When to send thank-yous

buffylouSeptember 8, 2007

I lost my mom very suddenly on 8/27/07. All our family is out-of-state, but my parents have a zillion friends - and apparently I do, too. My dad is still receiving over a dozen cards a day. My husband and I have received about 80 cards (so far). I am at a loss to know if I should acknowledge each card with a thank-you. I sent thank-yous to everyone who either sent flowers, brought food, signed the guest book or sent a card and/or memorial to my dad. As I see my coworkers who sent cards, I thank them, but I don't know where I can find the energy to acknowledge every card. I also don't know what to do when he or I receive a mass card; we are not Catholic. This is all so overwhelming. For my coworkers, I was thinking of sending them an email of thanks and attaching a copy of her obit. Does this sound tacky or too impersonal? I appreciate any advice you all can offer.

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Buffylou, please accept my deepest sympathy on the passing of your mother.

I don't know what Emily Post would say but this is what I did when my wife passed;

All gifts, flowers, money, offers of help and assistance and food offerings were acknowledged by a card. If the gift came from a group (work for example) I sent one thank you card to the group. Gifts from individuals were sent individual thank you's. When some folks contributed to two or more gifts, I tried to mention both contributions in one card.

I got both group sympathy cards from my son's elementary school and dozens of cards from individual students and teachers. I sent one thank you card to the school, and also replied to each student that sent a card. I got sympathy cards from people I have never met - they got a thank you from me.

I work for a global technology company so I received dozens of gifts, cards and emails from all over the world. When I had a good address, I sent a card. Many times I did not have a good address and for those I did send an email as a thank you but I really am opposed to use email in that fashion.

If you get a Mass card, send the thank-you. Being Catholic or not is of no consequence. The sender gave you a gift - reply appropriately.

This will sound harsh but I don't mean it that way - find the energy to write your thank-yous. Or get help to write them and you sign them. Believe me, I didn't think I could get through it either but, as I look back on it, I'm glad I did. My sons saw me doing the right thing even when the my world was upside down.

I sent over 300 thank you cards. I'm still not done - I received a card yesterday and my wife's death was 5 months ago. They will get a thank you as soon as I can get it done.

I think it is important to acknowledge each card and gift with a personal thank you card. (my $.02)

My prayers are with you,


    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 7:22PM
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I have to disagree with doc8404. When my husband was killed in an accident, I sent thank yous for everything except just sending a sympathy card. I don't think most people expect you to acknowledge a card (unless there is a gift in it). As a stay-at-home mom with 3 teens, I certainly couldn't afford that many cards and stamps, nor did I have the emotional stamina to keep thinking about and ackowledging the death. When I send sympathy cards out, I certainly don't expect a thank you back, although sometimes I receive one. The bereaved should not be expected to keep this up--it can go on for months.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 9:06PM
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My first thought was similar to Smiley's response. When my daughter died I sent a handwritten note, a copy of the obituary, and sometimes a photograph to a great many people. But although my intentions were good and my mission to complete this task helped me deal with my grief, I'm sure I didn't send a response to everyone.

You say you don't know where you can find the energy to acknowledge every card, and you should pay attention to those feelings. Do what you can, but don't push yourself to go beyond that.

I agree with Doc about the mass card. It is a giftÂa purchased gift, actuallyÂand should be treated as such.

My sincere sympathy, Buffylou.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 9:35PM
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i am one of those people who have yet to send my thank you notes, yes i have written a rough draft and was going to have it done on parchment paper with my husbands logo as an insert (where you would include say a photo), it has been 6 months and this is as far as i have gotten, me the woman who wouldn't let her kids play with toys they got as gifts until they wrote their thankyou notes! i live in large canadian city and here, people put their thank you notes in the paper under the heading cards of thanks, the booklet we got from the funeral home said, that this could be costly -- it is 52 cents per word! and it may be cheaper to send individual notes instead of the paper. after reading your posts, i have promised myself to get these done pronto! but i have seen them in the paper on the persons one year anniversary. my husband was employed by the college here and of coarse we received over 100 cards etc from there alone, so i was going to take out basically from the college newspaper to thank everyone there, also Al belonged to it seemed a million different organizations, i think i will send 1 card to each. it's so hard to decide, when everyone is so different, i tell my kids that's why some people shop at walmart and some at sears.

i miss my Al more and more everyday, i went to the cemetery 2 times today, once to tell him about our daughters first day in her second year at university, and then again just because.......


    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 10:10PM
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My husband died in March and I still haven't sent thank you cards. I did put an advertisement in the local newspaper thanking everyone (more from pressure from others). I too have picked out a verse and picture and intend to send a thank you card and memorial card to our close friends and all those that sent cards etc but I just cannot do it yet. I don't want to see that memorial card in print just yet. It seems too final. Like its all over now.

I didn't think there was any rush and that people would understand I was trying to get myself together before I faced that task.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 7:40PM
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When my husband died, I sent out thank-you notes within the week. For everything(flowers, mass cards, baskets, etc) except sympathy cards.

My mother passed away one month ago today...those cards also went out within the week. This is what she taught us...to do thank you's immediately.

There are always a few that come in from people who didn't see the obituary, and just heard about a death...but no need to hold off just in case.
Not like an invitation, when you want everyone to receive your missive at the same time, lest they feel left out.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 1:20PM
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