Writing Thank You Notes after a Funeral or Memorial Service
After dealing with the stresses of losing a loved one and planning a memorial service, the idea of having to write thank you notes can be overwhelming. However, this task does not need to be so intimidating. Follow the simple steps below, and writing the notes will be a quick and painless endeavor. Remember that despite this difficult time, it is important and necessary that you acknowledge the people who helped contribute to the event. Also check out "Funeral Thank You Note Samples" for examples and our Thank You Card Template Gallery.
Generally, you do not have to send thank you notes to every single person who attended the service or sent a pre-printed card. However, do send notes to anyone who sent flowers, gifts, donations, or food, baby-sitting, and to anyone who assisted with the service (clergy members, musicians, pallbearers, ushers, etc.).
Keep a running list of everyone who sends something to the family, or to the service, and you will not have to remember all of the information later. To make this task even simpler, keep all of the cards that come with the items and you can easily know who to send thank you notes to.
Purchase stationary/thank you cards. Make sure they are on good quality paper. You can use pre-printed cards, however, sometimes a short, handwritten message is added in addition to the text.
Write from the heart and keep the notes nice and simple. You do not need to write a lengthy message; you simply want it to be clear that you appreciate their thoughtfulness, generosity, and support.
If you want the note to be more personal, feel free to mention a time that you know of when the person you are writing the note to influenced the deceased person's life.
Try to be specific in what you are thanking the person for and what it meant to you (food, money, etc.).
Overall, writing 2-4 sentences is appropriate if you are handwriting the cards.
Don't feel pressured to send notes out as soon as the memorial service is over. Some people need more time to cope than others do.
Traditionally, thank you notes are sent within two weeks of the event. If this is not feasible, ask for help from other family members and friends. In most cases, others are willing to help with stuffing and labeling envelopes and placing stamps.
It is also appropriate if another family member writes the notes and simply signs "The Johnson Family".