In difficult times of mourning, loss, and distress we rely on the sympathy and care of our friends and family to help us overcome hardships. Finding the right words to express gratitude can seem almost as difficult, but composing a short thank you note will let others know your appreciation for their concern. It is understandable that you may not get around to sending out thank you notes immediately, but a timely response will be appreciated in kind by its recipient. Thanking someone for their condolences is as easy as thanking a person for a birthday gift, and follows the same basic format.
Think about what you'd like to say. Before even touching pen to paper, it is helpful to gather your thoughts and form a mental outline of who you are thanking and why you are thanking them. In the case of condolences, it may be for attending a loved ones funeral or simply sending a card expressing sympathy.
Greet the recipient in your opening as with any letter. A simple "Dear (Name of Person)," works best.
Express gratitude in the opening line of your letter. Be specific as to why you are sending your thank you note, such as "Thank you for thinking of me during these difficult times. The flowers for my grandmother's funeral were very much appreciated," or "Thank you for coming to my father's memorial service. Your presence in this time of need is very comforting."
Reflect in a line or two on why the condolences in time of need were important to you. You do not need to write a long-winded discussion, but taking the time to write a few short remarks will show that the person's sympathy was truly meaningful. For instance, if a friend sent a letter expressing sympathy, you could say, "The past few days have been very difficult, and receiving your letter brought a moment of peace to this otherwise troublesome time. Having the support of a friend helps make the pain of loss bearable."
Thank the person again in your closing lines. This doesn't need to be fancy. A simple "Thanks again for the kind thoughts" or a similar sentiment works well.
Close your letter with whichever polite ending you'd like. "Warm regards," "With thanks," "With love," are all good choices, but ultimately the decision is yours. Sign your name under your closing.
- Keep the note short and honest, but avoid generic statements of thanks. Being specific lets the recipient know your thank you note is heartfelt and sincere. A handwritten note speaks more personally than one that is typewritten or emailed. Practice your penmanship. A thank you note with sloppy handwriting suggests it was written quickly as an afterthought.
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