Bereavement thank you notes do not have to be a major ordeal if you use the simple method outlined below. Grief is hard! With everything you have had to deal with lately, the last thing you need right now is the added burden of social obligations. Some time has passed since the tragedy occurred. The out-of-town guests have gone back home, the funeral flowers are all wilted, the sympathy cards and letters are slowing down. Although you are in still in the midst of one of the most trying things a human could ever endure, the rest of the world seems to be getting back to normal.
Now what to do about all those flowers, cards and gift baskets you received? Have you acknowledged those gestures of sympathy and support?
Now, I know that this is not exactly a high priority on your list of things to do right now. Just breathing can sometimes be an effort. But did you know that answering sympathy messages could be therapeutic? Comforting? Look at this task not as a chore to be endured but as an opportunity to reflect on your lost one and a focus for all your “grief energy”.
Those who gave to you expect to have their kindness acknowledged. It’s mandatory. So let’s get to it! We present below a method that will have you taking care of all your sympathy acknowledgments in an evening or two.
I. Get the list ready – First you need to list the name and address of each gift-giver, and what they gave (be specific). Buy a few packs of standard Thank You cards, with the inside blank. Get some nice ones.
II. Enlist some help – Remember those folks who said ” If there is anything I can do to help…”. Well, pick out 1 or 2 of your close friends who offered help and put them to work. Your bereavement thank yous must be hand-written (never typed), but there is no reason why they can’t be written by others on your behalf!
III. Have a sympathy thank you “barn raising”night – Invite your volunteers, and feed them dinner or provide snacks and refreshments.
IV. Sample bereavement thank you notes you can use.
Here is a good template to start from: We (Bill and I) (the kids and I) (or just I) would like to thank you so very much for your thoughtful sympathy (card)(gift). Although we are going through a lot right now, your gesture was noticed, and we appreciate the show of support that you sent. (Say something specific about the card or gift now):
*Your gift of food (the cookies) provided a bit of comfort to us, and helped feed the crowd.
*The spray of lilies was just lovely, and made a comforting addition to the church ceremony.
*Your thoughtful sympathy card provided a bit of support and comfort and was read by all of us.
*Your sympathy basket was truly appreciated, and we are still exploring it’s comforting contents.
Now here is an example of a great effective but brief sympathy thank you note:
Just a note to thank you very much for the beautiful fruit basket you sent. Although this is a very sad and difficult time for Jim and I, your thoughtful show of support was very much noticed and appreciated. We are fortunate to have caring friends like you in our time of need.
Thanks again for your kindness,
Even though your household is in a turmoil, and you are surely hurting deeply, you will never regret writing bereavement thank you notes to those who gave to you. No matter how difficult and tedious it may be, it is an expected and decent response to a show of support offered by friends and family.