Thank You for Condolences

I have been writing lately about how to compose a condolence message and how and why to write thank you notes. This post combines the two: how to write a thank you for a condolence message.

I’m inspired to write on this topic because of the search strings people have used to reach this blog. "Thank you letter for condolence message" is a definite topic of interest around the world. For all of you whose search has brought you here, I hope this information will be helpful to you, especially in your time of healing.

Here is a note I received from my friend and business associate Margaret Elwood after the death of her father. Margaret kindly sent me this thank you and gave me her permission to share it with you.

Dear Lynn and Michael,

Your sympathy card was timely and very, very helpful to me during difficult days last week. And though I received several notes of condolence through e-mail, I found in my distress that a tangible card I could see on my desk was really much more comforting. Thank you so much.

This week is much better, and though I know that grief takes its own time outside of my control, I am feeling grateful for the years I had with my father and for the time I have with friends like you right now.

Margaret

Remember, your friends and colleagues will not expect you to write detailed messages. Just knowing that you received their card, note, letter, flowers, or other gift may be enough. Consider these five short messages:

Thank you for your kindness and sympathy during our time of loss. It gives us much comfort to know that you are thinking of us as we grieve our son’s death.

Warm regards,
________________

It was very nice of you to think of me in this time of sadness. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.
________________

Thank you for your touching letter. I really enjoyed hearing from you. The story you shared about my mother made me smile. 

My mother lived a long, full life. Although her passing is a sad milestone for me, I am grateful for having her with me for so many years.

With many thanks,
________________

Please accept my sincere thanks for the beautiful flowers you sent for my sister’s memorial service. She would have loved them.

I appreciate your thoughtfulness and caring more than I can say.
________________

I can hardly express how grateful I am for your attendance at my brother’s funeral. It was so good of you to take the time to be with me and my family.

Your kindness and compassion mean a great deal to us.

Sincerely,
________________

I hope Margaret’s message and my examples will be useful models as you write your own notes of thanks.

_______________________________
Other search spelling: condolances

105 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this information. It is very helpful, as my father recently passed away. There are many sites for information on sending the condolences, but not many that help with a thoughtful reply.

  2. Wayne, thank you for taking the time to write. I am very pleased to know that this information helped you. We don’t have to write such messages often, but when we do, it feels good to say something real.

    Please accept my condolences on your loss.

    Lynn

  3. Thanks for the tips posted on the net regarding the condolences message. Can I request you, if time permits, to give some SMS regarding condolences so that it would be easier and quick to send short messages of condolences to the bereaved person/family.
    thanks
    Hemant

  4. Hemant, I am not sure whether you have seen all my posts on condolences. If not, please look at the bottom of my list of Categories, at right, where you will see “Writing Condolences.” If you scroll through those, you will find short condolence messages.

    What is SMS?

    Lynn

  5. It has only been a week since we buried my father and the task of writing condolences has been left to me, and I found your examples very helpful. Thank you so much.

    Mrs.C Taylor-Flowers

  6. Thank you so much for providing these examples. I have found them helpful in responding to kind gestures, thoughtful cards, and even a kind note on my myspace page regarding the passing of my mother.

  7. Dear Mrs. Taylor-Flowers and Winks,

    I am grateful to both of you for taking the time to share your gratitude. It means a lot to me to know that my work has been helpful.

    Please accept my condolences to both of you on the loss of your parent.

    Sincerely,

    Lynn

  8. Thank you for addressing this topic. My mother passed away recently. I was looking for some guidance on how to respond to the kindness I have experienced from classmates, and this was very helpful.

  9. Hello, I am Marie from Germany. I was very glad to find your website. Your information how to thank for condolences was very very helpful for me, because as German I did not know how to express it properly to our American friends who condolenced me on the loss of my beloved mother. Your information was very nicely written and explained.

    Thank you,
    Marie

  10. Lynn, Many thanks for your very helpful information. You provided much needed guidance on how to respond to those who shared the loss of our husband and father with us. You are providing a much needed service. Thank you again. Elma

  11. Dear Marie and Elma,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thanks. I am always happy to receive such messages.

