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Old 03-12-2010, 10:23 PM   #1
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What do you send for sympathy?

When a family member passes away what is there to send to the family. Other than flowers or a fruit basket? Other useful ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:06 AM   #2

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If you have suffered a loss - I am sorry for your loss. We just lost my brother-in-law a few weeks ago and this is what I think/suggest and did. You can offer your support, a helping hand. You are available anytime they need to talk.

They might need a ride or just company to get things done/taken care of. You might help with sending out thank you cards (a month after the wake). Perhaps send a dinner or a gift certificate for a quick dinner. If you live close by, stop by their home to check in on them. Just a few thoughts.
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:41 AM   #3
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Some families have a favored charitable cause they may like to see donations go to. Some examples are local food pantries or soup kitchens, the American Red Cross, or specialty organizations for cancer, heart, etc.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:07 PM   #4
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I think a personal note about something remember about this person means so much.
Maybe bring a meal in a few months when a lot of people have already moved on but the family is still hurting.

A lady at work lost her daughter several years ago. When Christmas came she didn't know what to do with her stocking. She put in all the cards and letter people wrote and ever Christmas Eve she sits and reads them. Each year she also writes a note to her daughter and puts it in the stocking with the other letters.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:00 AM   #5
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Can you can have a meal delivered to them? I know fromexperience that meals are very helpful and useful.

Another idea is a tree that blooms to plant in their yard. I have one from when my mom passed away and everytime I look at it, I think of her. It has special meaning to me. She passed away in Feb (02) and the tree blooms the end of March/ early April so it is a pick me up after the sadness of her anniversary and winter.
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:47 AM   #6
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When my aunt passed away last year, the things that were the most practical were the gifts of blank thank you notes and stamps. They will use those for a while, long after you think so. Also, someone started a sign in process so that every single person who stopped by the house addressed one of the envelopes with their info. You could do a sign in book or paper if you prefer. We found that so many random people came by, it would have otherwise been absolutely impossible to properly thank them. And thanking them was something good to do, it was a blessing to have activity.

Gift card to local restaurant or caterer so they don't have to cook.

Another place to donate in memory of the loved one is to pay for any number of Gideon Bibles. They put a nice plate inside each one with the loved one's name. We did this for both of DH's grandma's and his parents truly appreciated it. Depends on the family.

I really like the pp who suggested writing a note about the person. Written words are so permanent and can be so healing.

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Old 05-15-2010, 08:24 AM   #7
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When my father passed away, someone gave her a gift card to Boston Market. It came in very handy a few days after his wake because we were just too worn out to cook anything.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:47 AM   #8
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This is what I think having gone through this in October, we so appreciated people who dropped off a meal.. not many did that, but a cousin and friends did and we were so appreciative.

Also.. a plant, I have plants that people sent that I have now that give me comfort.

One more thought here.. once the services are over and everyone gets back to their lives and people think you should be healing and getting over the loss, to me that would be the time to send something... just a little something, a note, a card, a perennial to plant.. to let that person know you have not forgotten their loss.
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:54 PM   #9
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If you know they will have company in and out of the house I would send paper products. Paper plates, paper towels, toilet paper, utensils and the like. I also send mints, and gum. I know it sounds a little strange but it will be needed.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:39 PM   #10
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Fruit trays, meat and cheese trays, coffee and teas, breakfast items. I have also sent paper products-kleenex, napkins, cups and plates, snack plates and bowls as well as paper towels and toilet paper, extra garbage bags are always needed items that many do not think about in times of need
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MnMomtoboys View Post
If you know they will have company in and out of the house I would send paper products. Paper plates, paper towels, toilet paper, utensils and the like. I also send mints, and gum. I know it sounds a little strange but it will be needed.
This is a terrific idea. When my dad died, my BFF's mom brought over food (BBQ pork and chicken salad, plus buns, chips, potato salad, etc.) It was great, because it was all stuff that was easy to prepare one plate at a time, as family or friends stopped by. She also included paper plates, napkins, etc., which I never would have thought to give someone. It made things much easier.

I also had a friend send me postage stamps. That was thoughtful, because I had tons of thank you notes to write, and it saved me a trip to the post office.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:11 PM   #12
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If the person has a green thumb, I like the idea of a plant or tree. I have a plant - a simple ivy - I received when my grandmother died in 1978. It is a tangible way to be near her. I think of her often as I tend it. She would be proud when it does well, and would tsk me during the times I may neglect it. The ridiculous cold this winter took a plant I received in 1985 when my grandfather passed away. The empty pots still sit on my patio.

I second the food and paper goods idea. If you take homecooked food, remember to deliver in a disposable pan, or make sure your item is clearly marked with your name. Time is also a welcome offering. Offer to answer the phone or the door - take notes on who called, visited and brought food or other items. Take out the trash, load the dishwasher, offer to cut the grass before the service...

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Old 06-22-2010, 10:57 PM   #13
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Something very useful would be various types of drinks, such as bottled water, soda, etc. These will keep for a long time, so anything not used right away can be kept for awhile. When my Dad died, my work friends brought us drinks for the luncheon after the funeral. What was left over we were able to use later. It also takes some doing to go out and pick up all that stuff. It was very much appreciated. They also gave us some cash to use as needed. We sent out for pizza after the funeral home visitation. We were exhausted and starving.
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:51 PM   #14
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I think that a note including a few words about that person, or sharing stories in writing about that person is very comforting.

Mass cards from church are also nice.
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:12 PM   #15
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I have stopped giving flowers and now give a "rememberance lamp". The lamp is stay lit in honor of the person that has passed away. And this is something they can keep forever.
Plants are also nice. I still have a plant that was given to my by my co-workers when my Dad passed away 14 yrs. ago.
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