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Illness & Death
Illness & Death

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"How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say: Illness & Death" is the most resourceful book I have ever used in the course of leading my grief support group. I have been following the Grief Share program and this book says it all. I have read it over and over and would strongly recommend it to anyone who is involved with grief support."

Dorothy Casey, Grief Support Group Leader

How to Write Sympathy Thank You Notes After a Death
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A recently bereaved sister was in a dilemma. Her brother’s friends and colleagues sent cards, flowers and gifts after his death and she wanted to acknowledge the caring gestures.  But she knew few of the individuals and puzzled over how to proceed.

It is very thoughtful to thank individuals for their kindness following a loss. Sympathy thank you notes are very personal and what you say depends on how you feel about writing the notes. Some individuals create a template and use the same format for all notes; other individuals write more personal messages and use the experience as an outlet for their grief. Either way is fine.

You can say something simple, for example: "Thank you so much for the flowers in Charlie’s memory. It was a very thoughtful way to remember him. Your kindness is appreciated." You can add: "Your caring gesture was helpful during this difficult time."

If you want to write more personal notes to friends, neighbors, or colleagues you can certainly let them know your loved one mentioned them many times and their friendship meant so much to them. Or, if individuals shared stories in their notes, you can let them know how much their note and thoughts of your loved one meant to you. Whatever strategy you take is fine; the most important thing is that you’re acknowledging others' kindnesses. And you are doing it for your loved one.


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