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November 1, 2019 Beyond The Dash

Funeral Thank-You Cards

Expressing gratitude for support

Funeral Thank-You Cards
Write thank-you cards to acknowledge support you received during bereavement. (Shutterstock)

Let's get one thing straight

If you are deep in grief, sending a thank-you card to acknowledge support is the last thing you should be concerned with. 

Grieving people tend to take on unnecessary burdens as they attempt to return their life to some semblance of 'normal.' Putting on a brave, competent face to show everyone you are just fine isn't destructive in itself. This is a common reaction to chaos that can help you regain control. If this works for you, go ahead and send those thank-you cards!

However, when it comes to formalities like funeral thank-you cards, people can go overboard—to their own detriment. So, before delving into funeral thank-you cards, a first piece of advice is this: check in with yourself. How long has it been since the funeral? How much time will your thank-yous take, and what is your exhaustion level at the moment? Sending cards can be put off. 

What is a funeral thank-you card?

When you receive a gift, you should be sending a thank-you message. Depending on the size of gift, or the thought that was put into it, you may wish to convey this message in the form of a card. 

Similarly, when you receive the gift of flowers, a donation, sympathy or emotional support from someone at a funeral, you can send a thank-you card to express your gratitude. 

Many people extend gratitude informally, via telephone, email or text. However, it is a more formal and traditional choice to send a note or card to those who offered condolences in your time of need. 

What is the time frame for sending a funeral thank-you card?

Do what's right for you and your family. Most etiquette guides say that within two weeks is a good timeframe for sending funeral thank you cards. Send cards of thanks shortly after the funeral, once you have gotten through the first few months of grief, or not at all. This is one occasion where taking care of yourself takes priority over niceties. 

Who should be thanked?

There are several reasons you may feel compelled to send a formal note of thanks. Consider sending a card to people who helped your family in any of the following ways:

  • Donated to a charitable cause in honor of the deceased person

  • Attended the funeral

  • Assisted with funeral arrangements

  • Assisted with end-of-life care of the deceased person

  • Sent flowers or gifts to you or the funeral home

  • Brought food or offered assistance with chores

  • Made a financial contribution to your family or paid for funeral arrangements

  • Offered emotional support

It is also good etiquette to thank the funeral director, eulogist, pallbearers and the person who officiated the funeral ceremony.

What to write

There is no limit to what you can write in a thank-you card. Long, personal messages may be more appropriate for someone with whom you share a very special, emotional relationship. Treat this type of thank-you as a personal letter, and speak from the heart!

Acknowledge the people who supported you during a time of grief. (Getty Images)

If that is not the case, you don't need to write more than two lines to simply express gratitude to someone who attended your loved one's funeral. 

Thank-you note examples

Not sure what to write? Feel free to use any of these examples below in your cards, or for inspiration.

"Thank you so much for the donation in honor of Sheeva. Because of your generosity, her memory can help people in need. She would have loved that."

"It was so kind of you to make a contribution toward Paul's funeral expenses. Your generosity is appreciated by the entire family."

"Thank you for your comforting presence at Simone's funeral. Your condolences meant a lot to our family."

"We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to you for all of your help in the final days of Esma's life. We appreciate the care and dignity you showed for her."

"Thank you so much for sending flowers in honor of Merve. They really brightened up our home during the first few days."

Sending a thank-you note

Send the card in the mail, addressed to either the recipient, or their whole family. If you are unsure of the correct address, you can send a card to them "care of" a person who will be able to deliver it to the intended recipient. Sign the card from the whole family, so that they know everyone appreciated their condolences. 

For many people, a thank-you card seems overly formal. If you wish to thank loved ones, you can reach more people by publishing a message of thanks in the newspaper, or in the guestbook of their online obituary. 

If there is no online space to honor the life of your loved one, consider creating one for free on Beyond the Dash. There, you will be able to receive messages of condolences, share memories—and let the story of your loved one be your thanks.

Create an Obituary

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