9 Ways to Say ‘Thank You for Attending a Celebration of Life’


There’s a lot of writing and speaking involved when someone dies, and it's a highly emotive subject. We understand how your grief may make an already daunting task even more difficult.

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We hope you have a support network to help you write your loved one’s obituary and perhaps their eulogy. What follows is some help in writing thank you notes to people who attended your loved one’s celebration of life.

Please understand that most attendees wouldn’t expect a thank you note for attending a service. However, if that person went another step and sent a flower or a plant, provided a meal, or contributed to your loved one’s favorite charity, a thank you note is expected.

Here are some fictitious snippets of thank you notes to help you get over your writer’s block.

How to Say ‘Thank You for Attending a Celebration of Life’ in a Card

Most celebration of life etiquette guides advise families to send a thank you note to those who sent a gift, donated to a charity, or completed an act of service. However, there’s nothing wrong with sending a note to those who attended the end-of-life service.

After all, perhaps the individual traveled a long distance to attend the service. Maybe another person told you a story or provided you with comfort, causing you to take the time to express your appreciation. 

Even if a person didn’t give you a plant and lived across the street from the funeral home, it is still an act of kindness to attend a funeral. People go to funerals as a sign of respect to the deceased or to support the family. 

Here’s what to write in a thank you card to someone who attended your loved one’s celebration of life ceremony

1. Thank you, Uncle Robert, for attending Mom’s celebration of life service last Wednesday. I know that traveling has been difficult for you over the last year, but it meant a lot to the entire family that you were there. Mom’s eyes always lit up when she talked about your childhood adventures. You were her favorite brother, first friend, and strongest supporter.

During difficult times, sometimes people become more open with their feelings to others. You might want to use the thank you note as an opportunity to tell others that you love and appreciate them.

2. Thank you for attending Robert Smith’s Celebration of Life service. Our family was overwhelmed by all of the support we received from our family and community. While we continue to grieve for the loss of our father, we are happy to know he meant so much to so many people. The Family of Robert Smith

Some families send a generic note to all funeral attendees to thank them for coming to the service. The benefit of such a note is that it can be professionally printed, which makes distribution faster and easier. The drawback of this type of note is that the message is not personalized.

3. Dear Susan, Thank you for attending my sister’s Celebration of Life. It was nice meeting someone who worked with Denise at the firm. I loved hearing stories about her work life, as she was always somewhat reticent talking about that part of her life with the family. I am thankful that Denise had such a fantastic friend at work. 

You might meet people at your loved one’s service who knew your loved one from another facet of their lives. Some families enjoy hearing stories about their loved ones from a different person’s perspective.

Remember this as you go to funerals in the future. Some people struggle knowing what to say when attending a celebration of life service. You might consider sharing positive stories about the deceased that the family had never heard. 

» MORE: Planning doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Join the peace of mind movement.

How to Say ‘Thank You for Attending a Celebration of Life’ in an Email or Card

Some etiquette guides would discourage sending a thank you note over email. But, of course, it is up to you to determine if an online message is appropriate for your situation. 

Are you struggling to write the email? Here are some ideas to help you get started. 

4. Thank you so much, Beatrice, for taking time out of your busy day to attend my Dad’s celebration of life. I know how hectic things are at the office right now, especially during my absence. So it meant a lot to me that you rescheduled your appointments so you could drive over an hour each way to the funeral.

Here’s a message to a co-worker or boss who took time to support the deceased’s family. You may consider emailing such a message.

5. Sorry to send this through text. I just got home from Mom’s Celebration of Life service, and I wanted to let you know how much it meant having you there tonight. You have been a tremendous support through Mom’s illness. I’m not sure how I would have gotten through the last seven months without you.

Don’t forget to thank people for the assistance they may have given you during a family member’s illness. 

» MORE: Memorial day is a time to honor and plan ahead. Reflect on a veteran in your life.

How to Say ‘Thank You for Attending a Celebration of Life’ in Person or a Speech

Some families choose to make a statement during their loved one’s end-of-life service to thank people for coming. Here are some sample statements that a family member or a family representative may say during the service.

6. The family asked me to state they are overwhelmed by the acts of love and support they have received since Samuel passed away. They appreciate all the messages, the meals, and the help accommodating out-of-town family members. They are eternally grateful for having all of you in their lives and are thankful that you have taken the time out of your busy schedule to attend today’s celebration. 

Sometimes family members struggle to speak at an end-of-life service. However, it is appropriate to ask the officiant to share a message of thanks for those in attendance.

7. I have been in a haze since Marcia left us. However, I am mindful of how blessed I am. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last week without the love of my children, the support of my colleagues, and the assistance of my neighbors and community. It’s comforting to know that others will remember my beautiful, smart, funny, and charming wife. 

If you think you would struggle to make a personal statement such as this at your loved one’s end-of-life service, consider printing your message in the funeral bulletin. 

» MORE: Everyone's wishes are different. Here's how to honor your unique loved one.

How to Say ‘Thank You for Attending a Celebration of Life and the Gift, Donation, or Money’ 

When someone dies, it’s common for people to send a gift to the family, such as a flower arrangement or plant. In addition, some families request that contributions to a specific charity be made “in lieu of flowers.”

Here are some sample thank you notes to send to individuals who sent a gift besides attending the service.

8. Thank you for attending Ramona’s Celebration of Life. Our entire family appreciates the love and support we have received from community members since our Mom has passed. 

Thank you, also, for contributing to the scholarship fund we are creating to honor Mom’s legacy. As you know, Mom was a passionate educator and dedicated her life to encouraging her students to achieve their dreams. 

This sample is a generic message sent from the deceased’s family. 

9. Dear Mark, It meant so much to me to have you and your lovely family attend Walter’s service. Walter always valued your friendship and was always quick to seek your advice during difficult times, such as his cancer diagnosis.

Thank you, also, for the beautiful peace lily. Of course, you know my passion for house plants. I will proudly display this plant in a place of honor and think of you and your family each time I see it. 

Many people try to make their thank you messages as personal as possible. Share specific stories to personalize the thank you note messages

Use Cake to Help You With Your Writing Tasks

You may not have had the need or opportunity to write since you attended school. However, your loved one’s death may require you to do several writing tasks of utmost importance.

While Cake has plenty of resources available to help people during their difficult times, it’s important to know that other resources may be available to you.

A full-service funeral home should be able to help you write your loved one’s obituary, perhaps for a fee. Use grammar software such as Grammarly to ensure the text flows smoothly without errors. Finally, reach out to family and trusted friends to assist you with your writing tasks.

You aren’t alone if you feel overwhelmed with all that needs to be done following the death of a family member. However, others will be patient and understanding if it takes you some time to write and send the thank you notes following the event.


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