What gifts can you provide when someone dies, other than flowers?
While funeral flowers are certainly a customary and acceptable way of expressing your condolences, they wilt quickly and sometimes the abundance of flowers received can be overwhelming for the grieving. So, if you are looking for sympathy gifts other than flowers, here are a few alternatives to consider:
Gift of Service:
Unless the deceased's home had a landscaping service, it is probable that the lawn and garden may be in need of care shortly after the death of the loved one. Offering to run the mower or do some trimming will a great relief to the surviving homeowner, especially if there will be many visitors arriving following the services.
2. Grocery Shopping/Meals
While grieving, many everyday tasks will be almost impossible to complete and the idea of going to the market to pick up just a few things can become overwhelming. Picking up a few staples at the market or making meals and dropping them off will be a gesture that will be greatly appreciated by the bereaved. The bereaved may receive many meals the first week or two, so offering to shop or make meals would probably be more appreciated after that time frame.
Possibly, the last thing that the grieving needs is the stress of driving. Offering to provide a ride to the funeral home, cemetery, or lawyer's office will be a great comfort to them both physically and emotionally.
4. Dog Walking/Sitting
While a treasured pet may be a wonderful comfort to those that have lost a loved one, the flurry of activity in a home after a death may be stressing to the poor animal. An offer to walk the pet or take it into your own home for a while may be welcomed by the bereaved.
5. Assist With Funeral Service Planning
If you have had past history in planning a funeral, your help may be of great relief to those who have not had that experience. Assist with organizing and planning the service by offering suggestions regarding music, prayers and readings, assisting with obituary, eulogies, or address and stamp thank you cards following the funeral.
Commemorate a life with an individualized expression of your sympathy. Personalized gifts, whether it be a stone, frame, lantern, or ornament, offer you the chance to add special words of comfort, or names and dates to be included on the gift.
If you know the grieving are devout in their religious beliefs, a gift with sentiments of the Heaven, God, and angels, would be appropriate. Each keepsake offers an enduring reminder of their faith and the promise of an everlasting life.
Garden stones or plaques in memory are a beautiful addition to a memorial garden, while wind chimes offer tranquil sounds. In addition to these, unique memorial bird feeders with touching verses are wonderful gifts for bird watchers.
Self Care Gifts:
A gift certificate for a massage to help ease the stress and tension.
Many people are unable to communicate their feelings to others during this stressful period. Being able to journal their feelings or simply reminding themself about special memories, trips, or family events is a useful tool to help cope with grief.
There are a multitude of books available as someone is beginning their grief journey. Both Healing After Loss by Martha Hickman and Grief One Day At A Time by Dr. Alan Wolfelt offer daily meditations to help work through grief.
Obituaries may contain the phrase, In Lieu of Flowers requests. Normally, the particular charity or cause will be named with an address listed where the donation may be sent.
Safeguarding the Bereaved:
There are several ways to help prevent any financial or emotional setbacks by unscrupulous individuals that attempt to take advantage of the bereaved. Try to proofread the obituary to ensure that it does not give the address of deceased. Offer to stay at the deceased's home during the visitation hours, funeral, and reception.
A simple card sharing memories and photos of the deceased would be appreciated. Knowing others have shared in the remembrance of the loved one provides comfort to the grieving.
Provide a gift of comfort, whether it be to offer relief with gifts of service, giving lasting gifts of remembrance, or donating to a favorite cause. There are so many wonderful choices for sympathy gifts, besides the traditional flowers, that will also honor the life of a loved one and provide remembrance.