What to Buy for Someone Who Just Lost a Loved One

Explore thoughtful gifts and gestures to support those grieving a loss. From personalized memorials to practical help, discover ways to show you care.


In the wake of a loved one's passing, the world can seem like a whirlwind of emotions, decisions, and memories. It's a time when words often fall short, and the weight of silence can be overwhelming. How do you comfort someone who is navigating through such profound grief? What can you say or do that would genuinely help?

Finding the right words or gestures to comfort someone grieving is undeniably challenging. The fear of saying something inappropriate or unintentionally causing more pain can be paralyzing. Yet, it's during these moments of profound sorrow that showing support becomes paramount. It's not just about the words spoken but the sentiment behind them. It's about letting the grieving individual know that they are not alone, that there are people who genuinely care and are there to support them through this challenging journey.

Memoria, a compassionate funeral platform, understands this sentiment deeply. Having reinvented the traditional funeral process to provide peace of mind, we recognize the importance of support during such times. We understand the importance of empathy and being there for someone when they need it the most.

In the same vein, one of the ways to show support and understanding is through thoughtful gifts. While no gift can fill the void left by the departed, the right gesture can serve as a beacon of comfort, reminding the bereaved that they are surrounded by love and care.

The Importance of Thoughtful Gifts

A thoughtful gift, chosen with care and consideration, can be a beacon of light in the darkest of times. It's more than just a physical object; it's a tangible manifestation of empathy, understanding, and love. It says, "I see your pain, I acknowledge it, and I'm here for you." In moments when words might fail or feel inadequate, a well-chosen gift can speak volumes.

One of the most profound impacts of a thoughtful gift is its ability to bridge the chasm of loneliness that often accompanies grief. When someone is grieving, there's a palpable sense of isolation, a feeling that the world has moved on while they remain anchored in their pain. A gift, especially one that resonates with the memories and essence of the departed, serves as a gentle reminder that they are not alone in their journey of mourning. It's a silent yet powerful affirmation that there are people who care, who remember, and who are there to support.

Furthermore, the right gift can also serve as a conduit for healing. It can be a touchstone, a physical object that the bereaved can turn to, hold, and derive comfort from. Whether it's a piece of memorial jewelry that captures the essence of the departed or a book that offers guidance on navigating the tumultuous waters of grief, these gifts can be anchors in a storm, providing solace and understanding.

Why Personalize Memorial Gifts

Personalized gifts can play a significant role in aiding a person's healing process after a loss due to several psychological and emotional factors. While it's important to note that not everyone will respond the same way to personalized gifts, there are several reasons why these types of gifts may be particularly effective in helping someone heal:

1. Recognition of Individuality: Grieving individuals often feel isolated and misunderstood. Personalized gifts show that the giver recognizes and values the unique qualities, preferences, and memories of the person who has passed away. This recognition can help the grieving person feel seen and understood, which can be comforting during a time of emotional turmoil.

2. Emotional Connection: Personalized gifts are often tailored to reflect shared memories or experiences between the giver, the recipient, and the person who has passed away. These gifts can evoke strong emotions and trigger positive memories, fostering a sense of connection with the deceased loved one. This emotional bond can aid in the healing process by providing comfort and a feeling of ongoing connection.

3. Validation of Grief: Grief can be an intense and complex emotion. Personalized gifts demonstrate that the giver acknowledges the depth of the recipient's grief. This validation can make the grieving person feel less alone in their experience and encourage them to process their feelings in a healthier way.

4. Physical Representation of Memories: A personalized gift could be something like a photo album, a custom artwork, or a piece of jewelry containing the loved one's initials or birthstone. These physical representations of memories can serve as tangible reminders of the person who has passed away, helping the grieving individual hold onto their presence in their life.

5. Distraction and Engagement: During the grieving process, people often experience moments of intense sadness and loss. Personalized gifts can provide a distraction and engage the individual in a positive way. Engaging with these gifts may help reduce feelings of loneliness, sadness, and depression by redirecting the person's focus toward positive memories.

6. Meaningful Rituals: Personalized gifts can be incorporated into rituals or memorial activities that help honor and remember the person who has passed away. Engaging in these rituals can provide a sense of closure and enable the grieving individual to express their emotions in a constructive and healing manner.

7. Sense of Support: Receiving a personalized gift shows that the giver cares and empathizes with the recipient's pain. This support can have a profound impact on the healing process, as it encourages the grieving person to lean on their support network during a challenging time.

