Expressing ‘thanks’ after the loss of a loved one

The encouraging words of friends and family can be of true comfort during a time of loss.

Whether it’s their friendly faces at the funeral, a thoughtful card sharing a memory of your loved one or a simple casserole left on the doorstep, those gestures are meaningful to those grieving. So expressing gratitude in the days and weeks following the funeral is a way to let people know their efforts made a difference during a hard time.

Etiquette during times of loss can be difficult to navigate for everyone but a simple, yet heartfelt expression of thanks is never the wrong choice.

Here are some tips for acknowledging gifts, cards, flowers and other expressions of sympathy following the loss of a loved one:

Funeral homes like Stuhr Funeral Home will provide pre-printed acknowledgement cards with some space for a brief note and signature. These are appropriate to send to those who attended a viewing or funeral service as a way to thank them for their reassurance and comforting presence.

With 150 years of experience, Stuhr has guided countless people through this process so staff members also can offer suggested wording for cards and notes.

A hand-written thank-you note is appropriate for anyone who sent flowers, provided a meal or made a contribution on behalf of the deceased. A short thank-you note is perfectly appropriate. Simply express your gratitude and speak from the heart.

Typically, thank-you notes should be sent within 24 hours to five days of the gift or gesture. But funeral situations are different. People are fully aware this is a difficult time and there are many details vying for your attention, notes Cindy Grosso of Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette. In this situation, sending a thank-you note later is acceptable.

“The acknowledgement is more important than the time,” she says.

The basic rule of thumb is that it’s never inappropriate to express thanks or acknowledge the kindness of others. Even if the card comes weeks later or three simple lines on a piece of stationery, the message that you appreciated the comforting presence, flower bouquet or card is all that’s really needed.

 

Back to Expert Advice