Thank You Notes for Sympathy

Thank You Notes for Acts of Sympathy - Tips

  There are two main types of sympathy notes:  one you send to someone who is grieving, and one thanking someone for an expression of their sympathy for your loss.  Thankster is best used for the latter.

  It may seem like just one more thing you have to do during a difficult time, but acknowledging the kindness, love and support of friends and relatives after a death can actually help you through the grieving process. While many people don't expect it, a sympathy thank you note lets them know you're aware of their condolences.  It also may help you remain connected (and perhaps feel less alone), and give you a chance to reflect on all of the caring people who expressed their sympathy.  And writing about the good that you and others remember about your lost loved one may bring comfort to you and can, for some people, be therapeutic.

  Remember, any notes you elect to send can be very brief - even just one or two sentences.  People realize you are grieving, and have likely been in a similar situation at some point in their lives.  You can also consider enlisting the help of a family member or friend, just as you can help someone else who is grieving to write their sympathy cards.  In the latter case, you might want to gather all of the sympathy cards, letters, gifts and flowers that were received by the mourner, and take some time to re-read each one to them and ask what they'd like to say to each person.
 
  Sympathy thank you notes are sent to acknowledge special expressions of kindness.  For example, send them to people who gave a gift or donation, flowers, a letter of sympathy or a hand-written message in a condolence card, or made a memorial contribution.  Also send them to those who brought food to your house, ran errands, provided services such as babysitting, food, or driving in the funeral procession, or gave any other sign of support.  Etiquette experts agree that it is unnecessary to send thank you cards for pre-printed sympathy cards you received, or to every person attending the viewing, funeral or service, unless they traveled a long distance to be there and you want to show your appreciation for that.  

  Some people do send thank yous to everyone involved in the funeral and in caring for their departed loved one, such as pallbearers, clergy, transportation services, doctors, nurses, and hospice staff.  If you are assisting someone else, ask the grieving individual that you are helping who they'd like to send a thank you card to.   It is generally customary to send a note to the clergy who officiated at the service and to anyone else who participated  (by singing, reading, greeting, acting as a pallbearer or another honor).

  When a group from your office, club or neighborhood sends a sympathy gift together, it's good practice, if possible, to acknowledge each person who signed the card. When it's from your office or club and no individuals are singled out, send the thank you to the leader of the group, but write it to the group as a whole.

  While it's generally suggested that you write all sympathy thank you notes within two weeks of a funeral or memorial service, this rule isn't set in stone. Use the two weeks as a guideline, but write them as you feel able so that you don't put an extra burden on yourself during an already stressful time.

  Try to stick with wording that is simple, and again, remember that you can keep your notes very brief.   Use any of our many samples as they are written or to inspire words of your own.


Thank You Notes for Acts of Sympathy - Wording

Thank You for Coming to the Funeral - General
Formal Funeral Thank You Notes
Formal Note from a Family Member other Than the Recipient of the Condolence Note
Informal Bereavement Thank You Notes
Thank Yous for Money Gifts – for Funeral and Other
For General Use in Sympathy Thank Yous
For Condolence Card Only
In Response To a Heartfelt Long Letter of Sympathy
For Flowers, Donation or Gift
For Attendance, Flowers, of Close Friends
For Providing Help
Sympathy Thank You Notes for Tributes, Food, etc.
Bereavement Thank You Notes for Clergy
Thank Yous For Pallbearers
Bereavement Thank You Note for Death of a Spouse
Funeral Donation Thank You
Thank You Note on Anniversary of a Loved One's Death
Thank You for the Photos of Loved One

 
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Thank You for Coming to the Funeral – General

“Dear Julie,

  Thank you for attending my father's funeral. It was so comforting to see you again after all these years. Your kind words touched me deeply and I am sincerely grateful for the beautiful flowers you sent.

  My father lived a long and happy life and will be sadly missed by friends and family, and you being present meant so much.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you so much for attending my mother’s funeral. Your presence meant so much to me and helped me enormously during this most difficult time.

  Thank you also for the lovely flowers. She would have loved them - they actually were her favorites. How kind of you to be so thoughtful.

  Thanks again.

Love,”

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“Dear Ellen,

  Your presence at Chad's memorial service was greatly appreciated. It meant a great deal to us to see you there. Thank you.

Sincerely,”

Chad’s family”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for attending the funeral. Seeing you there helped me so much and I know my mother would have really appreciated it.

  Thank you also for all the support you have given me during this most difficult time.

  Thanks again.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for coming to the funeral. I really appreciated your kind and thoughtful words, and I am truly grateful to have such a good friend.

