Writing thank you notes can be difficult for many people, since it is something that is not usually done everyday. Most thank you notes are written to acknowledge a gift given for a happy occasions like weddings, baby showers, birthday parties and such, however when it comes to showing gratitude for sympathy sentiments, the right words may be hard to find.
You may think, “This is such a difficult time, is it really necessary? Although it may be a hard thing to do, it is proper – and possibly therapeutic for some. If you are not sure who to send cards to, or what you should say, consider the following as a guide to writing thank you notes for funerals.
It is not necessary to send a thank you to each individual that attended the funeral services and it is usually not expected. You should acknowledge those who expressed their sympathies above and beyond visitation, such as sending flowers, making a donation to charity in the deceased’s name, delivering food to the home, sending Mass cards, or handwritten condolences.
In addition to thanking people that expressed their sympathy, thank you notes should be sent to those who took part in the service or funeral, such as anyone who spoke at the service, clergy, pallbearers, and drivers.
Also sending a note to the funeral home, especially if they were extra helpful to you, is always appreciated. Due to their experience, they often provide guidance and support in areas that family is unable to do.
Thank you notes should be handwritten and mailed within a few weeks of the funeral. If you are not up to sending thank you notes that soon, consider enlisting the help of another family member or friend will help to lessen the burden.
Blank note cards or good quality stationery with matching envelopes are acceptable for writing the notes. Some funeral homes offer note cards as one of their services. If you are using pre-printed cards, you should write an additional sentence or two, for personalization.
If you are not sure what to say, start by acknowledging the particular sentiment, whether it was a flower arrangement, particular type of flower or bouquet. If it was food, even if you didn’t personally eat it, thank them just for giving it. For money, which can be a little unusual and awkward, express your gratitude for their generosity during this difficult time.
Something as simple as, “Thank you for your expression of sympathy at this difficult time,” will suffice for some notes.
Other ideas include thanking them for coming and letting them know how much their presence meant to you and your family; or if they are especially close, mention how much it meant to you that they were there for you and your family and how they have always shared in good and bad times. A nice touch would be to recall a memory of how that person touched the deceased’s life.
Your thank you note does not need to be a long-winded or a masterpiece, as long as it is handwritten – it will show that you took the time to appreciate their effort to ease your pain. Keep it simple and from the heart.