Ask the Grumpies: What to do for people who have lost a loved one?

First Gen American asks:

 What can you do for people who have lost a loved one after the funeral.

Our Midwestern automatic answer is: Freezable casseroles, a card, and possibly flowers. Definitely the first two.  Casserole in disposable containers they don’t have to give back to you.

Offer to walk the dog, babysit the children, hire a housecleaner.  Let the grieving person pet your cat.

If you’re close, offer to send the form letters to the creditors that say “this person died, please write off the account”.  Offer to clean the house.  Buy them the really nice kind of Kleenex that is soft.

Send Calming Manatees.

Rented Life adds:

If local, be sure to check on them, take them out for coffee after all has settled. People will flock around shortly after but a month or more out, people are back to being busy with their own lives.

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5 Responses to “Ask the Grumpies: What to do for people who have lost a loved one?”

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  2. Miser Mom Says:

    It’s so hard to know what to do, and sometimes the people who need help don’t even know what help to ask for it, because it’s all so overwhelming. When my ex-husband died, and my daughter who was taking care of him was far away from me, one of the things that totally stressed her out was that her lawnmower quit working. I ordered her a new lawnmower through the mail — not the kind of thing people usually think to ask for, but that lawnmower is one of those things she still remembers as being a relief during the hard times.

    When someone I love suffers a death of someone they love, I also like to write a “thinking of you” note and save it for a year, because the one-year anniversary can be a really hard time for people. As Rented Life notes, most of the help/remembrances from other people tend to fade away faster than the hurt and grieving does.

    • First Gen American Says:

      Thanks for giving your input. It’s good to have examples of what is good vs intrusive actions. Some people are just so exhausted from grieving that talking about it is not a one size fits all solution.

    • Leah Says:

      Yes, the one-year note is important. And know your audience — some people will appreciate a note every year. One of my good friends lost her son in childbirth. I have his birthday as a reminder in gcal, and I send a card every year thinking of him (and often make a donation to a charity for either stillbirth or for young kids).

  3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    We have an indecent amount of experience with this of late. Almost everyone who lost someone has been cross country, or at least a long flight away which means we can’t go be at their side, so we get together a big box of chocolate (this is usually their preferred comfort treat, but of course we customize it), books or their preferred reading material that they’ve wanted, a few books that are fun and funny that they might also enjoy. Add something warm if it’s a cooler season. When enough people pitch in you can honestly get half a year’s worth of condolence chocolate in there. And of course we send cards.


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