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  • Jess Brown

Gifts for Grievers (Sorry Florists)

Different sort of disclaimer today, this post is meant to inspire thoughtful gift giving not bash floral professionals. Flowers are beautiful and thoughtful, and my husband does not purchase them for me because if he started doing it at 10 years it would signify he is compensating for something nefarious (whole other post LOL). With that being said,

  1. Almost 2 years later I remember my first two bouquets after Zach’s passing (Sterling, CO represent i.e. Meghan Jackson & Katy Jo Nolan)

  2. Discovering my nearest florist has a 24 kiosk with complimentary cards super handy (brilliant – Designs by Tammy)

  3. These are my personal opinions that no one asked for

My gripe with flowers is…. they die!

 They show up at times when our emotions are huge (deaths, babies, work milestones) they remind us we are loved and seen doing all the things, and we’re proud of you. But then, depending on your ripeness acuity, stem trimming tendencies or watering schedule they all eventually wilt and die. And then are bound for the trash. What symbolism. Like Christmas, flamboyance, light and fun and then bam dark, cold, liminal depression. Plus, I always feel blameworthy. It doesn’t make sense but someone valued me enough to buy these, which are not cheap, and maybe due to unconcern on my part they are now gone. If these are death flowers that confounding guilt now extends to this selfless gift.

So, what is the solution? Send a card? Those aren’t cheap either. Just ignore the BIG MOMENTS of your crew? Definitely not….if you take anything from this….. all the fantastic to abysmal days deserve recognition beyond a text or a social media shout out but take an extra few moments and think of the person you are honoring. Think of them as individuals with adored quirks and palatable opinions. 

Example #1:

My auntie from Ohio (who has begrudgingly lived in Maryland for the last 30 years) I would rather adopt a python than show up to Thanksgiving with crab cakes. #knowyouraudience

Example #2:

My Destin bestie once insulted a Beefeater on guard at the Tower of London. She is a loudmouth that feels seen when she is confronted, so yes after her surgery I would bring her a jersey of that Beefeater’s beloved football team that she insulted. #sayingtottenhamisshitisnotthehotspurscheer

Here are some ideas of gifts for grievers that do not involve expiring flowers:

  1. Willow Tree Figures

  2. Grief Books – unspoken rule with this… don’t ask if they’ve read them yet. Grievers do not want a book report, don’t put more pressure on them. Even if it sits on their desk for a year and they have to circle back, that’s ok.

  3. Jewelry (i.e. Morse code bracelets)

  4. Stuffed Animals made from departed’s clothes (ASK again!!)

  5. Food (Spoonful of Comfort, or just double your dinner recipe and send Tupperware’s of staples for the freezer, taco meat, cookies, whatever)

  6. Self-care tools (tea, bath bomb, journal, candle, headphones)

  7. Succulents (they live in the desert because they are hard to kill)

  8. Something you know they love

  9. Handwritten card – I love this for kids, when they lose a family member people often talk to their adults. Write them a note and acknowledge their grief. Kids love being talked to like a fellow adult.

  10.  Monetary funds (gift cards for necessity or fun)

  11.  Acts of Service – unspoken rule here, ask!! Don’t show up and organize their or weed their garden. Ask, then roll up your sleeves!

  12.  Tiny Buddha calendar (when the days are hard, its little things like an inspirational quote)

  13.  Devotionals

Did you know three weeks after a loss checking in on the grieving fades away? Don’t put a time limit on acknowledging your loved one’s pain! Put a post-it somewhere that you’ll remember. Anniversaries, random Saturdays, etc. will come up when your loved one’s grief is brought to the front of the class again, SHOW UP IN THOSE EVERYDAY MOMENTS.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What was the most thoughtful gift you ever received?

  2. What was the most unexpected?


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