The death of a family member can cause tremendous distress in a family. Each person may handle it differently, but there are a few things that you can do for the family after funeral arrangements have been made to help comfort them and ease some of their stress.
10 Ways to Help After the Funeral Arrangements
- Food – After all the funeral, the chances are good that the family won’t feel like cooking, but a hot meal is always welcome. Consider making a large pot of soup, lasagna, a casserole, or stew for the family. Try to prepare and deliver the food in a disposable container so the family doesn’t have to worry about washing dishes after the meal and always be mindful of any food preferences or allergies.
- Cards – Cards are a classic symbol of caring and sympathy that many in modern-day society overlook because of email, texting and Facebook. A lovely, handwritten sympathy card that expresses your sentiments for the family’s loss is always very much appreciated.
- Babysit – If the grieving family has young children, an offer of babysitting for a few hours can be a much appreciated gift. It gives the adults time to recharge and focus on details that might be difficult to cope with when the kids are around.
- Pet Sit – Pets are a much-loved part of many families, but they are often both a comfort and a chore during a time of grieving. You can offer to take the dog for a walk, clean up after the pet, or even take him or her to a pet spa for the day.
- Send Flowers – Most people send flower arrangements for the funeral, but a lovely bouquet a few days or a week after the funeral service can remind the family that people are still thinking of them. Flowers have the ability to add a little brightness even to difficult times.
- Reach Out – Initially, after the death of a loved one, the family is inundated with visitors, but after a week or two many people go back to their daily lives and forget to reach out to the grieving family. Making contact and asking how someone is doing a few weeks or more after the death of a loved one is very much appreciated by those who are still grieving.
- Supply Necessities – The last thing a grieving person wants to do is go shopping. You can put together and deliver a care package of necessities such as soap, bath tissue, paper utensils, toiletries, trash bags, tea, coffee, sugar, milk, bread, postage stamps, and freezer bags…any household items are a help!
- Volunteer for Yard Work – In the aftermath of a loved one’s death, weekly chores are often overlooked. If the grass is getting long, you can volunteer to mow it. You can also offer to water flower beds or pull weeds. Just helping the family stay on top of normal daily tasks is often a huge help.
- Chauffeur – A grieving person, especially an elderly individual, might not feel up to tackling the stress of driving. Offer to chauffeur the family member to the store, doctor appointments, or anywhere else that they might need to go. This not only helps with their stress; it also provides some company so they aren’t alone.
- Continue to Care – Often the greatest thing you can do for a grieving family is continue to show you care long after the funeral. Call, send a note or email, stop by, and just be there for the family to let them know you are thinking about them.
Once they get through the initial business of making funeral arrangements, a grieving family can take weeks or months to return to any semblance of a normal life. Just remind them that you’re there for them. Whether or not they accept the offer of help, they’ll appreciate knowing that you care.