Q:

How do you thank someone for expressions of sympathy?

A:

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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