My deepest thanks,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for coming to the funeral. Your presence at the services was truly appreciated. At times like these, the company of friends is incredibly comforting.

  Thanks again.

Sincerely,"

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“Dear [Name],

  Obviously, this has been a very difficult time for all of us, and we are so saddened by the passing of [deceased person’s name]. But your presence at the funeral, and kindness throughout, has really helped to lighten our burden.

  I was grateful to enjoy your company and hear your lovely memories.

Sincerely,"
 

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Formal Funeral Thank You Notes


“Dear Mr. and/or Ms. [Insert Names],

  My family and I are very thankful to you for your comforting words of condolence on the death of my [brother/sister/father/mother, etc.]. Your fond memories of John are greatly appreciated.

Kindest Regards,

[Your Name]”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your kind sympathy card. It was a comfort to the whole family.

Sincerely,”


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Formal Note from a Family Member Other Than the Recipient of the Condolence Note

Etiquette Tip: A cousin or other family member can write a thank you letter in response to a sympathy letter, flowers or other expression of condolences if the recipient of the letter or gift cannot write the letter him or herself. There is no need to explain why you are writing on another's behalf.

 

“Dear Mr. [and/or Ms.] [Name/s],

  On behalf of my sister, Joanne Smith, I am writing to thank you for the beautiful floral arrangement and card [or expressing your sympathy, generous charitable donation, wonderful photos of our mother, etc.] you sent to honor the memory of our mother, Patricia.

  Your thoughtfulness during this difficult time for our family is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely yours,

[Your Name]”


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Informal Bereavement Thank You Notes

Sympathy thank you note to a close friend:

“Dear Sam,

  The note you sent after my Aunt Jenny died was very thoughtful and touching. It's been a sad and trying time for me, and your support truly boosted my spirits.

  And thanks for sharing your memories of Aunt Jenny and our summers at the roller rink. Those were fun times for all of us. Thank you for being so understanding and compassionate. It really helped.

Much love,”


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Thank Yous for Money Gifts – for Funeral and Other

General money gift thank you:

“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your generous gift to help us through the hard times following my father's death. Your assistance has helped alleviate the pressure of so many mounting bills.

  Your help and support has meant so much to us all, and words cannot adequately express our gratitude. Your generosity will be remembered always.

  Thanks again, from the bottom of our hearts.

Love,”

 

To say thank you for money given to assist with funeral services:

“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your generous gift. We used it to help pay for the services. Your friendship, support and incredible kindness has been a tremendous blessing during these difficult time. Our gratitude for you is unending.

  Thank you so much.

Love,”

 

To say thank you for paying for funeral services in full:

“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for so generously taking care of the funeral services. Your generosity and kindness brings tears to my eyes. The services were absolutely beautiful.

  Your friendship and support is truly a blessing. Words cannot express my feelings of gratefulness.

  Thank you so much.

Love,”


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For General Use in Sympathy Thank Yous

“Dear Janet,

  Thank you for your sympathy and kindness. It is of great comfort to know that you are thinking of us as we grieve Steven's death.

  Steven was a caring, loving husband and father. Your kind words will help sustain us in the difficult time ahead, as will the knowledge that Steven touched so many lives.

  Thank you once again for your thoughtfulness.

Warm Regards,”

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“Dear Alison,

  Thank you for your sympathy and the support you gave us during Jane's illness and after her passing. Jane was so lucky to have known you; you are a true friend.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear June,

  Thank you for your sympathy and support during our time of loss. Your kind words are of great comfort to us as we grieve our daughter's death.

Kind regards,”

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“Dear [Name],

  There are simply no words to express my heartfelt thanks for the sympathy and support you have extended toward our family during this time of loss. We are deeply grateful to you.

With our love,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kind gesture of sympathy.

With our love,”

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“Dear [Name],

  You have been a rock to my family during this time of loss. I know that [name of deceased] treasured your friendship, and that the two of you shared much love and respect. Your presence and willingness to help with anything needed has been a great comfort to us.

  Please know that we are deeply grateful for your kind devotion.

With our love,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Words cannot adequately express our appreciation for the love and support you have shown to us after the passing of [name of deceased]. We are deeply grateful.

With love and thanks,”

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“Dear [Name],

  The loving sympathy you have shown during this tremendously difficult time is so greatly appreciated.   The white lilies you sent were exquisite. I know that [name of deceased] would have truly adored them. 

  On behalf of my family, I thank you.

Sincerely yours,”

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“Dear Dawn and Ray,

  Thank you for your sympathy and support. It meant a great deal to us.

Sincerely,”

Frank’s family”

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“Dear Eva and Will,

  Your kindness and sympathy at this time are more appreciated than any words can ever express.

