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At such a difficult time in your life writing sympathy thank you notes can seem overwhelming. Who gets a note? What do you write? How long do you have to write letters of sympathy?

Firstly, it is no longer considered a “must” to send thank you notes after a funeral. Modern etiquette allows for much leeway during the grieving process, and it is a major breach in etiquette for someone to expect or be offended by a lack of a thank you card or note from the grief-stricken.

However, you may find that the task itself can be quite comforting. Any member of the family can send notes on the entire family’s behalf or you can invite a friend or family member to come over to help you. Your funeral director can provide you with thank you cards or you can write notes on your personal stationery.

The process of writing the notes of thanks can help you remember the kindness of friends and provide you with an opportunity to remember your loved one.

If you opt to send a sympathy thank you, according to more traditional standards, the letters of sympathy are ideally sent within two weeks of services to the following people (however, even Emily post says there is no time limit):

o Pallbearers

o Clergy

o Friends and loved ones who provided services such as babysitting, food, or driving in the funeral procession

o Anyone who sent flowers, donations, long hand-written letters of condolence, photos or gifts

A thank you note is not necessary (but can be sent) for short cards of condolence or for attendance of services .

Sample Letters of Sympathy

It is okay to keep your note brief. One or two sentences are fine. Here are a few general samples:

Sympathy Thank You Sample #1

Dear Joanne,

Thank you for sending such beautiful flowers. (or insert other instance such as help baby-sitting, lovely photo or video of cherished loved one, driving in the funeral procession, etc.) Your generosity and support during this difficult time is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

Sincerely,

Christine Murphy & Family

Sample Letter #2

Thank you for the lovely flowers and attending the services. Although this is a sad time for all of us, I find comfort in knowing how fortunate, Robert and I have been to know you.

Remember to be very kind to yourself and take as much time as you need.

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