“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” William Penn
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that we do for others that make the biggest difference. This is not about giving an expensive gift, it’s about showing someone you’re thinking of them and that you care.
Give a Living Plant
Give a beautiful living, breathing plant to your grieving friend. Something well suited to their garden or indoor living area. The grieving person can care for it in memory of the deceased, and plant it out later. The plant can serve as a living symbol of their own recovery and the deceased’s life on the other side, as it grows and renews itself. A living plant is sometimes preferred to cut flowers because a few days later cut flowers wilt, and there’s another death, however minor it may be.
Give an empty notebook to a grieving friend, something they can write their feelings in. We recommend A4 size, with pages that are easy to tear out, e.g. with a ring binder. You can personalize the book with a kind note, poem or picture on the inside cover or first page. They can use the book for journaling, it’s such a good way of processing grief.
Recommended for those who enjoy arts and crafts. They can put together old photo’s of their loved one in a scrap book. This can give a family the opportunity to get together and reminisce as they work on the scrap book together. Putting a scrapbook together is fun on your own or as a group effort. To get ideas – type the word ‘scrapbook’ into Google and you’ll find beautiful examples of what other people have done.
Rescue Remedy is a wonderfully practical item to have in times of grief and a thoughtful gift. It can give relief in cases of emotional shock, tearfulness, grief, feelings of desperation, mild anxiety and sleeplessness due to stress. All pharmacies with a natural / homeopathic section stock it. Rescue Remedy is not recommended for recovering alcoholics in the liquid form, as it contains a small element of alcohol as a preservative. In those cases the tablets are preferable.
Have an informal gathering
This can be done at any time, long after the funeral, when people are over the shock and ready to celebrate the life of the deceased, for example, on the deceased’s birthday, the anniversary of their death or the day you decide to scatter their ashes. Gather only those who were closest to the deceased and do something creative in memory of the deceased.
- 1. Meet at a nearby river with a few roses or freshly picked flowers. Let each family member and friend take a turn saying what they miss about the deceased as they throw rose petals or a single flower into the river. Give each person a chance to give thanks for the time they had with the deceased and kindness/love/lessons that the deceased brought to their lives. Watch silently for a moment as the petals float away, symbolic of the loved one’s transition from your world.
- 2. Meet with close friends and plant a tree, a rose bush, any beautiful life giving plant in memory of the deceased. Choose a plant to suit the place you decide to plant it. Each person can write a note to the deceased or draw a picture and tie these to the branches with different coloured ribbons. This can be done with permission in a local park or public open space, or at a family member or friends house who has a garden. Local parks people are normally happy to welcome a new sapling into the park. If it’s planted in a public open space, any member of the group can visit the plant at any time in the future, sprinkling a few seeds at the base, fertilizing it or taking a bucket of water to the plant in the dry season.
- 3. This one is less popular these days with our increased awareness of the damage that single use plastics are doing to the planet. Latex balloons are thought to biodegrade faster than foil, but we’re not sure they bio-degrade fast enough to be considered eco-friendly at all. The idea is perhaps now outdated, but it involved each person to tying a note to their balloon with a string. Releasing the balloons into the sky together, giving thanks for the time you all shared with the deceased.