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Gifts of Sympathy

Posted on April 25, 2016
Of the many questions people ask of funeral homes, among the top-asked questions is “What do I do for a memorial?” 

It’s often a concern of many people—how much money do I give? Should I send flowers? How do I help my friends in their time of need?

The good news is that there is no need to worry. The gesture behind any memorial can mean more than the memorial itself. However you choose to honor the deceased will be of great comfort to the family. If you are still concerned about what you should do for a memorial, we have a few suggestions.

Flowers—This is the most common type of memorial and a wonderfully simple gesture. There are a few things to consider before purchasing an arrangement: do you want a living plant or cut flowers? Do you know what the family plans to do with the plants after the service? Do you want the flowers to follow a specific theme?

If you want the flowers to be more permanent, then a living plant would be a go-to memorial. Something else to consider is what the family is going to do with the plant. If most of the immediate family is from out of town, they might donate the flowers to a senior home, or you may consider giving another gift entirely. Also, if the deceased particularly enjoyed a specific hobby, you could ask the floral shop to incorporate that theme into the design.

It is becoming more popular for the family to ask for donations to a specific cause rather than flowers. Make sure to honor their wishes by reading the obituary or asking the funeral home what they family has requested for memorials.

Monetary gift—Often you will see that the family has asked for donations to go to a specific place such as, a hospice facility, a church, or to the family for a memorial fund. Giving a donation to a specific cause is, by far, the simplest way to show the family how much you care.

If you are unsure of how much to give, consider how close you are with the family and make a donation based on how much you might gift at a wedding for that family.

Food—Following the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to find the time or the energy to cook, especially when extended family members are in town. It is a nice gesture to drop off food to the house, if you have the means to do so. It can be as simple as sandwich buns with sliced meat and cheese.

Time—If you have some extra time, you can offer to donate some of your time to projects that need to get done. Maybe your friend’s lawn needs mowed, but they are busy making funeral arrangements. Or there are young kids in the family that need to be watched while the parents tend to some other matters.

Make sure you ask what you can do to be helpful and then follow through!

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