Care Packages,  Gift Ideas,  Self & Family

DIY Sympathy Care Packages for Grieving Friends and Loved Ones

Send more than thoughts with these care package ideas for grieving friends or family members.

care packages for grieving friend - woman at a funeral

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When a loved one has experienced a loss, it can be difficult to know what to do and how to support them.

If you’d like to do something more personal than giving a card or calling with condolences, a hand-picked and carefully arranged care package for a grieving friend or family member goes a long way.

A sympathy care package can be used to:

  • Commemorate a loss or honor a death anniversary
  • Cope with the difficult social and financial circumstances that death brings
  • Promote mental and emotional healing for the grieving
  • Encourage rest and comfort, when grief is draining
  • Process and adjust to life without the deceased

To achieve these results, this gift guide was created to suggest what to put in a care package for someone who is grieving.

How to Help a Grieving Friend

No one should feel alone during the grieving process.

It can be hard for the grieving to reach out when they are overwhelmed with sadness and conflicting emotions. So, be forward about offering your time, presence and assistance.

If they allow a visit, it is most useful to offer a listening ear but when you do get an opportunity, you can share a memory of the deceased and talk about their impact on your life. This will help your friend understand that their loved ones legacy lives on.

You can also help by providing a helping hand. Offer to help with chores, shop for groceries or care for children or pets.

Finally, giving a care package is a practical way to show that you care and meet your friends specific needs (in a way that flowers and cards can’t). 

Care Package and Gift Ideas for a Mourning Friend or Family Member

Many people will send cards and flowers and while those are nice, a DIY care package for someone who is grieving meets their everyday needs, comforts them and honors the life of their loved one.

Below, you will find care package ideas for grieving friends, family members or associates.
You will also find gifts that you can give in the place of flowers and a variety of special gift baskets.

What to Send When Someone Dies Instead of Flowers 

Flowers aren't the only sentimental gifts for someone who lost a loved one.
Here are various alternatives to use as gifts for a grieving friend.

Gift Basket Ideas for Someone You Know That is Grieving 

You don't need to over-complicate things to show that you care.

If you need gifts for the loss of a loved one or a care package for a friend who lost parent, gift baskets are easy and they offer variety!

They also make excellent assortments to display and use at funerals or wakes.

For related care package ideas, see:
+ How To Make HOMELESS CARE PACKAGES that ACTUALLY make a difference
+ How to Build an Awesome Care Package for Seniors

Frequently Asked Questions

The best answer to most of the following questions is to…ASK.
When you are unsure, ask the person or people involved what they prefer. We all have unique preferences and needs.

What is the best way to help a grieving friend?

  • Ask them if and when they would like company.
  • Send a care package.
  • Send meaningful messages about loss, grief and hope (via card or electronically).
  • Suggest any grief resources that are available locally or virtually.
    If appropriate, you can send contact information for grief counselors, local meetings and/or helpful videos or reading materials.

What should I include in a sympathy care package?

If your sympathy care package is being sent to someone grieving a loss, any of the above gift ideas are appropriate.
If you are sending a sympathy care package that is not centered around a death, then your care package should be customized to the specific situation.
Find inspiration by viewing these 12 themed box of sunshine ideas & How to DIY a Sunshine Box.

What should I send to the family when someone passes away?

When someone passes away, you can send their family:

  • Assorted Gift Baskets (which they can put out for visitors or use to take care of their family)
  • Sympathy Cards
  • Contributions towards the memorial and the funeral
  • Flowers (if this is customary to give in their culture)

Is it appropriate to give money in a sympathy card?

Giving money is one of the most helpful gestures that you can extend after a death.
From having to replace income to paying hospital and funeral costs, death and the grieving process can bring about many expenses.
Giving money with a card is a way to give the family the flexibility to meet whatever needs may come up during this time. So, yes, it is appropriate.

Is it appropriate to send flowers to a funeral? 

In some cultures, including North American culture, flowers are an appropriate gift to give at funerals because they represent beauty and the natural cycle of life.
In other cultures, this is not so.

Do a bit of research to find out what is best in your specific case. And if you’d like to avoid flowers altogether, there are plenty of alternative gifts ideas that you can bring above.

Keep in mind that some families will make special requests “in lieu of flowers”. It is always a good idea to honor these preferences.

What can I say instead of “sorry for your loss”?

It is common to be at a loss for words when death strikes.

If you are offering your condolences in person, via telephone call or in a card, you may wish to say something a bit more personal than “sorry for your loss”.

Some thoughtful things to say are:

  • “You can talk to me about [the name of the deceased] whenever you’d like- both now and for years to come”.
  • “We won’t forget him/her”.
  • “She/He was so proud of you”.
  • “We will get through this together”.
  • “I would like to help you by bringing you a meal or by running some of your errands. Can you tell me a good time to come help you out”?
  • “It’s okay to cry. Don’t hold back. She/he was deeply loved”.
For more care package ideas, see:
+ Best IVF Care Packages and Gifts to Show You Care
+ 9 Insanely Good Care Packages for Wisdom Teeth Removal
+ 25 Incredibly Helpful Items to Put in a Period Care Package for Her

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