How do you say Thank You to the people who have helped you survive the past four weeks? Sure, there are the words in many languages – Grazie (Italian), Danke sehr (German), Merci (French), and Gracias (Spanish); but is just a simple thank you enough?

In some cultures, it is more common to say thanks with a thoughtful gift rather than words. A small token of appreciation is more accepted than just saying thank you. In Japan, people bow to one another to show their thanks rather than actually saying words. What is the most polite way to express gratitude to those family and friends who have shown you heart and love when you are stricken with the most immense grief one could ever imagine.

Sympathy is defined by Merriam-Webster as the feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else’s trouble, grief, misfortune, etc.; the feeling of pity or sense of compassion you have for someone else who’s going through something hard.

The intense feeling of grief makes it difficult to write sympathy thank you cards that make sense and really reveal your acknowledgement of the kindness and support you have received from those family and friends around you. During this process it also seems like a small thank you card is not enough to really thank the ones who have helped you through your time of grieving.

How do you say thank you accordingly to those people who sent or brought flowers? Those who made a memorial contribution to your chosen charity? What about the friends who were helpful in tangible ways such as bringing in food, provided transportation, babysat, or helped serve the funeral meal? The compassion shown to you and your loved ones by serving as a pallbearer? The talented musicians who performed at the funeral? The clergy who presided at the funeral? Someone who went out of their way to do something special by sharing a special photo or a poignant memory of your loved one? The list just goes on and on.

In my own case, I wonder if I was helpful enough to my own children when they were caring for me and I felt as if I should have been caring for them in their own grief. I do believe that everyone deals with their grief in different ways and on a different time frame. Some of us handle it better sooner rather than later.

When I finally came up for air, I found that I was eternally grateful for the advice and kindness shown to me by everyone – including my family members, my church family members, neighbors, co-workers, former co-workers, and former classmates. I was grateful for everything that they thought to do for me to support me during the saddest time of my life. I truly appreciated the flowers, meals, visits, texts, and phone calls.

I was overwhelmed by the number of people who took the time to come to my husband’s visitation and the funeral. There were so many people that attended and lovely cards that I received with short notes of inspiration and stories of long ago. The outpouring of love and support was more than I could ever imagine. Please know that I appreciate each and every one of you, perhaps you did something for me and at the time I was so grief stricken that I don’t remember it, please accept my apologies.

I did not intentionally forget to send you an individual thank you card. It is heartwarming to know that I had a lot of people in my corner as I faced the most difficult time of my life. I am really grateful and thankful to be included in such a wonderful community that shows their love in such a way to help others deal with their loss and grief. I also want to express my gratitude to those of you who not only supported me but also supported my children and grandchildren during this time.

You really are a God-send to my family and I; we were deeply touched by your kindness and it will not be forgotten. May God Bless you all. Dios te bendiga. Gud velsigne dig. Dio ti benedica. Dieu te bėnisse. Gott schütze dich.


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