What can you do for someone who has lost someone they love?

When someone you love experiences the death of someone close to them, there is a natural feeling that we need to DO something to help.  It is such a feeling of helplessness because there is no way we can fix it or take away their pain.  The only thing we can do is show love and support them in their grief.
But still, we want to do something tangible to show our concern.  But what?
Make a meal? Send flowers?
I have had a few experiences lately of being in the position of not knowing what to do for people I love that are hurting, and in my business, I get lots of requests for gifts that would be appropriate for someone that has lost someone they love.

I have put together a list of a few ideas I’ve come across to help you find just the right thing to offer during such a time.


  • House cleaning.  The last thing a family planning a funeral needs to worry about is housework.  There are services for hire that can do a great job in little time.  Peace of mind is easier to find in clean spaces.
  • Meals. Grieving people will feel like cooking less during this time so sending a hot meal to help alleviate their stress of cooking is a thoughtful idea. If an entire family is grieving, you can let your loved one know that you’ll be stopping by to drop off enough food for the entire household in advance.
  • Framed photograph If you have access to photos of their loved one, this is a thoughtful keepsake.
  • Books about coping with grief.
  • Gift basket of snacks/comforting treats.
  • A tree or shrub to plant that will continue to grow through the years.  Or, a gift certificate to purchase later when planting is more feasible.
  • Wind chimes.  People give these after loss along with cards that talk about how when they hear the chimes they will know their loved one is near.
  • A journal. There is nothing more cathartic than writing about our thoughts and experiences.  A journal for such a hard time can be a way to sort through emotions.
  • I have a collection of jewelry that I created for times of loss since I get so many requests.  The cards and quotes that come with these pieces are specific to loss.

When my dear friend passed away from cancer four years ago, I was given this poem that spoke to my heart and now I share it with others experiencing similar grief.  I include this poem with the pieces made with coins featuring ships and boats.  Maybe it speaks to you too?

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the
morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length she hangs
like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says; “There, she is gone! ” “Gone where? ” Gone from my sight.
That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “There, she is gone! ”
There are other eyes watching her and other voices ready to take up the glad shout,
“Here she comes! ”
And that is dying.
-Henry Van Dyke

Ship at Sea Necklace