Losing a loved one or a beloved pet is something we all deal with at some point in our lives. It is important to support those we love during this important time of healing with acts of service and/or sympathy gifts designed to support a delicate emotional state.
So what type of sympathy gift is appropriate? I have outlined 10 sympathy gifts and acts of service that are supportive to a grieving person and are much more thoughtful than the run-of-the-mill flowers and food baskets.
Check-in regularly. Ask your grieving loved one for coffee or take 30 minutes to call and listen (not argue or make it about yourself). Time is the most precious gift of all and shows how much you care when you take your time and devote it to another.
A handwritten card expressing your condolences. Write about the special memories you may share with the person or pet that passed on. Or how you can recall how much joy the departed gave your loved one. Let them know you have empathy for him or her and are available whenever he or she may need a friend.
A grief journal. Daily journaling is a great way to process difficult emotions. Giving this gift to someone with some light instruction about how to write about his or her feelings, while ending each entry with a gratefulness list, will help your loved one process a little bit of pain each day.
Offer to prepare food for your loved and his or her family. Often times those who are dealing with grief lose their appetite and will not prepare food for him or herself or their family. It’s a helpful act of service to make some easy meals that can be frozen or prepared easily.
Send a memorial guestbook. A guestbook is crucial for a memorial service so that all the guests can leave a little note and share a special memory of the departed.
Offer to care for pets, if your loved one is too overcome with pain to care for his or her animals. Or at the very least, stop in daily to feed and care for the animals in your loved one’s home.
A healing painting, custom for your loved one. Hire an artist to create a custom original painting of your loved one’s pet, departed friend or partner, or healing flowers designed just for them, so he or she can have some special piece of art to remember his or her loved one.
A self-care kit. One that includes a journal, card, candle, and bath salts. Perhaps even include a healing crystal. It is very important for your loved one to take care of him or herself during times of healing. Learning how to do that through a self-care kit will help them feel taken care of amidst tragedy.
Encourage therapy or offer to pay for therapy if you are able. Seeking therapy 1 to 2 times a week after a loved one passes if crucial. Professional help can make all the difference and help a person heal in healthy ways, steering clear of dependence issues and other dangerous behavior.
An engraved rock or pendant that says, “In Memory of…” What better way to remember a loved one than engraving their memory on a special piece of jewelry, watch, or stone and include the birth year and death year? This item will be kept for the rest of your loved one’s life—it’s truly special and deeply thoughtful gift.