How to Write a Sympathy Thank You
Finding the words to express gratitude during a trying time can be very
difficult. To write a sympathy thank-you card, follow these guidelines.
Sample Thank You Notes
Sample Note to Family Member
Sample Note to Acquaintance
Sample Note to Friend
Write Your Own Thank You
1Buy cards with envelopes. The colors and design should be subdued. Since
you will be writing a personalized note, choose a blank card or one with
very little text; an abundance of ready-made phrases will de-personalize
your gesture of thanks.<Alternatively, you can send a plain note. This is
especially appropriate if you feel you have a lot to say. However, if
you¡¯re at a loss for words, stick with a store-bought card, as they
don¡¯t lend themselves to a lot of writing.
Do not email a sympathy thank-you. Though this is the most convenient way
to contact people, it is also extremely impersonal and will be considered
a serious faux-pas.
2Write with pen. Whether you¡¯ve chosen a card or a letter, hand-write
the note in pen rather than typing it or writing in pencil. Again, this
will give the thank-you a more intimate and polished feel.
3Address the recipient(s) by name. Opening with ¡°Dear ___¡± breaks the
ice and keeps the message intimate.
4Thank the recipient(s) for something specific. This can be an actual
item (ex. flowers, a card), a gesture of condolence (ex. attending a
funeral, making a heartfelt phone call), or simply emotional support.
Mentioning specifics demonstrates that you noticed and appreciated the
effort being made.
5If possible, express something positive about the recipient(s). If
someone has passed, for example, you might mention how much the
recipient(s) meant to the deceased. If the recipient(s) attended an
event, you might mention how much their being there gave you strength.If
you can¡¯t think of something nice to say about the recipient(s),
compliment the present/gesture instead. Ex. say that gift comforted you
at a dark time, that the flowers were the deceased¡¯s favorite, etc.
6Make your gratitude clear. Begin wrapping up your thoughts by offering a
general expression of appreciation. State how much their kindness or
condolences have meant to you and your family.
7Conclude the note. Write ¡°Sincerely,¡± ¡°With love,¡± ¡°Warm regards,¡±
¡°From our hearts,¡± etc. before signing your name(s).<
After a death, it is not necessary to send a thank-you note to every
person who came to pay their respects. Send thank-you notes to the
following people: friends and loved ones of the deceased, anyone who gave
flowers, donations, gifts, or cards, clergy, pallbearers, and anyone who
provided services such as babysitting, food, or driving in the funeral
If you need addresses of funeral visitors you did not know, check the
Don¡¯t wait too long to write and send out the thank-you notes. Though
people will understand if you don¡¯t feel like pouncing on your
responsibilities during a difficult time, letting several weeks pass
before thanking everyone will make you appear ungrateful.
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Sources and Citations
Modified fromMemorial Keepsakes ¨C a Guide to Writing Funeral Thank-You