When someone dies, it is often difficult to know how to show your support to the loved one’s family. Of course, you know they are probably feeling sad, shocked, overwhelmed, angry – or any combination of those things. What might make you feel better when you are feeling that way may not be the same for them. But the worst thing to do is nothing. It’s important to show you are thinking of them.
At Krause Funeral Homes, Milwaukee-area families often ask us what is appropriate to send to a grieving family after a loss. While every family is different, we can recommend several different expressions of sympathy:
Contributions to charity
Sometimes, the family of the deceased may ask in lieu of a gift that you send financial support to an organization that was close to their loved one’s heart – whether because they helped others with similar medical or social conditions, or it was just a cause they deeply cared about. The family will normally include this information in their loved one’s online obituary. If we are serving the family, you can contact us to inquire about the family’s wishes for donations and to get information about where to send contributions. It is appropriate to follow this request, however, if you still want to send flowers in addition to making a donation, that is acceptable.
Photographs or mementos
Sometimes the best way to support the family is to let them know how much their loved one meant to you. Families often appreciate hearing stories or anecdotes about their loved one they may not have heard before. Sharing photographs, stories, or meaningful items at the memorial service or visitation is a lovely way to share the family’s sense of loss, while at the same time celebrating the person who has died.
Flowers or plants
Floral arrangements are a traditional way – and perhaps the most well-known way – to honor someone who has passed and share your condolences with the family. At Krause Funeral Homes, we can assist you in choosing the right arrangement. You can have arrangements sent directly to us at the funeral home. We receive all deliveries and ensure they are placed for the family during the visitation or memorial service. We can also assist you in having flowers delivered to their home after the service has passed, as the family moves into the days that follow the burial or cremation. A living plant or flowers can be a wonderful way to let the family know they are an ongoing part of your thoughts.
Meal delivery services or food gift cards
As you can imagine, the days leading up to and immediately after a funeral are filled with difficult decisions, emotional moments, and sleepless nights. Take one daily task off your friend or family member’s plate by covering a meal for them through a meal delivery service or a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Or, you could do it like they did in the old days – drop off a casserole for them to put in their freezer.
Cards or letters
The Krause team often hears that some of the most special gifts families receive are cards or letters from others who cared about their loved one. Even if writing is not your strength, simply sharing a memory about the person lost can provide comfort to the family by providing insight into the impact their loved one had on your life and others. Letting the family know how important their loved one was to you is a very special way to show your sympathy.
No matter what you choose to send, we can advise you on what might be appropriate. Please contact one of our Krause Funeral Home staff members for assistance.
2 thoughts on “What Should I Send? And Other Funeral Etiquette Tips”
Praying for the family and friends of the Stanley family . May the peace of God keep your hearts.
I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to show mementos or photographs of the person who has passed to make sure there are meaningful items. My father has gotten really sick and we don’t know how much longer he’ll be around and so we’ve started planning his funeral. We’ll have to find everything he’ll want to be displayed and we’ll be looking for a funeral home that has plenty of room because my father has lived an extraordinary life.