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The Wisest Advice For Grieving Loved Ones May Not be the Best Afterall

best sympathy gifts

When you're planning a memorial for a sick and aging relative, or coping with the trauma of an unexpected death, the mourning process is a uniquely painful experience that can make people feel isolated, depressed, and helpless. And though it might seem cruel to say so, there is a silver lining -- over time grief helps you connect more deeply with your own humanity and appreciate your life in a new way.

But the hard truth is that when you're suffering from grief, nothing will make you feel better. And if you are in mourning, then the truest piece of advice you'll receive is also the least helpful. Already, a well-meaning friend has probably told you, "Time heals all wounds," or, "You will feel better in time."

This piece of wisdom is both completely true and totally useless. In time, you may well find that your loved ones were correct, but that won't do you any good now. The best sympathy gifts help you remember and cherish memories before they fade. The best sympathy gifts won't end up forgotten in a drawer like so many kind-but-useless greeting cards, but instead earn a special place in your home -- and your heart. The best sympathy gifts aren't novelties; they're simple yet elegant items that help you through the grieving process while also paying tribute to a loved one lost.

Many Americans find that cremation affords more options for unique sympathy gifts. Of the 2.4 million funerals held each year in the U.S., 1.5 million use traditional caskets, while the rest utilize cremation or some other method. And the National Funeral Directors Association estimates that by 2017, 56% of U.S. funerals will involve cremation.

One of the best sympathy gifts is cremation jewelry, which allows you to place a tiny portion of ashes, usually less than a quarter of a cubic inch, inside ash pendants or other items. Cremation ash jewelry can be made from stainless steel or precious metals, and includes titanium cremation jewelry, cremation necklaces and bracelets, and micro urn pendants.

Cremation also allows families to create unique cremation jewelry and still use urns for burial, display, or scattering ashes. For eco-conscious families, biodegradable cremation urns can be interred in a garden with a seed. And unlike wildly expensive caskets, affordable cremation urns provide a tasteful way for families to honor the memory of a loved one. Many people even choose to use pet urns for ashes for four-legged family members.

Even the best sympathy gifts in the world won't make grieving easy. Nothing can do that. Still, the best sympathy gifts let you remind someone in mourning that they aren't alone, that they are loved, and that someone is there for them. Most importantly, the best sympathy gifts help honor the life of loved ones after we say goodbye.