No gift will ever cure the pain of losing a sister, but there are gifts that can help sooth the pain, distract and help complete overwhelming tasks during the difficult time. Sympathy gifts include items that help the griever relax as well as help her with her everyday tasks, such as cooking, picking kids up from school and cleaning the house. Grieving zaps the energy and motivation out of daily life, so being an extra hand and support during the time is the best gift you can give.
A food gift does not imply intent of drowning your sorrows in a bucket of ice cream, but rather giving a gift that brings comfort, such as the griever's favorite cookie, cake or muffin recipe. Many grieving people lose their appetite and motivation to cook, so preparing meals or purchasing their favorite chocolates or comfort snacks is both sympathetic and practical. Gift baskets featuring sweets or items for a meal, such as a bag of spaghetti and jar of pasta sauce, are helpful in hard times.
Bath soaps and pampering spa items are classic sympathy gifts along with candles. Gift baskets full of body wash, bath soap, sponges and spa oils is a great way to help the griever relax. Do not give spa or bath sets to a grieving woman if she used to go to the spa or beauty salon with her departed sister.
Depending on your relationship with the griever, giving a gift of alcohol, such as his favorite bottle of wine or ingredients for his favorite cocktail, can help him to relax. When giving alcohol as a sympathy gift, it is best to do so during a visit and drink with the griever so that he is not alone and can talk about his sister while enjoying a glass of wine.
Books are a practical gift for any griever and can be divided into two categories: help books for healing and distraction entertainment books. There are hundreds of published books that help people deal with the loss of a loved one through reflection or spirituality. These books help grievers in knowing that they are not alone in feeling what they do. Other types of book gifts include novels for distraction. Purchase a new novel in the genre that your friend reads most to help offer a distraction during the grieving period.
Tea and Coffee
Tea and coffee gifts are always welcome grieving items as the warmth of hot beverages usually translates as a familiar comfort. Gift baskets full of tea, gourmet coffee, tea cups, tea towels, mugs, tea cookies and coffee cakes are great gifts. Taking your friend out to a cafe to get her out of the house for a while is also a great gesture.
Gift certificates are basic gifts and can be given for just about anything. A spa service, prepaid maid service for a month, movie tickets, ballet or comedy tickets, restaurant or coffee certificates are all appropriate gifts.
Above all other gifts, giving your time to your friend who is grieving the loss of his sister is the best thing you can give. Give him your ear, your shoulder to cry on, your help around the house, playing with the kids, running errands or anything else that needs to be done.
Mallory Ferland has been writing professionally since her start in 2009 as an editorial assistant for Idaho-based Premier Publishing. Her writing and photography have appeared in "Idaho Cuisine" magazine, "Spokane Sizzle" and various online publications. She graduated from Gonzaga University in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and French language and now writes, photographs and teaches English in Sao Paulo, Brazil.