Whenever someone from your immediate family dies, you may be surprised by how much emotional support you receive. Even those you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while are likely to send their condolences and offer to help during this difficult time.
Although technology makes it easier than ever to send a quick “thank you” – whether it’s via text, email or instant messaging – to those who donated flowers, food or money in honor of your loved one’s funeral, the importance of a handwritten thank you note shouldn’t be overlooked.
Why a Thank You Note?
Simply put, there’s no more sincere, genuine way to convey gratitude than with a handwritten card. It shows the receiver that you took the time to carefully craft, and mail, a personalized message.
Whether an individual made a charitable donation in the name of the deceased, cooked your family a meal or was simply there for support when you needed someone, his or her actions shouldn’t go unnoticed.
However, never send a mass-produced, typed thank you note that was produced using a word processing program. It comes off as generic and shows that you didn’t care enough to personalize each message. And even if your intentions were in the right place, their meaning may be misconstrued by the receiver.
Funeral thank you notes don’t have to be long, formal pieces of prose. In fact, the most touching and gratifying ones are those that are written from the heart and are more focused on sincerity than trying to fill space.
Sometimes less words hold greater meaning than substance if they’re presented in the right way.
Most thank you notes typically contain an opening sentence which thanks the addressed individual for their contribution or service, followed by a paragraph that explains why you’re thankful for that person’s action. A closing that once again reinforces your appreciation completes the composition.
If you’re stuck and can’t think of the right words to say, consider putting pen to paper and see where you end up. You’ll be surprised how cathartic and productive a free-flowing writing session can be.
It’s important to keep in mind that you should sign your first and last name when sending the card to people whom you aren’t close with (i.e. coworkers or friends of the deceased).
Yet, if it’s someone you know on a personal level, just having your first name below the salutation is acceptable.
Sample Sympathy Thank You Note
Dear [individual’s name],
Thank you so much for the home-cooked meal you prepared for my family and me after the death of [name of the deceased].
The meal was much appreciated, especially since I wouldn’t have had time to run out and grab dinner for us between the afternoon and evening viewing.
We are all very appreciative of your thoughtfulness and consideration, and want to say “thank you” for all you have done for us during this challenging time.
For more funeral etiquette tips, or to learn about Beinhauer Family Funeral Home’s services, call us at 724-941-3211.