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Fran, I hope that these last ten months have brought you some peace. It's tough coming out of the fog—for a long time I felt like I could just see the sun peeking out and them BOOM I'd be grieving all over again. I think that happens for most people, and certainly those you need to write to will understand your need to wait until now to respond.

I don't think that you really need to give people a reason for not writing sooner (isn't your loss reason enough?). And I certainly don't think you should offer them anything like an apology—even if for some reason you feel you should.

However, if you truly feel that you must acknowledge the 'lateness', how about something like this:

Dear Brian and Carolyn,
The last ten months have passed for me as if they were the blink of an eye. I have often thought of your donation in Mom's name and wanted to let you know how much comfort it has brought me that such good work is being done in her name.

Thank you for your support and understanding,

That way you've acknowledged the ten months, given a subtle nod to the fact that your grief was what kept you from writing sooner, and let them know that their gift has offered some comfort. If you know the people better and want to add something a bit more personal about how you're doing with your grief now, feel free to do so. Otherwise, I'd keep it short.

People will understand.


Also, I thought I had posted an update on Angelina's request here last year, but I obviously did not. Her loss is/was great and I wasn't in a position to help her when she wrote because I'd had a baby only two weeks prior to her post and was dealing with a host of issues of my own at the time.

I'd asked her in December 2008 what she'd wound up doing and got no response.

My feeling about loss as a whole is extremely complex. Still, I cannot even imagine what losing a child must be like, no matter their age, but I imagine the loss of an infant must be devastating.

To anyone who comes looking for what to do or say in the wake of this kind of loss, I'd say that Angelina's idea of using a birth announcement as a memorial/thank you card is definitely a creative one, but also likely a lifesaver to anyone finding themselves in this situation. As far as what to print on it as a thank you card, I think that this is one of those cases where you're really given a 'pass' on thanking anyone for anything.

If anyone else has suggestions, please feel free to share!


thank you! i'm so grateful to find your site and words of advice. i have been putting off writing thank you cards/notes but this is really going to help. my Mom's services were on 8/9 so i'm late, but not too much off track. so sorry for your loss btw


Cindy, you're not late! Really, people will understand if you take a while to respond (or don't respond at all). Be good to yourself during this time—and practice some self forgiveness. Your mother would want that for you!

Eva Maria Sotomayor

Thank you for building this site. I'm a baby boomer who relies on the Internet to find wonderful people like you, who fortunately for me, have already traveled on my yellow brick road and have graciously offered their help to get me through my journey, in this case, bereavement thank you notes.
A load has been lifted here and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help with this final duty/responsibility. I was actually feeling guilty about getting the notes out...
Our precious mother died on 10-01-10 and today is 10-11-10 and I'm not going to stress another minute about getting the T.Y. notes out...
Thanks again for your strength in building this site for the likes of me and others just like me.
Eva Maria Sotomayor


Eva—I hope you did put down the load on your heart. No one will be sitting around waiting for you to respond to them, and if they are, they have some issues of their own to resolve!

shannon family

In this time that my family is sorting through the do's and don'ts after the loss of our wife/mother this site has proved extremely helpful. We thank you for creating such a site.

Kathy Kaighn

I am looking for the phrase that

You may have expressed your sympathy with a mass card, phone call or just words of comfort.

It goes something like that

It may have been a visit, mass card, sympathy card, phone call

Do you know the message I am referring to - my mom passed away last week and it is difficult to acknowlegdge the kindness that everyone has shown us - I think kindness is in that message also

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