Acknowledging your appreciation of the people surrounding you during a heavy time can be therapeutic for you, as well as the person receiving your words. It may feel most natural for you to say your heartfelt “thank you” in person, affirming that person’s efforts to comfort you while also paying their respects to your loved one. Or, you might instead feel it’s more appropriate to express your gratitude via a written note, which provides you with an opportunity to send a more thought-out message to the other person.
If you can’t seem to find the words face-to-face, or if writing a “thank you” note is the last thing on your mind, it’s also definitely appropriate to express your thanks publicly via social media.
Say it in person
Nobody’s expecting a long-winded expression from you at this difficult time, so a simple and sincere interaction can often be the most impactful. You may have a few opportunities to say this “thank you” in person, whether it be at the funeral or wake when people are offering condolences, or at a later date if someone reaches out to you. You might like to use meaningful phrases such as these:
- “It was so nice to see you. Thank you so much for being here today”.
- “It meant so much to see you at my mother’s/father’s funeral”.
- “Thank you for sharing your memories at the funeral. It meant a lot to me”.
- “Thank you for being part of the celebration of my parent's life”.
- “I really appreciate the effort you took to be here today”.
- “I know how far you’ve travelled to be present today. Thank you for making the journey to join our family on this difficult day”.
Your funeral guests or those supporting you might not recognise how much their presence has affected you. Don’t be afraid to make your gratitude known. Taking note of their commitment as a friend, family member or member of your support network is a special tribute to their effort, and goes a long way.
Say it in a note
Sending a note is a beautiful way to add to the recipient’s feeling that they have supported you through a difficult experience. It can also be a cathartic process of reflection and gratitude through putting pen to paper.
There’s no need to worry yourself with finding the so-called perfect words, but rather write from the heart about how their contribution was meaningful to you. Some messages to consider:
- “It means a great deal to my family and I that you were able to attend”.
- “You meant so much to my mother/father, and I’m so grateful that you came”.
- “Thank you for honouring me and my mother/father by attending the funeral. It was such a blessing to have you there”.
- “It filled my heart to have you join my whole family at my mother’s/father’s funeral. Thank you for coming”
- “Your presence at my mother’s/father’s funeral showed me how lucky I am to have someone as thoughtful as you in my life”.
- “Thank you for making the process a little easier for me by helping to arrange the funeral and by most importantly, being there”.
- “Thank you for attending my mother’s/father’s funeral. Your kind words at the ceremony reminded me that their legacy lives on with all of us. They always spoke highly of you, and I know they were smiling on us that day. Thank you for being there”.
- “Your presence at the funeral brought me more comfort than you could know”.
- “Thank you for being there when I needed you most. It meant so much to me, and your support made a huge difference”.
Say it on socials
We’re lucky enough to have social media platforms and digital communication tools to interact with people more widely, and in ways that allow us to accompany words with our most cherished visual memories, such as photographs.
Sending out a “thank you” via social media can also create a special kind of forum where people are encouraged to share their own memories. Start your post by saying:
- “To everyone who attended my mother/father’s funeral: I wanted to say the biggest thank you. Each one of you was a pillar of support on that difficult day, and your presence meant the world to me”.
- “I am so thankful so many of my friends and family could make it to my mother’s/father’s funeral. They would have been so proud to see such a supportive, loving family coming together. Thank you”.
- “Thank you to everyone who attended my mother’s/father’s funeral. It meant a lot to my family to have so many people at the service. My mother/father was definitely smiling down on us”.
- “I cannot thank everyone enough for the kindness and support shown to me recently. It made this difficult day much less heartbreaking”.
- For everyone who attended my mother’s/father’s funeral: Thank You. The flower arrangements and additional support were all beautiful gifts, and everyone’s kind words warmed my heart. Thank you for making the celebration what it was”.
It’s hard to comprehend being in a mental space where you can get through the funeral of a parent, let alone extend thanks to others for attending. The truth is, the words of appreciation that are exchanged in these challenging moments can help reinforce family ties and bonds of friendship, as well as reciprocate feelings of mutual support. This helps us solidify our ideas around what matters most to us, and how important it is to consider our own end-of-life plan.