Sincerely,”

Frank’s family”

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“Dear [Name],

  It's during times like this that we learn how much our friends really mean to us. We so appreciate your sympathy and kindness.

  Many thanks,

Frank’s family”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your thoughtfulness. Your generosity and support during this difficult time is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,”

The Smith family”


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For Condolence Card Only
 
“Dear John,

  Thank you for your sympathy card and the kind words you wrote about Tom. It is nice to know that you are thinking of us at this sad time.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear Juliet,

  It was so thoughtful of you to think of me during my time of sadness. Your sympathy card and kind words are of great comfort to me as I grieve my father's death.

Many thanks,”

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“Dear [Name], 

  Thank you for your thoughtful and kind card of condolences. It was a comfort to the entire family.

Warm Regards,”


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In Response to a Heartfelt Long Letter of Sympathy

“Dear Mr. Smith,

  Thank you for your kind letter of sympathy and for sharing your memories of my mother. She was a very special lady and I shall miss her dearly.
  Thank you once again for your kind words.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear Jennifer,

  Thank you for your kind letter and for sharing your memories of my mother.  I miss her dearly, but your wonderful memories of her, and your kind words, helped lift my spirits by reminding me that she really did live a long and happy life.

  Thank you once again.

Kind regards,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your heartfelt letter of condolence. It was thoughtful and kind of you to take the time to share your memories of [name of deceased] with me.

  Your words were not only a comfort, but also a source of strength for my family and me in this difficult time. Thank you.

Kind regards,”


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For Flowers, Donations, Gifts, Cards, etc.

“Dear Joanne,

  Thank you for the beautiful flower arrangement you sent to my father's funeral. They were beautiful, and we appreciate that you thought of us during this difficult time.

Kind regards,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your thoughtfulness in sending the beautiful bouquet of lilies. I appreciate your kind support.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear Amanda,

  Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers you sent in memory of my father. Your thoughts and support at this most difficult time are very much appreciated.

  Thanks again.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear Robert,

  Thank you for the spring bulbs you sent in memory of my mother; it was so kind of you.  And thank you once again for your thoughtfulness and support during this difficult time.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear Friends/Family,

  I want to express my sincere gratitude for the thoughtful gifts you sent. The flowers and plants truly brighten the room and lift my mood.

  I know Sam would appreciate your kind gestures. He spoke often of his friendships with his many co-workers; I know you all meant a great deal to him. Many of you expressed such beautiful sentiments that I have no trouble seeing why Sam enjoyed his work so much. Being surrounded by people like you was a large part of why Sam liked to go to work each day.

  Thank you all so much for your kind words, your generous gifts, and most of all, for your friendship with Sam.

Sincere Regards,”

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“Dear Thomas,

  Please accept my sincere thanks for the beautiful flowers you sent for my mother's funeral service. Roses were her favorite; she would have loved them.

  Your thoughtfulness and kind words are greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your thoughtfulness in sending the [lovely flowers / generous donation] in [name of deceased]’s honor. Your kind thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear Julie,

  Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers you sent. They touched me deeply, as did your words of sympathy.

  I am so grateful to have you and your family close by as I grieve my husband's untimely death.

  Thank you.

Love,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for sending the beautiful floral arrangement. This is a difficult time for all of us. I appreciate your kind support and beautiful symbol of remembrance for [name of deceased]. Thank you.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear Jill and Ted,

  Thank you for your sympathy card and flowers. We were deeply touched by your words of condolence and are grateful to have you as friends.

Warm Regards,”

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“Dear [Name],

  The kind, generosity of good friends like you has been a great help to us during this very difficult time.

  My [father, mother, grandparents, family] and I would like to offer our most sincere thanks for the [flowers, card, or other gift] you sent in memory of [name of deceased].

  Thank you so very much for your loving support.

Sincerely yours,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your sympathy card and flowers. We were deeply touched by your words of condolence and are grateful to have you as friends.

Warm Regards,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Your loving support after [name of deceased]’s passing meant a great deal to our family. The gorgeous white roses you sent were fabulous. I know that [name of deceased] would have loved them.

  On behalf of my family, I offer you our most sincere gratitude and love.

Yours Sincerely,”


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For attendance, flowers, of close friends

“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for attending the services, and for the lovely flowers. I appreciate you taking the time to come and share in the remembrance of [name of deceased].

  Although this is a sad time for all of us, I find comfort in knowing how fortunate [name of deceased] and I have been to know you.

