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Finding the right words for thank you cards might seem difficult and overwhelming, especially when the loss is recent. However, expressing your appreciation to your coworkers might be easier if you remain sincere. Emily Post recommends sending a thank you note to everyone who has performed a kind gesture, including those people who sent cards. You can send handwritten thank you cards to your coworkers, unless the condolence note from your department was printed without a personal message.
If your coworkers, as a group, sent a card or gift or were present at the funeral, it's best to send a card to each one in acknowledgement and thanks. However, if the department sent a printed card or gift, without personal notes from the staff, you can send one thank you note addressed to the department and ask that it be circulated to your coworkers.
Statement of Thanks
Your note should thank the recipient for the specific gift or gesture and what it meant to you. For instance, you could say “Thank you for the lovely flowers. Carnations are my favorite and the arrangement lifted my spirits whenever the situation felt overwhelming.” Some coworkers may have done a variety of things for you. It’s important to acknowledge each gesture. If you forget to mention something, it would appear that it didn’t mean as much to you as the other things the person did. For example: “I also enjoyed the delicious peach cobbler you sent. It was a welcome treat for my family and I after the funeral.”
Refer to the Deceased
Most people are uncomfortable talking about a death around the bereaved person, especially if they are unsure the person wants to talk about it. Referring to your loss in a note lets your coworkers know that it’s okay to raise the subject. This also shows that you have begun the healing process. You could say something like: “Aunt Florence had difficulties in the earlier stages of her illness. We are thankful that she was comfortable toward the end and didn’t suffer any pain. She passed with a smile on her face.”
Many people don't expect a thank you note from someone who is bereaved and understand if it is late. Opinions vary on when to send thank you cards. Emily Post says there is no set time for sending a thank you note, while other experts recommend sending them within six weeks of the funeral. If you don't feel up to sending a note yourself, you could have someone else attend to this on your behalf and send a personal note later.
- Emily Post; Bereavement Questions and Answers: I've received almost 300 notes of condolence. Do I Need to Write a Thank You Note to Each Person Who Sent Me a Note?
- How to Write It, Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Everything You'll Ever Write; Sandra E. Lamb
- Writing Thank-You Notes: Finding the Perfect Words; Gabrielle Goodwin