How do you thank someone for expressions of sympathy?


Quick Answer

Thank someone for an expression of sympathy by verbally expressing thanks at the time of the expression and later writing a thank you note. Anyone in the family can acknowledge the expression with a personalized note.

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Full Answer

Thank you notes are appropriate for expressions of sympathy that include cards, letters, food, flowers and services during a family's time of bereavement. Donations or other "in lieu of flowers" requests also require a thank you note. Anything that is done to offer support and encouragement after a death needs to be recognized with a note of gratitude.

Notes should be handwritten on blank cards or pre-printed note cards from the funeral home. The note should be personal, expressing gratitude for the exact expression of sympathy. For example, thank a neighbor for food and walking the dog, a co-worker for flowers or a clergyman for support and performing the funeral service.

Writing just a few sentences is usually sufficient. For example, a card might read, "Thank you for bringing food and paper goods to our home after Mother's passing. Your gesture was greatly appreciated." A family member or close friend can write messages or thank you notes, and sign them "the family of John Smith."

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