Sincerely,”


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For Providing Help

“Dear Julie,

  I don't know what I would have done without you during this diffiuclt time.  Thank you so much for all the help and support you gave me in organizing both the funeral and the babysitting service. Words cannot express my gratitude.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear Tina,

  Thank you for helping me during this difficult time. Your watching the kids made things much easier for me while I was making arrangements and coping with so many other things.

  Thanks also for your generosity in remembering my mother. The flowers are absolutely beautiful.

Sincerely,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thanks for providing so much help to us during this difficult time. We appreciate the house cleaning you did, and all of your help in caring for our out of town guests. Your kindness was a great blessing to us.

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your thoughtfulness in helping me with the food and guests at the services. I am so grateful for your helping hand in my time of need. Thanks again.

Sincerely,”


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Sympathy Thank You Notes for Tributes, Food, etc.

“Dear [Name],

  [Name of deceased] was most precious to our family. Thank you for honoring [his/her] memory with your very meaningful tribute. We will be forever grateful for the loving memories you have shared with us, and we’ll treasure them for a lifetime.

With love,”

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“Dear Henry,

  Thank you for the baked goods. It was comforting to have some delicious treats nearby. Everyone enjoyed them, and we really appreciate the thought that went into it.

Sincerely,”

Frank’s family”

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“Dear [Name],

  I know that you loved [name of deceased], and count his recent passing a great loss just as we do. 

  Please know that we greatly appreciated the [name food item] you brought by. It was delicious and we know you prepared it with love.

  Thanks so much for thinking of us at this very difficult time.

Sincerely yours,”


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Bereavement Thank You Notes for Clergy


“Dear Reverend Jones,

  We were deeply touched by the funeral message you delivered for James. James was a fun loving boy and he will be sorely missed by family and friends. Thank you for honoring him and capturing his spirit with such heartfelt words.

With Warmest Regards,

The Smith family”

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“Dear Reverend Jones,

  The eulogy that you delivered for [name of deceased] was beautiful. We were especially moved at your description of [his/her] wit and love of life.

  [Name of deceased] was a source of great joy in our lives, and we will miss [his/her] fun-loving nature and keen sense of humor. Thank you for honoring [him/her] in such a sincere and heart-felt manner.  We greatly appreciate your loving tribute.

With Warmest Regards,”

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“Dear Rabbi Cohen,

  This is truly a time where one's faith can be tested. It has not been easy to accept the death of [name of deceased]. While I am sure that [he/she] is in a much better place, it has been difficult to let go.

  Your counsel has pointed me to the path of healing. Thank you for helping me to grieve, laugh and cry.

Sincerely yours,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for your services at the funeral and for your comforting counsel. God is with us all, especially when we are mourning, and your presence in our lives makes that fact easier to remember and keep the faith.

  Thanks again.

Sincerely,”


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For Pallbearers

“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for serving as a pallbearer for Jane's funeral. I am truly grateful to you and your family for your love and support at this difficult time.

With love,”

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“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for serving as a pallbearer. You are a reliable and dear friend, and your contributions to the services were a tremendous comfort. I will be eternally grateful. Thank you.

Sincerely,”


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Bereavement Thank You Note for Death of a Spouse

“Dear [Name],  

  As you know, [name of deceased] was a devoted [husband/wife] to me and a wonderful [father/mother] to [his/her] children. We are blessed to have had [his/her] love and presence in our lives for so many years.

  Losing [name of deceased] has been a very painful experience. Your loving support has been a great help. Thank you for being there when we needed you most.

With Love,”


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Funeral Donation Thank You

“Dear [Name],  

  Thank you for attending Jim's funeral and also for your generous donation. Supporting the cancer association means so much to our family, and it was Jim's wish that donations were to be made instead of flowers.

  As you know, Jim has supported this charity for a long time, and your generous contribution would have meant a lot to him.

Sincerely,”


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Anniversary of a Loved One's Death Thank You Note

“Dear Aunt Betty,

  Thank you so much for your kind note. The anniversary of John's death is always a difficult day for me, but receiving messages such as yours makes it just a little bit easier.

  And I was so pleased that you could attend the small memorial service.  It was lovely to see you again.

  Thank you again.

Best wishes,”

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“Dear Julia,

  I have placed the beautiful flowers you sent, in memory of my mother, on her grave. It was so kind of you to remember the anniversary of her death and to send her favorite blooms.

  Thank you to a true friend.

Love,”


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Thank You for the Photos of Loved One

“Dear [Name],

  Thank you for sending the beautiful photos of David as a child; it was so thoughtful of you. Looking at the pictures helps us to remember the happy times, and your thoughtfulness and friendship is really appreciated.

  Thanks again.

Love,”


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