Skip to content

Condolences to Newtown, Connecticut

No words can comfort those who have endured the horrendous killing of children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School yesterday. The terrible tragedy is beyond understanding.

Yet some people who know the suffering families and individuals in Newtown will want to share a note of condolence in addition to helping in other ways. If you are among those people, I offer you these examples as models. They include made-up names.

Dear Maris and Joe,

Words cannot express the sorrow and shock we feel at your suffering. Please know that we hold you constantly in our thoughts and prayers and that we are available to help in any way. 

In deep sympathy,

Kathleen and John


Dear Chris,

Please accept my deepest condolences on the tragic death of your beautiful daughter. I cannot think of anything to say that can comfort you in your sorrow. But I want you to know I am thinking of you and sharing in your grief.




Dear Thomas,

I cannot imagine the sorrow and shock you must be experiencing. Margaret was such a lovely woman and was completely dedicated to the children she taught. Her death sickens us all.

Know that I am holding you, your family, and your community in my heart and mind. 

With sincere condolences,


I have shared sample condolences messages many times on this blog, and it saddens me deeply to need to do it again because of the tragic deaths in Newtown. Nevertheless, I hope these examples are helpful in some way.

Syntax Training

Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

7 comments on “Condolences to Newtown, Connecticut”

  • I am so sorry to hear of such a terrible tragedy. My heart is with you at this time. Know this that you have a friend here in Ontario, Canada who cares. A hug of care for all of the victims famlies.

  • Thanks for providing these, Lynn. I don’t know anyone who was immediately affected by the tragedy, but I do know the complete blank that can hit even a seasoned writer when a note of condolence is called for. And for a tragedy like this … words fail. I’m going to pass this post on to others.

  • Lynn, your examples of condolence letters are always so well written. I think there’s usually a tendency for people to try to find something positive to add, but for the families there is nothing positive at the moment. Your examples acknowledge their profound grief with respect and empathy. Thank you for the examples.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *