Writing a bereavement thank you can be an overwhelming task at a difficult time.
After the funeral, memorial service or wake, you might want to send thank you notes, but are unsure of how to go about it. You would like to thank everyone who supported you with a gift, their time, a donation, or their support during a very emotional and trying time.
Some things to consider when writing a bereavement thank you:
*A personal letter or note vs a preprinted card
*What to write
*A mix of preprinted cards and personal letters
*The time limit to respond
*How to sign the card
*To send or not to send a bereavement thank you
At a time when a loved one has passed, and emotions are high, taking the time to write a thank you note can seem a bit overwhelming. It can also be therapeutic, as a distraction to the present grief.
Many funeral packages include thank you cards. Sometimes there is a choice of cards to pick from, other times there is not. Often, there are the words, 'Thank you' on front, or a similiar phrase. Inside may be a poem or religious verse.
When you feel up to sending these cards, you may not want to add anything more than your signature. That is perfectly fine. Other times, you may want to include a personal message of your own. This may be written on the card, or as an attached note.
*To thank someone special:
"Without your tireless energy and support during this time, I would have been lost. Thank you."
"The time you spent with us, when we needed someone to listen, or to just be there, will always be remembered. Thank you for your strength when ours was gone."
"I am grateful that I was able to have someone as caring as you to listen when I needed to talk. Thank you for being there for me."
*Thanks for flowers:
"Thank you for the beautiful flowers. (name) always loved flowers. Now they will bring me comfort."
*Food gift thank you:
We appreciated the sandwiches and cake you brought over. Making food was not on our minds at this time."
*Donation thank you:
The donation you made to the Cancer Society in ________ name was greatly appreciated. There is comfort in knowing others will be helped."
When my husband and I sent thank you cards, we used the ones provided by the funeral home. There was a small thank you message on the inside of the card. My husband wrote in each card, "We appreciate your kindness at this time." That summed up what we felt, without having to think with our weary minds.
A few people, friends that are far away now, were not able to read the bereavement announcement that we placed in our local papers. Therefore, they learned of our loss in other ways, at a later date. We thanked them for their kindness by way of a letter, instead of a pre-printed card.
We tried to acknowledge every card and each act of kindness. It proved difficult, as some people dropped off cards at the funeral, with only their first names listed. Some of the people were acquaintances of my son, and we could not find an address to thank them.
You may want to bypass the standard thank you cards that came with the funeral package. You can replace them with any card of your choice, brought through an online store, or through any store that you prefer. You do not have to rush to purchase them.
There is an understanding that grief is difficult for everyone. For some people, writing the thank you notes will be hard. For others, it will become a part of the healing process.
With bereavement thank you notes, there is great leaway of time allowed in sending them. Unlike other thank yous, that should be sent within a short amount of time, the time for this response is wide open.
Most people will allow for weeks and months to pass before they receive a thank you. There is a certain amount of graciousness, in that it is understood you are coping with your loss.
When a card or gift is presented to you, you may sign the thank you card with your own name.
If the card or gift was given to the family, or to part of the family, it may be signed "The Grant Family," or "The Grants." You may also have the choice of using family first names, such as "Betty and James Grant."
Also, a card or gift may be given to you, but is actually for the whole family. Then you may use the family signature to respond.
While the task of sending thank you cards can be more than you can handle, it is also something to do to keep the mind busy.
Sending expressions of graditude to those that care about you and the pain you are going through, can help ease your own pain.
If you would like to send thank you notes and cards, but do not feel up to it, you can ask a close relative or friend to assist you, or to write on your behalf.
Everyone will not be able to send thank you cards, for reasons that only they know. And that is OK also.