    Please accept my condolences on your losses.

    Lynn

  12. Hello,
    After never being at a loss for words and always had a much easier time expressing myself on paper, I found myself at just such a crossroad after losing my mother last month. The six weeks preceeding her untimely death in the ICU and hospice took more of physical and emotional toll on me than I ever, ever thought possible.
    More than a handful of times I sat down to write meaningful thank you’s to everyone only to find myself in tears and clearly blank.
    Thank you for your information, giving me the kick, boost to get the brain functioning again in the right direction so I can get through this task that I know needs to be done. I do hate being an only child though…….it is too much all around. Are they cloning moms somewhere and no one told me? If you all have elves coming in to clean so you can get all the needed tasks done, please do share! Thank you again.
    Joanne

  13. Dear Joanne,
    I am so sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your mother. I can only imagine how exhausted and sad you must be.

    I wish I could clone a mother and some elves for you. But since I cannot, I encourage you to go easy on yourself. Please know that the people who were kind to you would not for a moment want you to stress yourself in writing to them. Consider a printed thank you card that only requires your signature–or one sentence and your signature. Consider making phone calls instead of writing. And if you will see any of these people over the holidays, make a note to yourself to thank them in person then.

    I have found that a task is easier when I have the tools in one place. If you haven’t done this already, you may want to put cards, a pen, stamps, and your address book in a box that you can pull out first thing in the morning, at the end of the day, or whenever you have a few minutes.

    Grief makes everything harder and more complicated. I hope you will find simple ways to make your tasks easier.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  14. Thanks so much for your helpful information. It helped me out alot. My dad recently passed away just before Christmas actually. And I was looking for some ideas. I came across your website. I’m glad I did. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

  15. Amanda, thank you for taking the time to comment. I am glad you found these ideas helpful.

    Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  16. Thank you for the helpful information on writing condolences. I needed to write one to a colleague overseas who had just lost his sister and I didn’t know where to start. Your examples managed to get me started.
    Thank you,
    Ian

  17. Dear Lynn,

    Thanks to Margaret. Her letter has been very useful for me today. Especially as I was writing the thanks letter to the Management from my Chairman side.

    Thanks again. It has been wonderful to find such a letter off hand of your website. Otherwise I would have spent hours to get such a wonderful letter.

    Best regards,

    Mohammed Aqeel Ahmed

  18. Dear Lynn,
    My Mother just recently passed away. I was at a loss on what to write in response to flowers that had been sent. I found your website and was very pleased with the content! Thank you!

  19. Whitney, thank you for your message. I am sorry to hear about your mother. My mother died recently too–in October. I hope you have good memories and are surrounded by people who care. I know that has made a positive difference for me.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  20. My parents recently died 12 days apart! The Memorial Service was in the town I grew up in, and where they had lived for 55 years. Between 4 sons and all the acquaintances and relationships they made over the years, we were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and sympathy. I have the daunting task of responding. Now, not so daunting after seeing your website. Thanks you!

  21. Thank you…

    A famous poet of Tamilnadu told that, a person who teach others is known as educated person.

    You are one.

    Vijay

  22. Dear Joe,

    Please accept my condolences on the loss of both of your parents, especially in such a short time. It must be a complex situation emotionally and logistically to deal with the passing of two parents so close together.

    I am delighted you received an outpouring of support. And I am glad you found some suggestions for responding in this blog. Thank you for letting me know.

    Best wishes,

    Lynn

  23. Thank you for your wonderful thank you notes. We just lost our youngest son Deepak on 22nd April, 2008-He was just 24 years, 8 months and 22 days old. His birthday is 3rd of July,1983.
    We have a wonderful network of family and friends and Deepak touched so many lives that we were at a loss as to what to say to people – they are grieving as much as we are- and your notes are going to be very helpful in thanking and supporting them.

