What To Give Someone Grieving The Loss Of A Loved One, According To An Expert

by Emily Popp
Originally Published: 
bereavement sympathy gifts
Getty Images/Fiordaliso

Sympathy gifts won’t take away someone’s pain, but they’re a heartfelt way to show how much you care. When someone in your life experiences the death of a loved one, you naturally want to show sympathy and love any way you can. Grieving the loss of a family member or friend is one of the most painful parts of life, but having a circle of support from others can help us through a time that feels unbearable.

We want to be there for anyone in our life experiencing a death in the family, particularly during a pandemic when people feel more isolated than ever. But because of the coronavirus, we may not be able to physically visit our friends or give them a big hug—which is heartbreaking. Sending a sympathy gift is a great way to show your love from a distance, but buying gifts to remember someone who has passed away can feel daunting. It can be tricky to strike the right tone with bereavement gifts, and you don’t want the present to feel trite or impersonal. Naturally, you want to choose a thoughtful, unique gift that symbolizes your empathy.

RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide To Using Crystals For Anxiety And Other Healing

So we reached out to Dr. Nisha Gupta, assistant professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia, for professional advice on this sensitive topic. “It’s helpful to bring a little bit of beauty into the lives of the bereaved during a very painful time,” says Gupta. Beauty can come in the form of unique gifts, but it can also come in the form of more “traditional gifts like flowers or candles,” explains Gupta. When it comes to choosing the “right” gift she says, “I would trust your own instincts and capacity for empathy. Imagine a gift that would make you feel touched if you were in the shoes of the person who is mourning.”

Dr. Gupta also gave us some tips for writing a sympathy card. “Helpful messages might include memories of the person who has died that fill you with joy and nostalgia,” she explains. It also might mean simply “admitting that you can’t find the right words to relay the depths of your compassion.” Gupta also recommends avoiding platitudes like ‘time heals all things’ or ‘they are in a better place now.’

Below we pulled together some of the best sympathy gifts to show your love.


This article was originally published on