Unique Sympathy and Condolence Gifts
by Jerri Haaven, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Celebrant
If you are like me, words don’t come easily when speaking to someone who is in the early stage of grieving. Even today the majority of people express sympathy by sending flowers or a potted plant. However, in my season of life – approaching the age of 60 – I seem to be visiting flower shops more than I’d like as older relatives begin to cross over. And, not to appear cheap – but flowers are quite expensive and we all know where they eventually end up.
So I ponder what might be a more meaningful way to express my sympathy.
I’ve learned that there are a tremendous amount of goods and services to consider when contemplating a gift of sympathy. In our blog featuring an interview with Robert Neimeyer, Ph.D., Dr. Neimeyer highlights the gifts of service, of hope, and of giving the gift of time by being present through listening or doing for the bereaved. Some families receive the gift of a housekeeper for a few months while they go through the grieving process and take on the arduous task of sorting through personal possessions of their loved one. Other bereaved may learn that a tree has been planted in memory of the person who died, and still others receive notification that a monetary donation has been made to a charitable organization in the deceased’s name. These are all wonderful ways to express sympathy.
Unique sympathy gifts
Since I’ve been writing for OneWorld Memorials, I often browse through the line of expanding products. Memory lamps are growing in popularity as a unique sympathy gift. The Amber Halston Tiffany Style Memory Lamp is crafted from over 200 hand cut pieces of glass. Its warm glow will last a lifetime and beyond, and will be a touchstone of your loved one’s presence. A customer recently commented: “I purchased 2 of these lamps - and was nervous. It's hard to know what the quality is going to be when you can't see it in person. The lamps are beautiful. The quality is better than I expected. I truly love the feeling I get when I turn on the lamp - it's warm and serene. When I'm missing my mom and I turn the light on, it feels like she is with me again - getting me through a rough moment.”
Symbolism in its many forms has always resonated strongly with me. Sun catchers, especially, capture my imagination in terms of what they represent. The Birds in Harmony Glass Sun Catcher Gift, for example, creates a sense that a loved one could be here, with me, reminding me the sun shines through my sadness as a sunray bounces off of it and fills my room. What a beautiful way to remember someone, or to offer as a gift to a bereaved who is seeking for ways to fill an unforeseen void.
You may have heard of memento boxes, but I was surprised to see the way in which they are crafted today. Recently, a customer who purchased the Orchid Memory Chest commented that they “…were so happy we didn’t settle for what the funeral home had to offer.” The chest is hand-crafted with cut glass and soldered onto a metal frame. The beauty of this chest is that it can be used to store mementos, or it can hold up to 200 cubic inches of cremated ash contained in a temporary urn.
Maybe this is a good time to let someone know you are thinking about them by purchasing a sympathy gift. Your purchase in October will also contribute to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Jerri Haaven is a freelance writer, and a certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Celebrant. When caring for her dad, who suffered from dementia and COPD, Jerri struggled with the negative side effects of his illness. She developed positive outlets to express herself and recover from her loss. Today as a certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Celebrant, she uses her skills to help people who are in the midst of their own personal story of grief and loss.