  24. Dear Jayshree Pathak,

    I am very sorry about the loss of your dear son Deepak. Please accept my condolences from afar.

    I hope you and your many friends and family members will continue to give support and comfort to one another.

    In sympathy,

    Lynn

  25. Hi Lynn,

    Thank you very much for this information. My Granma passed away recently and I received many condolence messages on e-mail. I was embarrased to realise that I had no clue how to respond to them and I am sad to say that I did not respond to most of them. What made me do some research was a re-send of a condolonce message and I could not ignore that one. I am very grateful for your help.

  26. Dear Chiedza,

    Please accept my condolences for your loss. I know that it is difficult to handle an emotional loss and at the same time respond to people’s kind messages. So please do not be sad about not responding to others. If you still want to respond to them, you can do so. They will understand that you have had a lot on your mind.

    In your responses, you can include a sentence like this:

    “Now that we are beginning to return to our normal daily lives, we want to thank you for thinking of us and sending your condolences.” Then you can be specific about what they said if you wish to do so.

    Again, do not worry about responding, but if you want to do so, enjoy the process of connecting with others who care about you and your family.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  27. Dear Lynn,
    it is so helpful that people can find some advice on how to react on condolences. On June 6, my mother passed away – she was ill but died very surprisingly. My father died only one year ago. As I am working in a global company with contacts all over the world, I also received some mails and cards from colleagues abroad.
    You’re tips were great! Thank you!
    Warm regards,
    Anette

  28. Dear Anette,

    Thank you for letting me know how my examples helped. I am gratified to know that they were useful to you.

    Please accept my condolences on your sad loss. Losing two parents within a short time must be very difficult. I was pleased to read that your global friends have been letting you know they care.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  29. Dear Lynn,
    Thank you so much for your excellent examples of thank you notes. My letter-writing skills seemed to disappear after my husband died recently and there were so many people to thank. It seemed to be a daunting task until I
    chanced upon your site but now I’m “off and running”!
    I’m very grateful for your help.
    Regards,
    Sheila

  30. Dear Sheila,

    It means a lot to me to receive comments like yours. Thank you for writing.

    Please accept my sympathy on the death of your husband. I am very sorry for your loss. During this sad time, I am pleased that I could be helpful to you.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  31. your helpful tips make my day very easy, My dad pass away last week i could not find any word to put together to say thanks,

    it’s very helpful
    May God bless you….

  32. Dear Ragu,

    Thank you for sharing these thoughtful remarks during your time of sorrow. Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father.

    Sincerely,

    Lynn

  33. This is a very nice website with a lot of good pointers. What should a response be when someone says, “I am so sorry to hear about your husband passing away.” Do you say, Thank you? Or what answer should you give?

  34. “Thank you” seems sufficient to me, under the circumstances. When my mother died about a year ago, I used “Thank you” as a frequent response, along with a grateful smile.

    Of course, if you can add something individual such as “My husband always enjoyed your company,” that’s all the better.

  35. dear madam,
    i have to write 10-15 letters and i have no writing power. i am an employee of private company with post of secretary.
    please help me as i am so confused. please help me.awaiting for your positive reply. with some samples of letters to different departments.

  36. I just burried my mom Monday and this is Wednesday. I have many thank you notes to write and these examples have been extremely enlightening to me when I really can’t think straight. I am greatful for you insight.

    Betty

  37. Dear Lynn,
    Thanks alot for your wonderful example letters – it was great ideas – thanks a million i highly appreciate.

  38. Dear Betty,

    I believe I sent you a private email of condolences. But just in case I missed your post, please accept my sympathy on the loss of your mother.

    I am glad you found my examples helpful.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  39. I am really surprised that anyone would even expect to receive a personal thank you note. Over 800 people attended my son’s funeral, and I received at least 200 cards. There is no possible way I could thank everyone. I have chosen to send an email to everyone at work who brought my family dinner for 2 weeks straight, and purchased a beautiful memory bench for us. I would feel more overwhelmed than I already am during this time if I had to pencil thank you notes. I never expect a thank you note after a funeral.

