When someone you know experiences a significant loss it can be hard to know what to say or do. Grief is a unique experience for every person who goes through it, and it’s deeply a personal experience. While there’s no perfect gift or thing to say, you can show your loved one that you’re thinking about them with a thoughtful bereavement gift.
To give you some ideas, we’ve collected a list of thoughtful gifts for the grieving person in your life. These gifts won’t take away the pain of loss, but they will show your friend that you’re there for them while they go through the stages of grief.
What should you get someone who’s grieving?
While there are many thoughtful gifts for grieving people, it’s best to get something that will be personal and meaningful to the bereaved. Flowers, framed photos of the deceased, and sympathy cards are all common bereavement gifts and a respectful choice when you’re unsure of what to get.
Sometimes a practical gift, such as everyday necessities or groceries, is more appropriate. These gifts can be an immense help to someone who’s juggling family, work, and memorial plans. The last thing anyone wants to think about during this time is what they’ll eat for dinner.
Often, children are overlooked in the process of grief. A thoughtful gift for grieving families is something specifically for the kids. This allows them to feel seen and heard as they process their own complex emotions. This could include anything from a book, a game, or something that brings up special memories of their loved one.
6 thoughtful gifts for a grieving person
If you’re unsure where to start, try one of the bereavement gift ideas below.
Grocery shopping and deciding what to cook can be daunting when experiencing grief. And sometimes people simply forget to eat. Dropping off groceries is a nice way to help ease this burden. Look for easy-to-prepare meals, like pasta, or ready-to-serve items like fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals, and pre-made sandwiches. If they live far away, you can order groceries for the bereaved online. Make sure to ask about dietary restrictions in the house before you shop.
2. A journal
Writing and drawing can help people work through their emotions. A journal is a thoughtful gift for someone grieving because it gives them the opportunity to process their feelings without fear of judgment. Choose a journal with unlined pages so they can write, scribble, or draw without being confined to one way of creating.
A piece of jewelry with the deceased’s initials or birthstone is a beautiful gift. Whenever your friend wears it they’ll be reminded of the love they had for the departed and all of their memories. Make sure to consider any jewelry preferences they might have before choosing this as a gift.
4. Home-cooked meal
Someone who’s grieving often doesn’t have the energy to cook a meal. Bring them a meal or set up a food train with other friends and family to provide them with meals for a few weeks. Prepare a dish that can be quickly reheated in the oven or microwave. Freezer-friendly foods like soups or casseroles are a good choice because they can be stored and reheated.
5. Help with household chores
Chores tend to be put on the back burner when the bereaved aren’t able to devote time or energy to them. Can you give your time to mow their lawn? Or clean their house a few times over the next month? If the bereaved have children, offer to take their kids somewhere fun for a few hours. Asking them what they need is a good way to find out what would be most appreciated
6. Photo album or framed picture
While many of us no longer have physical photographs there’s something to be said about holding an actual photo — especially when it’s of someone you lost. Gift your loved one with a personalized photo album or framed photo so they can reminisce. If you prefer, you can create a photo book online. Several sites offer this service and allow for customizations so you can personalize your gift.
These bereavement gifts are a beautiful way to show support for someone experiencing loss, but the best gift you can offer is a listening ear and your time. Sitting with someone and simply listening to their feelings, fears, and memories goes a long way. Just being there will be meaningful.
Remember that grief isn’t a quick process; it can last for years. Make sure you reach out occasionally to check on your loved one to let them know you are thinking of them and that you’re there to support them in their grief, no matter how long it takes.