Putting the fun back into funerals!

Dear Mavens of Manners and Manor Management,

After a recent death in the family, we have received some very thoughtful gifts of flowers, plants, etc. As I was getting ready to handle the task of thank you notes for these items, I had a question I thought I would ask you for your advice.

In regards to Mass Cards that were sent, I know a thank you note should be sent for those. But for people who sent a normal sympathy card, does etiquette suggest that a thank you note is written for that as well? At first I was thinking it would be the same as if someone sent you a birthday card….you don’t need to send one for that….but then again, there is no harm in doing so to thank someone for their thoughts for your family.

Any thoughts on this issue?

~The Gratefully Grieving.

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

First, I am so sorry for your loss.
If you were to send a thank you note to everyone who sent a card, then they might feel obligated to send a thank you for your thank you, and we could be sending hordes of cards back and forth for ages. It has to stop somewhere.

The standard etiquette is when you see your friend who sent the card again, mention the card and thank them then. If you’d really like to, you could call or send an email and thank them for the card then. People totally understand that you are grieving and don’t have time to call or thank every single person, so don’t get all worked up about that.


  1. ~The Gratefully Grieving on April 29, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Dear knitaddict,

    As we had an short length of time preceeding the death, we had some time to think and prepare too. What I found that helped us for the gifts, cards and calls was keeping a roll of tape, a pen and pad of paper on the end table near our door (which, convienently, is also where our answering machine is located). Well wishers names and numbers could be jotted down for return calls later (something you may forget to do in a fog). Tape was good for ripping off return address lables and taping them to inside of sympathy cards we received from my husband’s customers or people he knows from work but does not know their address (in case they sent something else as well). Also along a separate pad of paper, we had taped the florist cards from the flowers and baskets people had sent and kept them all in one location. So when I went to write my thank you notes, I just had to pick up my papers and sit down and had mostly everything in front of me.

    Prayers for you and your family,
    ~The Gratefully Grieving

  2. knitaddict on April 26, 2007 at 8:53 am

    You know, I’m SO glad that you guys covered this topic. As some of you know, my dad is REALLY sick and has been for some time. Since everything mundane usually falls to me in matters such as these…I’m glad to know that I don’t have to go TOO far out of my way when the time comes. As Forrest Gump says, “One less thing.” Thanx Home-Ec ladies.