Letter Announcing a Death
These days most of us find out about the death of a family member, close friend or work colleague via a telephone call or by another close relative, friend or work colleague coming to visit us in person and a formal letter announcing a death is not as common as it may have been many years ago. Usually, a more formal announcement is made by way of having an obituary placed in a local newspaper which also enables those who knew the deceased to obtain details of the funeral arrangements. However, there may be occasions whereby a letter announcing a death is more appropriate and often, it can be very much a judgement call as to the method by which you want to inform people of a death.
An example of when you might choose to write a letter of this kind would be if you had a relative or friend who lived overseas whom you might not speak to very often but whom you think should, perhaps, be informed. The timing of the letter should be in advance of the funeral wherever possible, however, to enable the recipient to pay their respects in some way, e.g. sending their own letter of condolence, sending flowers or to allow them time to arrange to attend the funeral.
How to Write the LetterThe style and tone of such a letter will vary and will very much depend upon both your relationship with the recipient and also their relationship with the deceased. They can be informal or formal in nature but, as it’s an announcement, you should adopt a solemn tone. Similarly, depending on your relationship with the recipient, the letter might be hand-written or typed. The content of the letter should be quite brief and should not include much else beyond the announcement, any background information you may wish to include and the funeral arrangements.
Here is an example of a fairly informal letter to a distant cousin living abroad informing them that their Aunt has died.
I regret to inform you that Aunt Elizabeth passed away last Monday (22nd). She had been suffering with lung cancer for the past year, as you know and, despite the fact that she’d recently spent her 80th birthday surrounded by her friends and family at home, her condition worsened at the beginning of the month and she died peacefully in hospital, having been admitted 10 days ago.
You will be happy to hear that her final few weeks were full of joy and laughter and, once her condition got worse, she was in little pain and did not have to endure any suffering.
Her funeral is taking place at St. Paul’s Church in her home village of Wrenbury a week on Friday (4th), where she will also be laid to rest alongside Uncle Stan. And, whilst none of us here would expect you to be able to attend, being so far away, we are asking that donations should be made in lieu of floral tributes, which were Elizabeth’s wishes, so I have attached details with this letter, should you wish to make a contribution.
I’m so sorry to have to bring you this sad news and hope to be able to speak to you about happier events, the next time I write.Meanwhile, if you need any further information, please don’t hesitate to call me.
With my fondest love,