After the loss of a family member, it is important to acknowledge those who sent sympathy cards and flowers. While people understand that you are grieving and will not expect an immediate response, thanking them is appropriate. Thank you notes do not have to be long or elaborate in this situation. A thank you card with a short handwritten note is sufficient. Keep in mind that you do not have to complete all of the acknowledgements at once; it may be emotionally easier to work on a few at a time.
Assemble the sympathy cards that you received. Sort through them and separate the cards that include a handwritten note. Cards that are simply signed do not require a personal thank you or acknowledgement. Cards with a handwritten note should get a response from you, as should anyone who sent flowers. You may choose to send thank you cards to the other people, but it is not necessary.
Include a personal note to each recipient even if there is a preprinted message on the thank you card. If the person who sent the card or flowers was particularly close to your loved one, take the time to recall a personal memory if you can. If the person was not close to the deceased, a simple note like, "Thank you for your support during this time" is an appropriate response.
Mail thank you cards as you complete them. Although there is not a specific deadline for mailing thank you cards, work on it as soon as you're up to it. It is also nice to acknowledge people who attended the visitation or funeral service.
It is important to also acknowledge other gifts received. Send a thank-you card or note to people who brought food during your time of loss or made a charitable donation in memory of your loved one. As you send out thank you cards, mark the original card in some way so that you know that you've responded, especially if you are sending acknowledgements out a few at a time. Another option is to create a list of people to whom you need to send cards and mark off the list as you complete each card.