What Do You Give a Grieving Person?

What Do You Give a Grieving Person?

Grieving people can be difficult to buy for. The main reason for that, is that their life has taken on a complete and total inventory check of what’s meaningful and actually important. I remember hearing a bereaved person say that their “bullsh!t meter” was sharper than ever since the death of their loved one. So, it can feel tricky to give someone like this something that will feel special.

As you consider your friend or family member and what a meaningful gift for them would be – remember that this is not about what YOU like – it’s about what would be helpful for or special to them.

I’m boiling down the options into two categories; Sentimental & Practical. Here we go:

Sentimental Gift Ideas:
  • Custom Ornament – you could make this or find a picture frame ornament. Or, instead of a picture perhaps there is a symbol that brings up a memory or an ornament that embodies an inside joke. These ornaments can be very sweet and subtle ways of bringing your loved one into the holiday rhythms.
  • Eterneva – This one is $$$$ BUT, it is also amazing. Eterneva creates custom diamonds using the cremated remains or hair. The color and size of the diamond can be selected and placed in jewelry settings or kept apart. It’s an amazing gift and a way we can memorialize and keep them with us always.
  • https://lindsayletters.co/products/remembrance-candle?_pos=1&_sid=0f3a4b4ba&_ss=rArt WorkThis piece by Lindsay Letters is titled, “Remembrance Candle” and it is a beautiful piece from her 2020 holiday collection. This could be displayed year-round or be a special piece that comes out during the holidays as a way to commemorate and remember.
  • Record your memories – if you share memorable moments with the person they are grieving – write them down in a letter or pick up the phone and reminisce. Consistently remembering together and saying the name of your deceased friend is good and healing.
Practical Gift Ideas:
  • Dinner – have a dinner delivered or sign your friend up for a meal service where food is delivered to them either ready-to-eat or as simple recipes. Giving the gift of a meal is giving the gift of comfort and rest. Grieving people often forget to cook for themselves or feel so scattered they can’t decide what to make or put it together.
  • Cleaning service – if you are a close enough friend and enjoy cleaning – offer to come and do the dishes or vacuum. For more in-depth work, a cleaning team can be hired to deep clean and give your friend a sense of refreshment. *This is not something you surprise someone with. It may feel too soon, invasive or like their loved one is being “cleaned away” – check with them first.
  • A thoughtful grocery run – offer to pick up groceries for your friend or family member. Take down their list, get as much as you can, and throw in a few surprises; flowers, chocolates, calming tea – not only will you be checking a huge task off of their list, you’ll be giving them little surprises and comforts as well.
  • Be there for them. Like, actually be there for them. SO MANY people say this and mean it when someone dies. But grievers need people who can proactively and consistently do this. Invite your friend for a walk, call them to check in, see what they need that you can make happen.
Giving = Connecting

The bottom line is that in giving we are actively saying, “I think about you and I care about you”. It is a beautiful act and it means so much. If these ideas are too grand or you don’t have time – a candle, a card, a plant or homemade cookies are lovely, lovely ways to reach out from the heart.

Oh, and should you send a bereaved person a Christmas card? YES. Of course you should. They didn’t want their life to change the way that it has, don’t make more changes for them. Keep connecting & thank you for being the person that thinks about grieving people at Christmas.

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.

1 Comment

  1. Karen Turner says:

    Beautiful thoughts and ideas, Molly! And I love the simplicity and practically of so many. I loved the part about cleaning for someone, but being sensitive that someone might feel their loved one is being “cleaned away.” You reminded me that when my grandfather died, my grandmother would not let anyone touch or wash that cup that held his last drink of water. You get it.

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