It takes a long time to recover from the loss of a loved one. Your friends and family will express their support with letters, cards, online messages and flowers, and they do it because they like you. This page will help you respond to these loving messages and gestures when you feel ready.
Method 1 of 2: Thinking about what to say
Step 1. Respond to condolences in person with a genuine "thank you"
People will understand that you are emotional or hurting. When you say, "I'm sorry for your loss," they want you to know that you have their support and they won't wait for a very long conversation. In that case, a simple "thank you" is enough.
- Other short phrases you can use are, "Thank you for caring" or "That's very kind of you."
- If the other person also knows the deceased, you can also mention this by saying "It must be difficult for you too."
Step 2. Write a simple, heartfelt message to those who sent cards and flowers
It doesn't have to be anything fancy if you're replying to online messages or writing cards. Thank the sender for their compassion and support, and may mention a specific detail, such as the flowers they sent or attending the funeral.
- An example message: “Thank you for your solidarity in this difficult time for the family. I'm really grateful for the flowers you sent and your love and support means a lot to me.”
- If you are replying to a letter, end your text with a word that expresses your relationship with the person. For a close family member, write "with love" or "with affection". If it's someone you don't know very well, such as a friend or co-worker of the deceased, write "sincerely" or "from your heart."
Step 3. Respond only when you feel ready
Some people respond to condolences in the first few weeks as a method of dealing with the loss. If you don't feel ready, take more time to mourn and may respond even after 2 or 3 months. Ask a friend for help if it's still too difficult for you.
Method 2 of 2: Responding to Letters and Messages
Step 1. Send a handwritten letter or reminder to the people who sent one to you
If you have received one that has touched your heart, take the time to write another one in response.
Generic cards signed with name only, do not require a return
Step 2. Respond with standard text on printed cards for a quick solution
If you don't feel up to writing something back, use pre-written texts that funeral homes offer. These texts usually thank you for your condolences and affection.
If you wish, you can send a simple card along with a longer letter, including a message saying that you will write an individual reply when you can
Step 3. Post a message on the funeral home website to reply to everyone who has sent messages
Some funeral home companies offer an online obituary service, where relatives and friends can post their condolences as public comments. You can respond to them by posting a message from yourself, thanking everyone for their kindness and care.
An example post is: “Thank you all for the sweet words and prayers. We are going through a difficult time in the family.”
Step 4. Post your thanks on social media
Nowadays it is more common to express condolences online. If you've received multiple messages and comments on sites like Facebook, please post a thank you for their support and consideration.
If a friend has sent you an online message and physical cards, please reply in the same way
Step 5. Thank someone with an email if that's your most common way of getting in touch with people
This type of communication medium may sound a little impersonal, but if a friend or loved one sends you an email with your condolences, it's okay to respond in the same way.