From memorialising the deceased to offering an expression of support, what is an appropriate gift for someone who is grieving? We look at how you can express your sympathy through the perfect present.
You have written a condolence letter , but what about a present? Whether you want to pay your respects to the deceased or give family members and close friends something practical during a difficult time, here is some guidance on gift-giving.
For centuries, it has been custom to send flowers following the death of a loved one – sympathy flowers are addressed and sent directly to relatives and close friends of the deceased, and funeral flowers serve as a tribute to the deceased at the funeral ceremony. You can send flowers according to the qualities they represent – for example, white stargazer lilies are a popular choice as the symbolise sympathy – but you could also send a something that can be planted so that it lasts longer.
Something to remember
Gifts that memorialise the deceased are a popular choice. You might consider sending a piece of jewellery, ornament or photo frame that has been engraved with a comforting message, or contribute to the cost of a bench or plaque that can be placed somewhere special to remember the departed. Alternatively, there might be a book, collection of poetry or album that reminds you of the deceased. Sending an inscribed copy to the bereaved can make for a touching keepsake.
When someone is grieving, looking after themselves and those around them can feel like less of a priority. This is where a practical present can really help someone who has suffered a loss. Prepare a home-cooked meal for them to eat with their family, pack a food hamper full of supplies so that they don’t have to worry about heading to the supermarket, or offer to help with pet care or the school run as this can help reduce the to-do list of someone who is going through a difficult time.
Making a donation
Family members often request people do not give gifts or send flowers, instead they might have an organisation in mind that meant a lot to the deceased. In these cases, mourners are invited to make a donation – it might be to a charity that funds medical research, the care home or hospice where the deceased spent their final weeks, or a local community initiative that the deceased supported during their life.
Remember that you don’t have to give your gift immediately after the funeral – sending something several weeks after the ceremony can be a thoughtful way of reminding someone that you are still thinking of them and appreciate that the grieving process takes time. It’s also appropriate to send a gift on the anniversary of a person’s death, their birthday or the first Christmas or major event where their absence will be keenly felt by all of those in attendance.