty to “take care” of their parent and stifle their own grief.

Your condolence letter should acknowledge the fact that grieving is not only acceptable, but also necessary to get past the pain of losing a parent. Your condolence letter will likely be read in private when the bereaved can allow their emotions to come out, no matter what they are, sadness, anger, fear, relief, and so on.

Death after an Extended Illness

As an adult watching your parent go through a long period of severe illness is burdensome. The strain of being financially and emotionally responsible for their care is tremendous. You also have to devote a lot of your time in caring for your parent. If you consider the positive side, you will have more than enough time to prepare yourself emotionally to say your goodbyes. On the other hand, death can bring relief mixed with anger, exhaustion and depression.

Your condolence letter to the adult child of a parent who died of an extended illness should also acknowledge the dedication and commitment it took to take care of them, and now the bereaved can take rest and look after him or herself now. They did everything they could for their parent.

Writing a Condolence Letter

The death of a parent can be devastating, a relief or any emotion in between. Knowing that there is a complex relationship between parents and children and understanding that this is a difficult time no matter what the relationship was like, will help you write a touching and effective condolence letter.

The most important thing to remember is it doesn’t matter what you write. Just go ahead and write that condolence letter.



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