How to Write a Sympathy Poem for Loss of a Loved One


When a dear friend loses a loved one, it is natural to want to offer comfort and let the person know how much you care. Often, it can be hard to find the right words at a funeral or face to face, but it is much easier to put those feelings into written form. Penning a poem that celebrates that life of the person who was lost can provide comfort in times of grief and is a touching gift and memorial for those left behind.

Writing the Poem

  • Come up with ideas that will celebrate the life of the person who passed away. Whether you knew the person well or not, chances are that you have at the very least heard friends and family speak about special memories and details about the deceased's life. Use these details and happy memories as a starting point. Spend some time brainstorming and writing down every idea you can think of.

  • Expand the ideas by thinking of descriptive words that go with each detail. For example, if the person who has died loved to bake cookies, you might write words such as cookies, chocolate chips, smells of home, comfort food, loving recipes and so on. Write as many words as you can think of. The initial words will tend to be very common and will grow more interesting as you have to search for more descriptive terms.

  • Get your rough draft down on paper. You will likely have to rewrite the poem several times, but it helps to have an initial poem with which to work.

  • Use words that create a mental picture for the reader. For example, instead of "the door," be more specific: "the blueberry-colored door with cracking paint."

  • Edit by reading the poem out loud several times to make sure that the flow of the words is strong and falls easily off the lips.

Presentation Is Everything

  • Choose paper on which to print the poem. If your friend is religious, stationary with a church or cross in the background can offer comfort. If not, use stationary with an image of pretty scenery, a sunset or a tranquil mountain scene. You can find many different options at your local office supply store and online at stores such as

  • Choose a font. Most word processing programs come with several fonts already installed. Choose a font that looks decorative, but is still easy to read. Many of the script fonts can be difficult to read. Print out several test sheets on blank or scrap paper to ensure you are happy with the presentation.

  • Put the final touches on your gift, by either placing the poem in a frame or rolling the sheet up like a scroll and tying a ribbon around it. Give the final product as a gift or keep it as your own personal memento.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider publishing the poem online, so that out-of-town family members can read it. Set up a free blog at sites such as, where people can add their own thoughts or comments about the deceased.
  • Gain inspiration by reading poems by other people. You never know when this might spark an idea. Just be sure not to copy. Your poem should be unique and focus on the memory of the person who has passed on.
  • Consider reading the poem at the funeral if the rest of the family agrees. If you are not able to read the poem without getting emotional, ask a friend to read it for you.
  • If you are giving the poem as a gift, think about the timing of presenting it. During the days of the funeral may not be the best time to present your gift, as the other person will be highly emotional. It might be best to wait a few days or even a couple of weeks and then give the poem as a gift. This will allow the reader to appreciate the poem more.
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