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

By Lori Soard

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.

About the Author

Lori Soard has been a writer since 1995, covering a variety of topics for local newspapers and magazines such as "Woman's World." For five years, she served as a site editor for a large online information portal. Soard is also the author of several published books, both fiction and nonfiction.