What to Say in a Funeral Thank You Note

What to Say in a Funeral Thank You Note
Learn how to compose a thank you letter to send to people who supported you when and after a loved one died, including funeral attendees. Examples.are provided.
5 minute read

Many family members and friends go above and beyond to help a grieving family during a funeral. It can help make a difficult time a little easier.

If you are on the receiving end of this kindness and support, you may want to show your appreciation by sending thank you notes. As such, we have compiled a guide to help you pick the right words to say to show your gratitude.

How to get started with thank you notes

When you sit down to write a thank-you note, you'll want to consider three factors:

  1. The purpose of the note.
  2. Who the note will be sent to.
  3. The medium that will be used to send the note.

The wording in thank you notes will vary depending on those three factors. However, most thank you notes should be short and sweet, often no more than one or two lines. Below are some guidelines for different scenarios.

How the thank you note will be sent

Thank you notes are often sent in one of two ways: In person or electronically. When sending a letter in person, the family can drop it off or have it mailed via local postal services. The letter can be hand-written or pre-made. With either option, the home or shipping address of the individual you are sending it to is needed. If you do not already have their address, you can ask them for it. A virtual thank you may work better if you cannot obtain the recipient's address.

A virtual thank you notes can be created in a variety of ways. Common choices are via email or social media. If sending electronically, you will need the person's email address. If you don't have it, simply ask them for it. The message can be tailored to the individual or sent as a general email that is mass sent to everyone on your thank you list.

If sending over social media, having them on social media is important to ensure they see it. Like email, this can be written directly to the individual, or a general post can be made thanking everyone.

General thank you letter

A general thank you letter is often shared with everyone that attended the funeral, thanking them for their time and consideration during a difficult time. It is best to keep things general and short in this thank you letter. Below are some examples of things to say:

  • "Thank you for your support and kindness."
  • "Thank you for attending _____'s funeral. It meant so much for us to see you there."
  • "We appreciate your support during this difficult time in our lives."
  • "Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."
  • "We are grateful to have had you there to honour _____'s life."
  • "Thank you for your attendance. It was a great way to memorialize _____'s life."

Thank you letter for family and close friends

The message can be personalized in thank you letters sent to other family members or close friends. Be sure to include information about your relationship with them, their relationship to the deceased person, a personalized introduction, and more. Some examples you can adapt for your use include the following. Feel free to edit them as you see it. The examples are guidelines.

  • "You and _____ were very close. Thank you for sharing those memories with me."
  • "It means a lot to me and [family member's name] (e.g., spouse, daughter, son, etc.) that you were able to attend."
  • "You meant so much to _____, and I am so grateful for your attendance."
  • "Your participation and assistance during the funeral were greatly appreciated."
  • "Thank you for supporting me. Your presence made me feel more comfortable."

Thank you letter for coworkers, friends, and acquaintances

It is also best to keep things more general for this thank you letter. Some of the examples mentioned above would work well. However, you can make references to their relationship as well. An example of this could be something like, "Thank you for your attendance. We are grateful that [name of deceased person]'s work-family was able to join the services."

Thank you letter for flowers

Flowers are a common gift that attendees bring to a funeral or send to a grieving family. They are a great way to express your love and sympathy for the deceased person and their family. If you are not going to send thank you letters to every guest, it is a nice gesture to send them to guests that brought a gift, such as flowers. Below are examples of what to say:

  • "The bouquet/arrangements you sent were beautiful. Thank you for such a kind gift."
  • "The flowers you sent were [name of deceased person]'s favourite. They would have loved them."
  • "The flowers you sent brought light and warmth into the room. We appreciate that you shared the beauty with us."
  • "Thank you for the gorgeous arrangement you sent. It was very appreciated, and we are grateful to have you in our lives."
  • "It was so kind of you to send that arrangement to [name of deceased person]'s funeral. We are incredibly grateful."

Thank you letter for cash donations

Funerals can often be expensive. Therefore, it is common for some attendees to send cash donations to the family to help relieve some of the financial burden they may have faced paying for the services. As with flowers, it is a nice gesture to thank people that have done this for you. Here are some examples of what to say in the letter:

  • "Thank you for helping our family during this difficult time. Your donation is greatly appreciated."
  • "We appreciate your generosity. Your donation will help pay for [expense]. (e.g., gravestone, casket, etc.)."
  • "Your donation has helped us tremendously during this difficult time. Thank you very much for your support."
  • "Thanks to your donation, we were able to fund the perfect service for [name of deceased person]. We are eternally grateful for your generosity."
  • "Thank you for your donation to [charity] in [name of deceased person]'s name. This cause was near and dear to their heart, and your kindness is the perfect gift in his memory."
  • "As you know [name of deceased person] suffered with [illness/disease] before his/her passing. Your donation will help fight for the cure. They would be very grateful for your donation and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

Thank you letter for additional support

Some family and friends actively participate in the planning and specific aspects of a funeral. Therefore, it is nice to let them know you appreciate all their support for those that helped.

These types of letters are more commonly sent to family and friends. Therefore, it is customary to make these letters more personalized. For example, pallbearers play a meaningful role at a funeral service. So when sending a thank-you note, be sure to acknowledge the importance of their presence and express gratitude for their help. Families can say something like, "Thank you for serving as a pallbearer. You were an important part of [name of deceased person]s life, and we are so grateful you played a significant role in their funeral."

Many close family members and friends may have also helped by running errands, bringing food, setting up, etc. In this case, a thank you letter should acknowledge them for their assistance and express gratitude.

You may also want to send thank-you letters to funeral and cemetery staff, as well as clergy members (if applicable). In this case, you can be more general, thanking them for their assistance throughout the process and for making the funeral special.

Here is an example you can use for this: "Thank you very much to all the staff at _____ funeral home. You helped us make the celebration of [name of deceased person]'s life special."

Questions?

If you you have a question about cremation, ashes or related topics like grief and support, you can ask our experts via email at support@eirene.ca. Our funeral etiquette articles may also be helpful. To make cremation arrangements click here.