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May 2007

Sending Thank You Cards After the Funeral
by Lamar Lang

After a funeral, one of the last things you feel like atending to are the niceties of etiquette, including writing letters of thanks to those who have been helpful, supportive and kind to you and your family. Nevertheless, it is an important part of life to acknowledge other's kindness in times of grief and hardship. The funeral home will provide you with the necessary number of thank you cards.

It is not necessary to send a written thank you note to everyone who visits the funeral home. It is when people do something that is beyond that, such as bringing or sending flowers, fixing food, making a charitable contribution in the deceased person's honor, coming by the home to visit or send a handwritten condolence that etiquette requires that you should acknowledge them with a thank you.

If a bereaved person has a long list of thank you notes to be written, and he or she does not feel up to the task, then a family member or close friend may write the notes on the bereaved person's behalf. The notes should be mailed out within a few weeks but if the person is feeling overwhelmed by the task, they can take it more slowly. Waiting too long to send out cards of sympathy will appear as if you were not appreciative of the concern that was given to you. The thank you notes should be short. Writing one to three sentences is fine. Use black ink. Mention the person's name and speak from the heart. Even if some people rub you the wrong way for reasons long-steeped in family history, be generous during this time of mourning. After all, if you are feuding with people who came, remember that they at least did come.

After the funeral the funeral home will provide you with a list of suggestions that may be helpful in composing a personally written message.

P.S. Don't forget about the Clergy, Pallbearers and Honorary Pallbearers.


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