8. Long-Term Comfort: Personalized gifts are often cherished for years to come. They serve as lasting reminders of the love and connection shared with the deceased loved one. Having a physical object that holds sentimental value can provide ongoing comfort and solace as time passes.

14 Memorial Gift Ideas

1. Memorial Jewelry

Jewelry, through ages, has been a symbol of cherished memories, significant milestones, and profound connections. Memorial jewelry takes this symbolism a notch higher, offering a way to eternally encapsulate the memory of a loved one.

Options include:

  • Necklaces: These can be engraved with the loved one's name, date, or a heartfelt message. Some designs even allow for the inclusion of a small amount of ashes, ensuring that a part of the departed always remains close to the heart. Find some examples here.

  • Bracelets: A subtle yet powerful reminder of the bond shared, bracelets can be adorned with charms, engravings, or even miniature photo frames.

  • Rings: Representing the eternal cycle of life and memories, rings can be engraved with special dates, names, or messages, serving as a continuous reminder of the love shared.

2. Wind Chimes

The gentle, melodic tones of wind chimes have a therapeutic quality, evoking memories and offering solace. Personalized wind chimes, available at Memoria, can be engraved with the name of the departed or a special message, turning every breeze into a sweet, audible memory. Every time the chimes ring, they serve as a gentle reminder of the moments shared, the laughter, the conversations, and the bond that, though physically absent, continues to resonate in the heart. Here are some examples of high quality wind chimes.

3. Lanterns

A lantern, see here, can be a thoughtful memorial gift because it symbolizes the idea of light in times of darkness. It represents the enduring presence of the departed loved one's memory and offers a way to remember them through the warm glow it emits. Just as a lantern guides the way, this gift can provide comfort and a sense of guidance during the grieving process. It also encourages moments of reflection and remembrance, serving as a beautiful and meaningful tribute that can be displayed indoors or outdoors, creating a serene space for honoring and preserving the memory of the person who has passed away.

4. Grief Journals

A grief journal can be a meaningful memorial gift as it provides a safe and private space for individuals to express their emotions, memories, and thoughts as they navigate the complex journey of grief. This gift encourages the grieving person to engage in therapeutic self-reflection, aiding them in processing their feelings and memories. It becomes a personal sanctuary for healing, allowing them to honor their loved one's memory, celebrate their life, and gradually find solace amidst their emotional landscape. Many of those journals can be personalized like here.

5. Memorial Art

Art possesses the unparalleled ability to evoke deep emotions, memories, and sentiments. Customized memorial art captures the spirit and essence of the departed, immortalizing them in a medium that resonates with the heart. Whether it's a portrait that mirrors their likeness, a sketch of a cherished shared moment, or digital art that amalgamates various memories, these pieces serve as a visual homage to the love and bond shared.

Options to consider:

  • Portraits: Commissioning an artist to craft a portrait of the departed can be a touching way to remember them.

  • Memory Collages: A blend of photos, quotes, and significant tokens can be artistically assembled to narrate a story of love and memories.

  • Digital Art: Leveraging the power of technology, digital art offers endless possibilities, from animated memories to interactive pieces that can be shared and cherished by all.

6. Sympathy Gift Baskets

There's a timeless quality to gift baskets. They are a collection of items, each chosen with care, bundled together to convey a message of love and support. Sympathy gift baskets, in particular, are curated with the intent to provide comfort to the grieving heart.

Options to consider:

  • Teas: A warm cup of tea can be therapeutic, offering moments of calm and reflection. Herbal teas, known for their soothing properties, can be especially comforting.

  • Chocolates: While it may seem simple, the familiar taste of chocolate can evoke feelings of warmth and comfort.

  • Self-care Products: Items like scented candles, bath salts, and essential oils can provide moments of relaxation and self-reflection.

7. Soft Blankets or Throws

The tactile comfort of a soft blanket or throw cannot be understated. It's like a warm embrace, a shield against the coldness of loss. Wrapping oneself in a soft blanket can provide a sense of security, a momentary respite from the overwhelming emotions of grief.

Options to consider:

  • Personalized Throws: Blankets embroidered with a special message or the name of the departed can add a personal touch.

  • Weighted Blankets: Known for their therapeutic properties, weighted blankets can offer a sense of security and calm.

8. Books on Grieving

Grief, while deeply personal, is also a universal experience. Many have walked this path and have shared their insights, experiences, and coping mechanisms through the written word. Books on grieving can offer guidance, solace, and a sense of understanding.

