When a death occurs, family and friends often want to help, but don’t know where to start. Don’t ask “What can I do”, or “I’m here, if you need anything”. Often, the person is so overwhelmed and grief stricken they have no idea what they need, or where to begin to start moving forward. Using a direct approach, you can take the initiative and reach out. Here’s a few ideas:
In today’s economy, money is always welcome. The gift of cash can really help with unexpected medical or funeral expenses. You may be able to organize a group and collect donations to make a big impact like making a car payment, pay off a credit card, or on a smaller scale buy groceries, or just make a donation that could really help the family.
Depending on the season, hire a lawn mowing service, or arrange to make sure the driveway and walks are clear in the winter. One of our clients who lived in a rural area that receives extreme winter weather, was concerned about her long winding driveway. Her husband died suddenly and he was the one that always ran the tractor to clear the drive. Her neighbors stepped up and paid for snow plow service to make sure she always had access.
Create a living memorial. Buy a memorial stone that can be personalized with names, dates, or a brief sentiment and arrange for a tree dedication or plant a flowering shrub that will bloom every year in memory of a loved one.
House cleaning without being asked is a huge relief. Just show up, run the sweeper, clean the bathroom, start a load of laundry or dishes. Any small task will be appreciated.
Offer the gift of time and help out with childcare or errands like picking up prescriptions, groceries, dry cleaning, etc.
Drop off a gift basket filled with breakfast items, tissues, tea, toys, candles, etc.
Memorial jewelry is a thoughtful gift that can be worn close to the heart.
Do you have photos of the departed loved one? Round them up and create a scrap book, or simply print out some of the pictures to give to the family.
Veterans or military personnel might treasure a flag case to store the burial flag that will be received at the funeral.
Don’t be afraid to tell them you are praying and then do it.