Funeral Thank-You Notes
Acknowledging expressions of sympathy at and
after the funeral
As you greet guests at the funeral or memorial service, you will
have opportunities to thank many of them for joining you and paying
their respects. If you are unable to thank some guests that day,
you may tell them later - either verbally or in writing - that you
appreciated their attending your loved one's service. Click here for sample funeral thank-you
Sending funeral thank-you notes after the
Is it necessary to write a thank-you note to each person who
attends the funeral or memorial service? The answer is no, although
you may if you wish. Writing a note to each and every attendee is
optional, often unrealistic in the case of a heavily-attended
service. But if you write to thank someone for another way in which
they have comforted or helped you (please see below), do add your
appreciation that they attended the service.
Sending a thank-you note after a funeral or memorial service is
a way to express appreciation to the professionals, relatives and
friends who helped you with the service.
To whom do I send a thank-you note after the
- The relative or friend who served as director of the
- The clergy or spiritual counselor, and any
musicians who performed at the service
- Those who sent flowers to be included in the service
- The pallbearers, honorary pallbearers, those who
offered a eulogy
- Friends and family who helped by serving as
hosts during and after the service
- Friends and family who helped by bringing food, babysitting or
Thank-you notes for acts of kindness - in
addition to attending the funeral
It is customary for the bereaved - or someone on his behalf - to
write handwritten thank-you notes in acknowledgment of: personal sympathy notes, flowers, Mass cards, gifts of food and help with daily activities. (Note
that it's personal condolence notes - not pre-printed cards - that
are acknowledged.) Thank-you notes are also written to those who
send charitable donations on behalf of the
deceased. An exception to the custom of writing thank-yous for the
above kind acts is when the friend or relative requests that the
note or gift not be
acknowledged - a considerate thing to do when the recipient
receives a great number of condolences
A thank-you note is unnecessary (optional) in acknowledgment of:
preprinted sympathy cards, emailed notes of thanks, expressions of
sympathy posted on online sites, visits to see the family and
attendance at the funeral or memorial service. Of course, a written
thank-you is always appreciated, even when it's optional.
It is preferable to write and send your personal notes of thanks
as soon as possible, but there really is no definitive timeframe
for doing so.
wording for funeral thank-you notes
If you're unsure of what to write, the best advice is to keep it
simple. You may write your note on either a pre-printed thank-you
card or your own stationery. Single-sheet, fold-over notes or
correspondence cards are all fine. A loose guideline is to send a
thank-you note within two months after a funeral - but there really
is no set time limit for sending your notes.
You can divide up the task of writing thank-you notes among
family members. Or you can ask a close friend to help write and
mail the notes. For instance, the thank-you note might read: "My sister, Karen, asks me to thank you
for your beautiful flowers and kind message of
If you order pre-printed thank-you cards for the family from a
funeral home, they might read: "The
Peters family would like to thank you for your kind expression of
sympathy on our recent loss of Carol Peters." With
pre-printed cards, it is preferable to also include your short,
handwritten thank-you inside, but that is by no means a must.
SOME SAMPLE SYMPATHY THANK-YOU NOTES…
A brief note to the celebrant, clergy or spiritual counselor can
convey your appreciation for their comforting words and help.
you for your spiritual counsel and services at the funeral of my
mother. Especially at times like these, your guidance is so
you for serving as a pallbearer. You are a true friend. Your
contributions to the service were a tremendous help. I appreciate
For attending the
funeral or visitation
It is not necessary to send a thank-you to everyone who attended
the funeral or visitation. But if you would like to acknowledge
someone, a simple thank-you note would be appreciated.
Mr. and Mrs. Chan,
was really nice to see you at my mother's funeral. I really
appreciate the effort you made to travel such a distance. I was
grateful to hear your memories, and your support made a difference
to me and my family.
For flowers and
A thank-you note is sent to each person who sends flowers or a
memorial contribution. If the flowers or contribution is from a
group, send the note to the leader of the group.
you for the beautiful pink arrangement of flowers. Roses were Mom's
favorite and they served as a reminder of the special friend you
were to her/ how much you and the others meant to her.
To relatives and
If relatives and special friends send floral arrangements, a
memorial contribution, food or assist in other ways, a thank-you
note is an appropriate way to show your appreciation.
Penny and Joe,
want to thank you for the wonderful meal you delivered to our home
after the funeral. It was delicious and such a thoughtful gesture.
My mother really valued your friendship. Your kindness is greatly
If a co-worker extends him or herself, it is appropriate to
thank that person with a handwritten note.
appreciate your stepping in and covering my work during this
difficult time. Thank you for your support. It will make it easier
when I return to the office next week.
cards and letters
If you receive a sympathy card, it is appropriate to send an
acknowledgement card. If a personal note was included in the
sympathy card, a brief note should be written inside the thank-you
card. If you receive a longer sympathy letter, that should be
acknowledged with a personal reply.
was so thoughtful of you to remember us at this time. Thank you for
taking the time to share your memories of Mom with us. Your words
were such a comfort. Friends like you have helped us get through
this difficult time.
If you receive a sympathy email, although optional you may reply
by email or a handwritten note.
you for sending your words of sympathy. It was kind of you to show