THERE is no rule saying that a gift must be taken to a funeral or memorial service, but it is a simple and meaningful way to show the relatives of the deceased that we share their pain and join them in remembering their loved one.
Funeral flowers are a simple yet beautiful option, such as a bouquet or wreath, or even a single flower, but nowadays, other options are also gaining popularity, especially those which are more lasting in time than fresh flowers.
Small gifts, such as sympathy cards or simple food items, both of which can be either shop bought or home-made, are also given frequently as a gesture towards grieving relatives. If you are planning to give something more meaningful, you may want to wait for another occasion as the first days and weeks after the death of a loved one are a blur for most people, and they have many other things on their minds. Plus, they will talk to a lot of people and get a lot of gifts. After a couple of weeks, ask if you can drop off the gift or visit them. Some people may want to be alone, others may appreciate the company, so be prepared for either response.
They may also not feel up to cooking after the death of a loved one, so delivering hot meals or food which can be kept in the fridge or freezer will be appreciated, or if you are unable to make it yourself, you could arrange for it to be made and delivered.
The same goes for shopping, so arranging for essential items to be sent to them would be a very thoughtful gesture.
If you are unable to attend the funeral other gifts can be sent, such as personalised items which can be kept in the home or garden, including bird feeders, memorial stones, photo albums or memorial jewellery.
Some families may ask for a donation instead of flowers or gifts, in which case, it is best to honour their request, even if you would still like to give them a small token to express your sympathies, such as a card.
There may not be a funeral or memorial service, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t send a card or gift to the family to show them your support. The same applies if you were unaware of the death or if you were unable to get the gift you want in time for the funeral. You can still send when you think is appropriate.
The family is not, of course, required or expected to respond with a gift to you. However, a thank you note, call, e-mail or text will probably arrive, but if it doesn’t, don’t feel bad about it, as they are going through a difficult time.
Having said this, there is a growing trend to give funeral favours to those who attend a funeral or memorial service. A popular option is to give small cards which can carry the photo of the deceased and meaningful words about them or about the meaning of life and death. There are many other options, but all of them are a simple way to remember the deceased and celebrate their life.