Funeral Thank You Notes

When you lose a loved one, you’re usually showered with gifts, flowers, cards, and acts of service. Due to the nature of the circumstances, most people won’t expect to receive a thank you note for sympathy gifts. However, as time passes, you may start to feel inclined to send a personal thank you note to those closest to you, or whose kind actions made you feel the most supported. 

Unlike with other thank you cards, there’s no pressure to send them to every single person who attended the funeral. While it’s not expected that you thank everyone who expressed condolences, you may still find your list of people growing. It’s also not necessary for you to get through the list all in one sitting. Write when you have the time and energy. 

Who to Send Funeral Thank You Notes To

When compiling your list of recipients, think about how people have helped out during this time. Here are some common reasons to send people thank you notes for a funeral: 

  • They attended the funeral service.
  • They helped with the funeral service or subsequent gatherings.
  • They brought or sent flowers or plants.
  • They brought or sent a gift or a card.
  • They brought or sent a meal or groceries.
  • They helped with the care of a pet.
  • They helped with babysitting or spent time with your children.
  • They donated to the funeral or other costs.
hands opening a thank you card

Tips for Writing Thank You Notes for a Funeral

Composing a list of those you want to send thank you notes to is a great first step. Once that’s accomplished, here are some tips to make the process as stress-free as possible: 

  • Split your list up into categories. This can help you streamline your thought process. What you write to your loved one’s childhood friends, for example, will likely be slightly different from what you include in a thank you note to their coworkers. 
  • Focus on getting through one category at a time. The whole task will feel less daunting broken up into smaller sections, with allocated time. 
  • If it’s possible, have someone help you. If you’re sending funeral thank you cards as a family, or a group, this might already be part of the plan. However, even if the cards are from you alone, commissioning a friend or family member – or using an online service – can be great for efficiency and moral support. You can sign the cards others help you with, of course. 
  • If you are sending thank you notes as a family, or on behalf of your family, each family member can sign their individual names. However, this isn’t necessary and can be inconvenient. Signing the family’s last name(s) is a perfectly acceptable way to close a thank you note. 
  • Make sure to include the name of the deceased, or your full name somewhere in the note, specifically when writing to people you don’t know very well. For example, if your brother passed and you’re sending funeral thank you notes to his coworkers, they may not recognize just your first name, or your name without his. 
  • Keep notes short and sweet. Even for people you’re closest to, just a simple expression of appreciation will do the trick. 

What to Write in Funeral and Sympathy Thank You Notes

Writing a thank you note for a card, gift, or act of service that was intended specifically to show support, or help with the grieving process is similar to writing one related to the funeral itself. The main difference here is that with a sympathy note you can leave out referencing the actual funeral service. Being specific is best when writing these, but a sincere general declaration of gratitude is totally acceptable as well. 

As mentioned above, funeral thank you notes can be sent to express gratitude for a multitude of gestures related to the funeral or grieving process. Here, we’ll cover the above mentioned ways people may have helped out or expressed condolences, and some ideas and examples of things to include for each.

Examples for Cards or Flowers

  • Thank you for taking the time to send a card when _______ passed. It’s a comfort knowing we have support from people they saw so often.
  • Thank you for the heartfelt note and lovely floral arrangement! It means so much during this difficult time.  ________ was lucky to have you as a friend. 
  • Thank you so much for the flowers you brought for _______’s  funeral. They were beautiful and such a great addition to the service. 

Examples for Gifts

  • The gifts you sent were so thoughtful. Thank you for bringing so much joy to our home during this difficult time. 
  • Thank you for the beautiful gift basket! It is much appreciated, along with your friendship. 

Examples for Acts of Service

  • Endless appreciation for you taking care of all of our plants while we were away planning the funeral. It was such a relief not to worry about their well-being with everything else going on. We really couldn’t have asked for a better neighbor. 
  • Thank you so much for the meals you brought over in the week following _______’s funeral. It was immeasurably helpful during such a stressful time, not to mention everything was delicious!

Examples for Attending a Funeral 

  • Thank you for joining us in celebrating _______’s life. 
  • It means so much to us that you made the long trip to the funeral. 
  • We’re so grateful for the love and support you’ve always shown our family, and we’re so happy you were able to make it to the funeral.
  • It was great seeing you at _______’s funeral. 

Sample Funeral Thank You Note

Dear ________, 

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all your support when ________ passed away. You were such a wonderful friend to them, and it means so much that you would make such a long trip to celebrate their life with us. Staying behind to help with meals and our cats was such a huge bonus, and I will forever be grateful. 

With Love, 

___________

Sample Sympathy Thank You Note

Dear ________, 

Thank you so much for the wonderful care package you sent our family. We appreciate your love and friendship so much, especially during this difficult time. You really are the best friends we could have asked for. 

Hope to see you soon, 

________

There are many reasons to send funeral thank you notes, and you won’t find a better way to say “thank you” than a handwritten card or note. Remember, you can express sincere gratitude in only a few lines. 

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