How To Support A Grieving Family Or Friend When You’re Far Away From Home

When someone you know loses someone they love, you know you have to be there — in person — to comfort them. However, this isn’t always possible. You may be living in different states or countries, and your situation doesn’t allow you to travel. You may be sick, or there may be pandemic-prompted restrictions in where you or they are. In this case, giving Sympathy gifts is one of the things that you can do to support them.

Read on for our list of meaningful ways you can express your sympathy and help comfort a family member or a friend who’s grieving when you’re away from them.

Provide space. Understand if they can’t still attend to your calls — give them the space they need to deal with their emotions. You can still check in on them through close friends and family members who are with them. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help the grieving person (practical- and emotional support-wise).

Let them express what they feel. Once they’re ready to talk to you (or to anybody else), keep basic etiquette in mind. Skip the platitudes and let them openly express what they feel — whether it’s sadness or anger or guilt. Be an active listener and let them lead the conversation. Don’t talk cliches and avoid comparing their grief with yours or another person’s. Keep in mind: Grief is unique to everyone.

Send electronic sympathy cards. While long phone talks or video calls provide reassurance, you should still send something that they can look back on anytime they feel like it. You can send a digital sympathy card carrying your personal message via email or web-based messaging.

Give them sympathy gifts. There’s nothing quite like tangible gifts. Apart from the sympathy card, you can also order memorial gifts and have them delivered to the address of the bereaved. Today, sympathy presents come in different form so you can choose which suits best to the personality or needs of the recipient. There are memorial candles and lanterns, dog tags, photo plaques, and even car decals that you can personalize with the name and dates of the deceased.

Be practical and offer concrete support. When sending memorial presents, you can also consider pairing them with a more practical support like a care package. This could contain healthy snacks and beverages, comfortable snacks, and under-eye gel pads among others. Be resourceful and base the contents of the package on what you know about your grieving family member or friend.

Participate in online memorials. Is there a video conferencing you can attend to see what’s happening in the funeral? Is there an online portal featuring messages for the departed and the bereaved? Whatever it is, one of the simplest things you can do is to take part in such an activity — it goes to show that you really care even when you’re away. Even after the burial, you can still show your support by checking in on them once in a while. When you finally can, take the time to visit them in person and even bring along sympathy gifts in time for special occasions like death anniversary or the birth anniversary of the deceased.