Need Help with Thank You Card wording
August 1, 2014 7:02 AM   Subscribe

What's a sensitive Thank You card wording for the surviving widow of one of my friends? She sent us a gift for our recent wedding even after he passed away (and subsequently I did not invite her alone, but had sent a Save-the-Date when he was alive). I'm probably over thinking this but I don't want to trigger anything emotional. I don't really know her. I want to show incredible gratitude while acknowledging her loss. This is something I have not dealt with fortunately in other instances.

I wasn't terrific friends with the guy and only met his wife at his wedding (I was also the only person from his college that made it to the wedding). After finding out that he passed away (with a personal e-mail from his widow) I decided that I shouldn't invite her alone to the wedding (I was thinking it would make her sad?), so I never sent her final invitation. I'm feeling some guilt about this, but I don't think I should acknowledge this in a reply. In any case, she still sent us a incredibly (i.e larger in value that nearly everyone) generous gift.

Again, I know I am overthinking this.
posted by sandmanwv to Human Relations (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you very much for the wonderful/generous/thoughtful gift. We so much appreciate your thinking of us during such a difficult time for you. We miss [name], and think of him often.

The sandmanwv's
posted by 724A at 7:09 AM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

She's probably emotional already after the loss. So anything that reminds her of him, and that his memory lives on with you, would be a good thing I think. Also in some way maybe she is keeping his memory alive by honouring his friends since he is unable to. So don't worry about the relative value of the gift itself.


Thank you for your generous gift! Spouse and I will enjoy it [in our living room / on our vacation]. It will serve as a touching a reminder of Friend, whom we keep in our hearts.

sandmanwv and spouse

If you like her, if she lives close then you can follow up with an email inviting her out for drinks sometime with you and your spouse. At which point if it feels appropriate you can mention the wedding invite regrets and maybe make a new friend.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:15 AM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

You are over thinking this now, and overthought this then. There is no point in her day at which she is not aware her husband is dead. You are not going to trigger a reminder of that by mentioning him in your thank you note. Tell her you are so happy you had the chance to meet her when she and Steve were married, and what a happy day that was. Tell her that you're particularly touched she found the time to send a gift so soon after his death, and that you'll always think of both of them when you look at it / use it / whatever it.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:15 AM on August 1, 2014 [13 favorites]

If you can, include some photos of your friend when he was in college with your note -- it's so great to see new pictures of your loved ones after they're gone.
posted by kate blank at 7:18 AM on August 1, 2014 [10 favorites]

Agreeing with St. Peepsburg with wording. There's no way to both mention her late husband and to completely avoid the potential of avoiding triggering something emotional. But that's okay. He shouldn't be forgotten and it is entirely proper to mention him in your thank you.

In the future, don't presume to know what will make people too sad like this. It's sweet, but misguided. Her husband died very recently. Of course she's going to be sad. You can't protect her from her own reality and you may have done more harm than good by trying to do what you felt was right.
posted by inturnaround at 7:19 AM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

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