9 Sympathy Gifts For Loved Ones Who Are Grieving
Bereavement Gifts For Your Loved Ones
In the early stages of grief, the world can feel as if it has turned upside down. The life and the future you wanted—the one you envisioned for yourself—disappears into a black hole.
A few months ago, my family and I experienced this first-hand when we suddenly lost a family member. We felt tremendous pain, and our only real solace was the outpouring of love we received from neighbors, friends, and family—and a lot of it came in the form of gifts. For weeks, people sent flowers, food, and condolence offerings to show their support.
Food was particularly important because we didn’t have the desire or energy to eat. Still, people brought us homemade lasagna, casseroles, and baked macaroni—comfort foods that nourished our grief-stricken bodies.
Then there were the flowers. We received so many beautiful bouquets that, eventually, flowers filled every corner of our home. I will never forget how grey the world seemed while I moved through this loss. Yet, I couldn’t ignore the luminous colors of the flowers or how they required our attention and care. It was a small reminder that life was still all around us.
Though grief is not something you overcome or “get over,” each day and stage of grief is filled with a little less pain. And we felt this partly thanks to the gifts as they lifted us and kept us moving towards hope. I now understand how powerful gifts can be and how they can help others experiencing loss.
Below are condolence gift ideas for offering a bereaved person support, love, and hope as they move through their grief journey. Some of these gifts helped my family and me, and I hope they can nourish your loved ones too.
1. Flower Delivery
When grieving, the world loses color, turning everything muted shades of grey. Flowers boost serotonin and lift this grey veil to reveal a bit of bright light during the sadness.
Bouqs and Fresh Sends are two wonderful online delivery options for fresh flowers. Bouqs also offers subscription options so you can have flowers delivered every few weeks or months. It’s a beautiful gesture to keep sending flowers as your loved one continues on their grief journey—which has no timeline and looks different for everyone.
For low-carbon options, you can also contact a local flower shop in your loved one’s area. Buying locally supports small businesses and eliminates the need for packaging and shipping.
Finally, for a unique flower gift, Urban Stems creates dried flower bouquets. A dear friend gifted me one of these arrangements, and I cherish it knowing it will stay on my table for many years to come.
2. Homemade (Or Delivered) Meals
In the early stages of grief, eating is the last thing on a bereaved person’s mind. Food can be one of the most practical ways to support a loved one experiencing loss.
My family and I had an incredible amount of support from neighbors and friends in the weeks following our loss. For two months, people delivered food every day, and another dear friend created a Meal Train. This helped organize all the meals and allowed people to sign up for available slots and even specify what food they were bringing. People living farther away were able to send a meal via a gift card or by arranging takeout from a local restaurant.
We also received food baskets and a box from the company Spoonful Of Yum. Their boxes contain comforting food essentials customized for dietary needs.
3. Grief Support Books
Books can be an escape and a helpful companion in times of hardship. There are many books for grief, and choosing the right one simply depends on the person and their grief journey.
The book Healing After Loss by Martha W. Hickman is a helpful resource for anyone. In the beginning stages of grief, our attention span is short. This book offers digestible words that provide real comfort whenever they’re needed.
Another book I recommend is Finding Meaning by David Kessler. It examines grief from all angles through the lens of the renowned grief expert. His knowledge and personal experiences guide the reader through the realities of loss while also offering hope.
4. Self-Care Boxes
While in the early days of grief, self-care might feel irrelevant. Sending a box filled with encouraging essentials reminds a bereaved person to care for themselves.
Gratitude Collaborative has a wide range of care boxes filled with teas, foods, self-care items, and even flowers. Parcel features curated boxes along with customized options. For even more self-care boxes, check out this list.
You can also consider creating a box filled with comforting and soothing essentials specific to your loved one.
A warm hug is such a powerful gift, especially for someone in grief. But when a hug isn’t an option, a blanket is a beautiful replacement. Weighted blankets, in particular, help to soothe the nervous system. They also deepen sleep and are used as a tool for managing trauma. Here are a few of the best weighted blankets for offering comfort.
The Tartan Blanket Co is a stunning blanket brand that creates timeless and cozy recycled wool blankets. They also have a selection of customized gift boxes. Consider wrapping your loved one in support by gifting them something they can use to wrap themselves up.
6. Memory Books & Boxes
It can be challenging to find the right words to support a grieving person, but consider offering your memories of their loved one as a gift. Even something as simple as “I loved their smile” can bring the bereaved person’s mind back to a happy memory. A memory box filled with printed pictures is also a thoughtful gesture that can last a lifetime. You can even include printed quotes or written memories from family members and friends.
Similarly, a memory book with photos and quotes can offer the same tactile comfort. Artifact Uprising has an expansive library of customizable photo books, elegantly bound to keep for years to come.
7. Adult Coloring Book & Puzzles
When in deep grief, it’s hard to think about anything other than sadness. Even listening to music can be difficult. Offering a bereaved person simple tools and activities can be comforting.
Consider a coloring book, whether it is specific to grief healing or it contains images of a whimsical escape. Puzzles are another helpful activity, and these art-inspired jigsaw puzzles are a great place to start.
8. Handmade Gifts
For those with the crafty, DIY touch, consider making a condolence gift. Etsy has a vast library of handmade gifts made for grief, like healing candles that are a symbol for lighting the way towards hope.
Another unique handmade gift is a “grief jar.” I was given one this past year and it’s deeply special to me. The jar can be held during meditation or when thinking about a loved one. Often they will contain dried flowers and healing crystals—anything meant to help a bereaved person find peace.
9. Grief Yoga & Meditations
Physical activity can be tough while grieving, but I’ve found yoga can help keep the body moving and processing heavier emotions.
Consider purchasing your loved one a guided program to take whenever they feel ready. You can also share free resources, like Yoga With Adrienne’s free grief class on YouTube. Another idea is to find a grief yoga teacher and buy a 1:1 Zoom class for more personalized, guided practice.
Meditation is powerful for grief support. The InsightTimer app has a vast library of meditations specifically created for healing grief. This list is also a helpful round-up of meditation apps for soothing the mind.
Remember, grief is a journey. When supporting a loved one going through a loss, continue to check in and send support. Gifts are a wonderful gesture, but the stages of grief come in waves, and your loved one may need more help at times and less during others.
For those who have gone through grief or experienced loss, I’d love to hear what brought you comfort. Feel free to share in the comments below. xx
Courtney Jay is a writer at The Good Trade. She is also a yoga instructor, health enthusiast, and sustainable fashion advocate. She believes the most powerful way to nurture the planet is to nurture ourselves. You can find more of her writing and take one of her online yoga classes on her website Coincide.