Recommended titles:

  • "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion

  • "Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief" by Martha Whitmore Hickman

  • "It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand" by Megan Devine

9. Keepsakes

A keepsake urn serves as a small and symbolic vessel designed to hold a portion of cremated remains of a loved one who has passed away. These urns are often chosen by families and friends who wish to retain a physical connection to their departed loved one, allowing them to keep a portion of the ashes close and create a tangible link to cherished memories. Keepsake urns can provide comfort, solace, and a way to honor the life and legacy of the deceased while offering a personal and meaningful memento.

10. Experiences

Grief, in its many forms, is a journey through a landscape of memories, emotions, and reflections. While tangible gifts offer solace and a connection to the departed, experiences can provide healing, moments of respite, and opportunities for reflection. Experience gifts are not just about the activity itself but the emotions they evoke, the memories they help create, and the therapeutic benefits they offer. In the midst of grief, these experiences can be a balm for the soul, offering moments of peace, relaxation, and even joy.

Options to consider:

  • Spa or Massage Day: The physical toll of grief is often underestimated. The weight of loss can manifest in tension, fatigue, and an overall sense of weariness. A spa or massage day can be a therapeutic escape from this weight.

  • Memory Trip: Travel has always been a means of discovery, reflection, and healing. A memory trip, specifically tailored for the bereaved, is a journey to a place that holds significance for them and the departed. It could be a location they always wanted to visit together, a place filled with shared memories, or even a destination that offers peace and solace.

  • Professional Counseling Session: The emotional landscape of grief is complex and often challenging to navigate alone. Professional counseling offers a safe space for the bereaved to express their feelings, seek guidance, and find coping mechanisms.

11. Flowers

Flowers have been an age-old gesture of sympathy, offering comfort and expressing unspoken emotions during times of loss. Their delicate beauty and transient nature mirror the fragility of life, making them a poignant tribute to the departed. Discover beautiful arrangements here.

  • Roses: Often associated with love and respect, different colors of roses can convey various sentiments. While red roses symbolize love and respect, white roses often denote reverence and innocence.

  • Lilies: Symbolizing the restored innocence of the soul of the departed, lilies, especially white ones, are a common choice for funerals and expressions of sympathy.

  • Carnations: With their long-lasting nature, carnations represent love and remembrance. The different colors, from white (symbolizing pure love) to pink (expressing remembrance), allow for a range of expressions.

  • Orchids: Representing eternal love, orchids, especially the white ones, are often given as an expression of sympathy.

12. Memorial Trees or Plants

While flowers offer immediate comfort, trees and plants serve as lasting tributes, growing and thriving in memory of the departed. They symbolize life, resilience, and the enduring nature of memories.

  • Memorial Trees: Planting a tree in memory of a loved one is a gesture that speaks of hope, growth, and continuity. As the tree grows, it stands as a living testament to the life and memories of the departed.

  • Memorial Plants: Plants like the Peace Lily or the Forget-Me-Not can be nurtured and cared for, offering moments of reflection and connection with the departed. Their growth and blooms serve as gentle reminders of the love and bond shared.

13. Donation in Their Name

In the wake of a loved one's passing, the world can feel a little dimmer, the weight of grief pressing heavily on the heart. While the pain of loss is deeply personal, there's a universal desire to honor and remember the departed in meaningful ways. One such gesture, both profound and impactful, is making a donation in their name. This act not only commemorates the life and legacy of the deceased but also creates ripples of positive change, ensuring their spirit continues to touch lives even in their absence.

We recommend checking if the deceased has an obituary in place where the family may have indicated their Charity preference. If not, Memoria can help with Obituary creation here, in 5 easy steps, where you can also collect donations to a charity or for the family to help cover funeral expenses.

14. Practical Help

In the aftermath of a loved one's passing, the world can seem to stand still for the bereaved. The weight of grief, combined with the myriad responsibilities and tasks that follow a death, can be overwhelming. During such times, gestures of practical help can be invaluable, offering not just assistance but also a sense of support and understanding. These acts, often simple in nature, can significantly alleviate the burdens faced by those in mourning, allowing them to focus on healing and remembrance.

  • Meal Delivery Services: The act of eating, often taken for granted, can become a daunting task during periods of intense grief. The bereaved might find themselves without the energy or inclination to cook, leading to skipped meals and a lack of proper nutrition.

  • Cleaning or Home Maintenance Services: The upkeep of a home, with its myriad chores and responsibilities, can become a significant burden during times of grief. From cleaning to minor repairs, these tasks can pile up, adding to the stress and strain of an already challenging period.