  40. I have to say thanks also, I had to write a thanks letter to my CEO and these moments it is hard enough to find my words for more simple things,for this letter seemed imposible until I found your notes.

    Thank you very much!

  41. one of the most fantastic sites i have ever come across. I got whatever help i required. it was vry useful . had to prepare an important thanksgiving letter.
    Keep it up.
    thank you so much.

  42. Hi Ms. Lynn and Margaret,
    Thank you so much for the guidance on how do we say ‘Thank you’ to those who sent their condolencies and sympathies. Can you also suggest if what item/gift to give it to them as a token of appreciation? I want that small gift not for display only but can also be used in office or home.

    Thanks a lot,

    Kent

  43. Lynn…Thank you for your helpful examples on how to write a ‘Condolence Thank You’. I’m not usually without words…but my mind has been quite jumbled since the death of my dear father in December. We received dozens of floral/financial gifts and hundreds of emails and cards with condolence…so we wanted something simple and meaningful to write in a ‘Thank You’ back to many folks. Your examples are going to be very helpful! Warm Regards…

  44. Dear Sharon,

    How kind of you to write to me, especially with the trying circumstances you are experiencing.

    Please accept my sympathy on the passing of your father. Judging by the outpouring of support, I would say he was a dear man to many people.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  45. Lynn,

    Thank you for all your help. My little brother passed away January 9, 2010 and it has been so hard. After reading your letters I feel ready to take on the difficult task and try to smile while writing..

    Thanks again,

    Dawn

  46. Thank you for your advice. My mother passed away a little over a week ago. I’m having a difficult time dealing with the loss, and the added task of thank you’s wasn’t helping. Your advice makes things seems a lot less daunting. Thank you for that. Quick question: should it be a note or a thank you card. (ie: just a note on a piece of paper or an actual card that says “Thank You” on the outside/blank inside, or blank card all together). Hope that makes sense. Thank you again.

  47. Dear Lynn,

    Thank you very much for your advice. It was very helpful as we grieved the loss of our grandfather/father.

  48. Dear Amanda,

    I apologize for somehow missing your comment. I just saw it now.

    Please accept my sympathy on the passing of your mother. I hope the difficulty of dealing with your loss has lessened a bit with the passing of time.

    You may have already sent thank-you notes. But if you have not, a note on stationery is fine, as is a printed card that says “Thank you.” If you dealt with a funeral home, sometimes those institutions provide appropriate thank-yous at no cost.

    Please accept my condolences, Amanda.

    Lynn

  49. Dear Arzu,

    Thank you for letting me know I was helpful to you in your time of grief.

    Please accept my condolences on your loss of the man who was father and grandfather in your family.

    Lynn

  50. My mother died in 2003 and on last march 23rd, My strength, My father, My Everything left us for eternal peace.
    I read your tips for replying back the condolence messages and grateful for your support.
    May Allah Almighty give you the desired courage to deal with your great loss of parents.
    May Allah Bless you.
    Amin

    Regards,

    Kashif Faheem Khan

  51. dear madam lynn,
    appreciate i you can kindly help me,i need to write to my superiors/friends and coleegues thanking them for their sypethy and solidarty with me/my family on death of my beloved mother.

    thanks in advance and looking forward your quick guidance

  52. Sayed, I am very sorry about the death of your mother.

    I believe you can use the examples above for your message. However, here is another version using your words:

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    Thank you so much for your sympathy and solidarity with my family and me during this difficult time. We appreciate your kindness and generosity as we grieve the loss of my beloved mother.

    Sincerely,
    Sayed Ahmed

    Will that work?

    Please accept my sympathy on your loss.

    Lynn

  53. Dear Madam Lynn,
    Thanks you very much for your prompt reply and guidance.
    Your sympathy also was a grate help and had a nice impact to me.
    Thank you again and God bless you
    best regards.
    Sayed.

