It’s common to hear requests of donations to charities rather than flowers when funeral notices are posted. That is a heartfelt gesture that empowers mourners to do something positive at a time when mourners are feeling deeply about somebody they have lost.
Often though, friends and family would like to do more for those who are most affected by a loss. They feel as though a more personal gesture that provides some benefit to the family would be tangible and significant. If you know somebody who has lost somebody close to them and you would like to offer something that will make their burden lighter then here are a few gifts of sympathy ideas:
Instead of choosing funeral flowers, food offerings are a long held tradition after a death in the family. It’s a logical and practical way to help out. When people are grieving their energy is depleted and food may be low on their list of priorities. Organising a roster among friends to deliver meals is really helpful. Providing a dish that requires little or no preparation is an equally great idea as long as there is room in the fridge and it isn’t something that needs to be eaten immediately.
An alternative to a fresh dish is a package or hamper of non perishables. Snack items are a great idea especially for children. It’s one less bit of preparation and one less thing to think about.
Anything that can relieve stress or tension can make all the difference. Escaping for a massage or a day spa may not be everybody’s idea of providing support during grief but that’s not to say it won’t help. People who are grieving tend not to allow themselves time for self care. They think there is too much to do and the stages of grief are emotionally confusing. But if you know somebody really well and you can present the idea of self care in a gentle yet persuasive way, it can be a much needed reprieve.
There are lots of ideas that you might come up with that are very specific to the person who has died. They could extend to plants, jewellery, paintings, sculptures and other decorative items. It may just be the gift of your time that is most appreciated. You may accompany them to the family owned funeral home if a visit is necessary. That can be a traumatic trip to take alone. If the wife, husband, child or parent of somebody who has died would like to send thank you cards then maybe you can help to write them or address the envelopes. There may be addresses that need to be found. All of these efforts are important and appreciated.