Bring flowers to someone
When we hear that somebody has died, we often send them flowers. However, while they will really appreciate the gesture, there could be something more practical you can send or do for that person – perhaps in addition to flowers.
One person told us recently that they received many bouquets of flowers when they suffered a bereavement. While they appreciated every single one, they ended up feeling a little overwhelmed and had to ask to borrow vases from neighbours, as they simply ran out.
Flowers, of course, don’t last very long, so you could consider sending a house plant. When one of our team attended a funeral in Crowborough’s twin town of Montargis last year, she noticed that quite a few people brought potted plants with them to the church, which were eventually then moved to the grave. Many plots in the local graveyard were covered in beautiful colour from the various potted plants people had left.
If the person in grief has a garden, then a shrub or plant could be an option. Roses are a perfect, as they come with a variety of names and it’s likely you’ll find one with the name of the deceased person or something appropriate. Somebody we spoke to recently said she’d gifted roses with the names Dorothy and Marjorie in the past – which have made beautiful and long-lasting gifts. We know that Marjorie, in particular, has been blooming spectacularly for the past few years.
In addition to flowers and plants, there are a variety of gifts you could drop off to that person you are thinking about. This could be as simple as their favourite chocolate bar, a book you think they might enjoy reading or a DVD they might like to watch. Others might appreciate a little basket of ‘self care’ items – such as hand-cream and some essential oils.
You could make up a little afternoon tea (this could be as simple as a packet of biscuits and some tea bags). Alternatively, pop to a local coffee shop and leave a hot drink and cake on their doorstep. Somebody else said that the day after her daughter died, a neighbour she hardly knew knocked on the door and handed over a box of homemade brownies.
“It’s many years since my daughter died, but I still remember that kind gesture,” she says. “While I appreciated all the flowers, I couldn’t tell you now who I received them from but, two decades on, I remember exactly how that knock on the door and the brownies – fresh from the oven - made me feel. The lady could have just put a card through the letterbox – which would have been kind. But, the fact that she’d taken time to make the brownies and also been brave enough to ring on our bell when others were hesitant to do that, really meant a lot.”
In previous blogs, we’ve spoken about how cooking a meal could be really well received. We often say to people ‘let us know what we can do’ but that’s often as far as it goes – as the person in grief probably has no idea what they need. However, a lasagne or casserole left on the doorstep will really make a difference. This serves a dual purpose. The family will feel the love in that meal and it’ll also provide sustenance when grief could be too strong to focus on cooking something.
Somebody told us once that they make a point of buying old casserole dishes from charity shops – which can be a matter of pennies – and then gift the meal in one of those. Then you’re not worried about getting the dish back. If you do, it’s a bonus. Alternatively, you could divide up a stew or pasta dish into individual portions for the freezer, for those days when they didn’t feel up to cooking.