  54. Dear Lynn,
    Thank you so much for this website and all the samples you post. It helped me alot to reply to my friends during my beloved Father’s loss month ago.
    Bless you.
    Sarah Abona

  55. Dear Sarah,

    Thank you for taking the time to write to me. You are very welcome.

    Please accept my sympathy on your loss. I am happy that I was able to help you in a small way during your grief.

    Lynn

  56. Dear Lynn , I am Waleed ALRajhi from Saudi Arabia. I was very glad to find your website. Your information how to thank for condolences was very helpful for me, Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thanks. I am always happy to receive such

  57. Dear Lynn,
    I’m so glad I found this website and all the samples you gave. It helped me a lot in writing the notes I needed to write.
    Carla

  58. My mother left us on 13th July this year.Many welwishers expressed their sadness.I found this website very much helpful for reply.Thank you very much.God bless you.

  59. my friends mother recently died.
    i helped him during his tough times.

    he has sent me a thank you note.

    i want to respnd.
    what do i say

  60. My Daughter passed away two months ago and I just could never find the words to write to so many people that she touched in their lives as well as ours. It is very hard when your grieving and you can’t think of anything but her and the child and Husband she left behind so early in life. Every time a would pick up a pen I would put it down and walk away because I just couldn’t find the words. Now thanks to you I feel much more confident and I am starting to do what must be done.

  61. Dear Lynn,

    Thankyou so much for your web-site It helped me alot to reply to my friends during my beloved Mother passed away on 29 April 2011.

    Thanks again & God Bless.

    sincerely…Ann Archomo

  62. Dear Ann,

    I am so happy that I was helpful to you. Thank you for taking the time to leave a note here.

    Please accept my sympathy on the passing of your mother. I hope you have many fond memories.

    Lynn

  63. Thank you so much for the samples you posted. I lost my mother several days ago and I received a lot of messages from my friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors but I was confused about how to reply. Your models are very helpful.
    Mohamed Rahali
    Tunisia.

  64. I lost my Mom on June 9, she turned 89 on June 6. I was left with the task of writing thank you notes. I really didn’t know how, because this was the first for me. I thank you for helping me through this difficult time. I will recommend your site to others. God bless.

  65. Dear Sheila,

    Please accept my condolences on the passing of your mother. Our mothers shared a June 6 birthday. Mine died almost 4 years ago.

    I am pleased to have helped you through a challenging time in some small way.

    Warm wishes,

    Lynn

  66. Dear Lynn,

    Thank you so much for your guidance. This is exactly what I needed to get started writing thank you notes for the sympathy received, and for the people who supported us after my mother-in-law’s death last week. My husband, his father, and I feel quite lost, and your advice has helped us very much.

    Most gratefully,

    Beth

  67. Dear Beth,

    Thank you for taking the time to tell me that this blog post was helpful. Your message made my day.

    Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother-in-law. I wish you peace and healing.

    With sympathy,

    Lynn

  68. Hi Lynn

    Found your post when I was looking up google to check what is an appropriate reply to a condolences email from your company’s senior management. My mother passed away 12 days back and I have not replied to any messages yet. However I was thinking that maybe it is inappropriate to not reply at all especially to some of them like your company’s country manager and CEO. Please advise. Should I reply or should I just leave it. And if I should reply, what would be the most befitting reply to these people.

    Thanks,
    Mufeeda

  69. Dear Mufeeda,

    I believe you will feel better if you acknowledge the kindness of the CEO, country manager, and similar people who communicated with you about your mother’s passing. If you take action, you will no longer worry about whether you should do so.

    If they sent you an email, you may email a simple reply something like this:

    Dear Mr. _____________,

    Thank you for your thoughtful message about my mother’s passing. I appreciate your sympathy and kindness during my time of loss.

    Sincerely,

    ________ (your name)

    If you want to say more, you may get ideas from the examples I wrote above.

    Mufeeda, please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother. I wish you peace and healing.

