When you have suffered a loss, it is easy to forget to handle some of the little tasks required by the rules of etiquette, such as thank you notes after the funeral.
While no one is likely to judge you for such oversights, if you are able, it is a good idea to be mindful of properly thanking those who reached out to you in various ways.
Here are some tips for writing thank you notes to those who sent sympathy letters and flowers and who helped you in any way during your time of loss.
Again, no one is going to hold it against you if you do not get your thank you letters out the week after the funeral. That being said, you should try to get them in the mail as soon as possible. This is a gesture to let all of those who helped you in some way know that you really appreciate it. While it is easy to get lost in your grief, this is one way to focus on a positive task.
As much as is possible, seek to write a personal note in each thank you note. You should make a special effort to do this for anyone who went out of their way to provide assistance or support. If you can, mention specifics of what the person did for you.
For example, rather than writing “thanks for all of your help” consider writing something more specific such as “Thank you for dropping off the delicious meals. They were a big help…”
This will let the person receiving the letter know that their gestures were very much appreciated.
Of course, in some cases it would be quite difficult to write a personal note to each person. Some people receive assistance from literally hundreds of people. In such circumstances, it would be difficult to even remember who did what.
As much as you can, aim to personalize the notes. If you can’t remember each gesture, it is still a good idea to write a handwritten note about how much their thoughts meant to you.
If anyone loaned you items or left dishes at your home, try to return them in a timely manner. Hopefully, the people who left such items were considerate enough to label them with their names, but if not you should still make your best effort to get the items back to the right people.
For anyone who really went out of their way to help you, consider making follow up phone calls in addition to the written thank you notes. The call does not have to be long. All it takes is a quick call to let them know how much their kindness meant to you.