by Jan McDaniel
It may seem like there is nothing you can do for a friend who has lost a loved one recently. But that is not quite true. Just being there to listen is perhaps the greatest gift of all, even if the pandemic prevents you from giving the hug you want to give in person. Encouraging words are not the only thing that helps. Here are a few practical gifts that can show someone you care during that first year after loss.
A lavender candle can fill the air with comforting moments and provide a focus for remembering that special one. Or, you might choose one of the candles that have wooden wicks. These make a gentle crackling sound like fire burning in the fireplace.
A gravity blanket may provide relief from the anxiety which often follows a death. The same may be true for a simple lap throw or blanket that can bring a little warmth and comfort to the recipient. Other ideas in this category are a neck pillow and a handmade crochet or knitted wrap if you are crafty.
Meal or gift box subscriptions are thoughtful reminders of how much you care. These can be purchased once or set up to be received for several months or a year.
Gift cards are useful, too. Perhaps for a massage or just a general card that can be used anywhere. If you would prefer to bring items, a basket of staples (bakery or canned goods) or even bottled water will come in handy and make life a little easier.
Books (a few are listed on our Recommended page) can bring insight and comfort. Cards that are blank inside allow you to write your own message, or you may want to give a pack of these with some stamps and a pen to help someone write to those who have shown kindness.
Natural materials seem to bring peace into a home. If you choose plants, make them the easy-to-care-for kind, such as the Parlor Palm or succulents. A packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds along with a few garden-related items make an interesting gift basket, but there are also memorial kits and ways to plant a memorial tree to honor the memory of someone close. American Forests and The Trees Remember provide two options, especially appropriate for someone who was a nature lover or conservationist.
If you know a gardener who is grieving, a beautiful sun catcher or a bird feeder with seed could help heal the heart as that person watches for natural light and beauty to re-enter life.
Memorial jewelry, garden stones, personalized photo key rings can give someone a way to hold onto precious memories.
If you are a close family member or friend, you may have photographs that would mean the world if shared. Make copies and give the photo prints in an album.
Whatever you decide will be the right choice.
Way for Hope
Losing someone you love is difficult, but it can mean a lot to hear from others traveling similar paths.
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Links of Value:
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Word of God
"My Story" Big Daddy Weave
"Hope in Front of Me"
The Joy FM
Traumatic loss or preexisting conditions can worsen mental health. Use this info graphic to find help.
"Take Charge of Your Mental Health" - a free download from www.nami.org: