10+ meaningful gifts to give a bereaved parent

March 9, 2017, Michaela Evanow, 0 Comments

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is: what do I give my friend that just lost her baby or older child? I want to let her know I’m thinking about her and her child, but don’t want to be insensitive. So many people want to care for bereaved parents! It’s beautiful. Over time, I’ve curated some gift ideas that may help you choose a gift for a bereaved mama or daddy.

1. If you have a photograph of your child’s friend that she hasn’t seen before, frame it up and give it to her. Even if it’s a little fuzzy, or not quite perfect, it will be such a treat for her to see it. Small, but meaningful gifts like this mean a whole lot.

2. If you are gifted with a skill like painting or embroidery or quilting, perhaps create something in memory of your friend’s child. A number of Etsy shops create personalized gifts like these, including portraits and embroidery. I’ve received some beautiful pieces, including this one pictured below:

3. Laurelbox has some really beautiful gift boxes made especially for grieving women. This is a nice option if you aren’t sure what to give your friend as Laurelbox has taken the time to curate some memorial gifts for you. You can customize your box or choose a prepared one. See my review here on receiving my own Laurelbox. 

In addition, Laurelbox makes a darling Shining Bright Birthday Candle for bereaved parents. I received mine in time for Florence’s 5th birthday. It smells delicious, like warm, soft birthday cake with sprinkles and comes with a sweet card that reads: May the angels sing to you the most joyous chorus of Happy Birthday today. It’s the perfect candle to light on a birthday or anniversary.

4. I love receiving personalized gifts, like this gold necklace from Mint and Birch pictured below. I have another one with her name on it, but Jessica also creates moon phase necklaces, so if you know the date and time of the child’s birthday and passing, or perhaps any other special dates, this makes for a darling gift. You could also do a birth date, or a stock Forever Mama necklace.

5. Another great jewellery option is keepsake jewellery, made with hair, crushed flowers, ashes, or breastmilk. Perhaps you could take care of the details and offer to purchase a piece for your friend made with a memorial item of her choice. I’ve had a locket made from Florence’s ashes and crushed marigolds that I wore at her funeral from North Faun (Canada). A very small amount of ashes or other product is used. Another option is Sacred Legacy Arts (USA) who offers a wide array of designs and styles or Baby Bee Hummingbirds (Australia). Baby Bee Hummingbirds offers DIY kits. I was sent a DIY ring kit from her. This is a great option to give your friend creativity liberty, but if it’s early in the grief journey, I would suggest someone else make it for her, as projects like this can be potentially draining.

6. Find the child’s first initial on a number of items including: mugs, necklaces, ornaments, trinket dishes, or art. Anthropologies makes a wonderful array of monogrammed items.

The Giving Keys also offers custom keys so you can include the child’s name on the key. My husband and I were gifted a key each, his with her first name and mine other with her middle name. I know my husband likes to wear his on special occasions, because it’s not too feminine. This is a great option for men.

7. Find the child’s birthstone on a piece of jewellery or art. I love this design, but there are so many to choose from like this one. I purchased an aquamarine necklace, with a little “F” added to the necklace and earrings to match for her funeral.

In addition, you can order a lovely array of meaningful gemstones from Little Box of Rocks. I stumbled upon this site through Instagram and was really impressed with all the thought behind it.

Halo is a collection for that “…divine someone who could use some words of encouragement and reassurance that angels are always present, offering unconditional love, guidance, and protection.” It includes the gems Celestite, Howlite, Rose Quartz, Clear Quartz

Lotus Mother is a collection for the “…special gem who holds the toughest job on Earth… and does it with a smile.” It includes the gems Desert Rose, Rose Quartz, Moonstone, Clear Quartz.

Warrior is a collection for “…those who exhibit tenacity, persistence, and strength. Send a little secret weapon to that spirited someone who consistently meets life’s obstacles with a sense of poise and grace, and inspires you to do the same.” It includes the gemstones Obsidian Arrowhead, Carnelian, Amethyst, Clear Quartz.

8. Gift the mother with a bouquet or basket of the child’s birth flowers. For example, February could be a an African Violet in a ceramic pot, March could be a few mini Daffodils planted in a vintage basket, and June could be a fragrant bouquet of Roses wrapped up in birthday wrapping paper.

9. If the mother is a reader, there are a few memoirs that I really enjoyed reading. Sometimes all the mother wants is connection with another grieving person, and surprisingly that can be found in the quiet comfort of grief literature. Try:

Comfort: A journey through grief by Ann Hood.

Hannah’s Gift by Maria Housden.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

Rare Bird: A memoir of loss and love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson.

My Foreign Cities by Elizabeth Scarboro. 

You can find a full list of grief and loss books I’ve read and reviewed on Goodreads.

In addition, I have received some lovely children’s books that have so ministered to my heart! I love that I can read them solo or with my son. Some of my favourites include:

Thisbe’s Promise by Laurian Scott (this one is my favourite!)

The Memory Tree by Britta Teckentrup (also a favourite).

Tear Soup: A recipe for healing after loss by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen.

I carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings.

The Angel with the golden glow by Elissa Al-Chokhachy.

10. Write a letter to your friend. Tell her what you remember about her child. Tell her the simple things, like how you marvelled at the time she was in the hospital for 8 weeks with her little one at Christmas time, or how she is your source of strength, or what you’ve learned from her. Tell her what her child taught you. Tell her, in detail, what you remember about her child: the soft curls, the curve of the child’s cheek, the jingle of laughter that you so often heard, the one time you got to hold her child, or, if you didn’t get to meet the child, tell her about the first time you saw a photo of the child. Tell her how your heart broke when you heard about the child’s passing. Be honest, sincere and offer your love with the gift of words. Include a gift certificate for a meal out, or groceries or a bottle of bubbly. Find out when her favourite musician is coming to town and offer to take her. Music heals the heart like nothing else.

Love like this goes a long way.

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