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What to Say When Someone Thanks You for Attending a Funeral

It can be hard to know what to say when someone thanks you for attending a funeral. It’s always nice to be appreciated, especially if you’ve made an effort. But what do you say in response?

If the bereaved or a family member thanks you for coming to the funeral or memorial it’s a good idea to say something. But it can be difficult finding the right response when you are thanked. Be it in person or via a card and message.

You might not even know whether you need to acknowledge it.

So if you’re struggling keep reading as I’ll provide you with some guidance on what to say when someone thanks you for attending a funeral. I’ll take you through a range of situations including how to respond to thank you messages from someone you don’t know well, how to offer continued support and more.

What to Say When Someone Thanks You for Attending a Funeral

When someone thanks you for attending a funeral you should respond with empathy and kindness. These example responses should help you with choosing what to say:

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. It was an honor to be there and to support you.
  • I’m really glad I could be there if only to offer some comfort and support during this difficult time.
  • Thank you for inviting me to be a part of such a moving ceremony. I know how missed your loved one will be.
  • I was honored to be invited and to attend. I will miss [name] so much.
  • I will be here for you with a support and love as you navigate this difficult time.
  • [name] was such an amazing person. It was an honor to learn more about their life and the legacy they leave behind.
  • You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. If you need to talk to anyone I’m always here.
  • I was very grateful to have the opportunity to have known [name] and to pay my respects.
  • I’m grateful to have been a part of their tribute.
  • I’m glad I was able to come. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.

After you’ve been to the funeral and talked to the bereaved you might want to send a follow up message or card. It’s a nice way to offer your condolences again and show your continued support.

How to Respond to a Thank You for Attending a Funeral from Someone You Don’t Know Well?

Sometimes you attend a funeral of someone we don’t know well like a colleague’s family member or a neighbor. In this case it can be challenging to know what to say when they thank you for attending.

The type of response when someone you don’t know well thanks you for attending a funeral is similar to someone you do know well.

Here are a few examples:

  • You’re welcome. I’m glad I could be there with support during this awful time. I am thinking of you and your family.
  • Though we don’t know each other well it was an honor to be there. My deepest condolences.
  • The service was a beautiful tribute to [name]. I am so glad I was able to be there.
  • I’m grateful I could attend and pay my respects. I wish you strength as you navigate this period of grief.
  • Attending the funeral was a small way I could offer support. My thoughts are with you.
  • I’m glad I could be there to pay my respects. [Name] will always be remembered with such fondness.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are a few mistakes you should avoid when responding to someone thanking you for attending a funeral:

Avoid Minimizing the Person’s Loss

Offering some perspective to those grieving a loss may have good intentions. You hope or think your helping by showing them it’s not as bad as they think.

But doing that runs the risk of seeming like your minimizing the person’s loss or suggesting that they should move on. Which may be upsetting to them.

Instead stick to being supportive and offering your condolences. While you may want to do or say more to help it’s best to steer clear of anything that has the potential to cause offence.

Don’t Compare Their Loss to Yours

Even if you have experienced losing someone in the past, maybe even the same family member or a friend, comparing loses is never a good idea.

Grief and loss affects everyone differently and their experience will be unique. If you start implying or talking to them as if your loss is the same as theirs it may upset them.

Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice

It can be tempting to offer advice or some guidance when someone has lost a loved one. But it’s generally not recommended.

You might give the wrong sort of advice or say something that causes additional hurt or offence. What you say when someone says thank you for attending a funeral should always be respectful and supportive.

So focus on letting the bereaved know that you are there for them.

Don’t Make it About You

Don’t make the conversation about you. Listening and being supportive should be your main aim.

If you find yourself talking about or bringing the conversation back to yourself then try to stop. Be empathetic and think about them rather than yourself.

Avoid Cliches

Cliches or platitudes can sound insincere. Straightforward language and words that come from your heart will show you care and far more than regularly used phrases and cliches.

Following Up After the Funeral

Attending a funeral is just one way to show support for someone who is grieving. After the funeral it’s important to follow up with the person and continue to offer your support.

This could include something as simple as a follow up telephone call to check in and see how the bereaved is doing. You could also ask if they wanted to get a coffee and then have a chat.

A sympathy card is usually sent directly after the passing away of someone. But you could still send a card to let them know you’re thinking of and there for them after the funeral.

If you have the means you could also do something more partial. Offering to bring them a meal or do some chores/jobs to lighten the load will be greatly appreciated.

what to say when someone thanks you for attending a funeral

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