    Lynn

  70. Hi Lynn!

    Thank you for this blog & guide lines on how to acknowledging condolences.

    Though i know saying ‘ thank you ‘ would be ok, i was in dilemma whether it is appropriate/right etiquette or not.

    My father passed away recently. this blog/post is realy helped me to clear my dilemma about condolence thank you note.

    Thank you very much.

  71. Hello,

    Thank you so much for your advice here. I received a message of condolence from an acquaintance via text message. The message was brief and merely said “My condolences, I heard about the death of your ___”. I have always known that it was very poor etiquette for one to only send a text message offering condolences. To me, it is impersonal and disrespectful. Should I even bother to respond to this text? If so, what is the most polite way to respond? Thank you again.

  72. Hello, Victoria. I am sorry that short text message seemed thoughtless rather than comforting. I believe the person’s intention was good. A surprising number of people at work write nothing at all when faced with the uncomfortable task of writing in response to a death.

    Regarding the message, if you briefly text back “Thank you for thinking of me,” I believe taking that action will help you let go of the negative feeling about it. If you do nothing, the feeling may stay with you.

    I wish you peace and healing.

    Lynn

  73. Consider using an online service like The Handwritten Card. They will handwrite the cards for you and even provide help with wording. A great resource since I had a difficult time not only thinking about what to write, but doing the actual writing.

  74. Thank you for the suggestion, Kate. Someone I know tried such a service but was not happy with the results. The notes seemed too mechanical, and they were not actually handwritten.

    No doubt the quality of services varies.

    Lynn

  75. Hi, Janice. I believe a response by email to a sympathy card is fine. My assumption is that the message will be sent to individuals rather than to a group receiving a generic message. An individual email would make the recipient feel well-appreciated.

    Best wishes,

    Lynn

  76. Hi Lynn,

    I appreciate all of your kind and invaluable efforts concerning responding to condolence letter and it was really fruitful in preparing such a letters in our office.

  77. Dear Lynn,
    Thank you for this post, as my clients mother passed away not so long ago and wanted help with writing some thank you notes. Also, I was reading some of the above comments, and a SMS is a text message. Again, thank you for this wonderfully helpful blog.

  78. Dear Lynn,

    We have just lost our beloved 16 year old high-school daughter on August 12th, 2012. I am a doctoral candidate in New Zealand, coming from Vietnam. My daughter had been staying with me in New Zealand for 3.5 years. She passed away suddenly and unexpectedly only 10 days after saying goodbye to me and her 9 year old brother to fly back to Vietnam with her father. Although I am very shocked and almost collapsed, I have to send letter of thanks to friends who offered us condolences and sympathies during this hard time. I am glad to find your website offering very good guidance of writing letter of thanks for condolences. I even read every single post of people… I know that the loss of a dear child is huge and people’s caring and encouragement can comfort us somehow. Without their encouragement, it would be difficult for me, my husband, and my son to overcome this loss as she was very lovely and close to us. Thanks again.

  79. Dear Kim Anh,

    I am so terribly sorry for your loss. My daughter is 18, and I know the experience of loving a child deeply. I cannot imagine the degree of your shock and sorrow.

    I am pleased to have been able to help you in some small way with these examples.

    Please accept my sincere condolences. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Lynn

  80. Hi Lynn,

    Is it incorrect to reply with “Thank you for your wishes”? I was under the impression it was OK and sent that as a response to everyone who sent me condolence emails.

    Thanks,

  81. Hello, Sam. “Thank you for your wishes” is not a statement I have heard before. The more standard expressions are “Thank you for your kindness” or “Thank you for your condolences.”

    I have written “Thank you for your good wishes,” but never “wishes” without a modifier.

    That said, do not worry now about expressing your thanks in a non-standard sentence. You said thank you, and that was a positive gesture of appreciation for people who reached out to you in your time of loss.

    Lynn

  82. “It was very nice of you to think of us in this time of loss in our family. We appreciate your thoughts sent along with the beautiful flowers.”

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