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7 Gift Ideas for the Grieving Soul

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Grieving takes deeply personal emotions and puts them on display for all the world. There are no directions for navigating your world after loss, and while those who have traveled the path before you certainly understand the emptiness looming inside you, everyone’s journey is unique.

It hurts to grieve and it hurts to watch loved ones grieve. While you can’t take their grief away, you can make them feel a bit brighter this holiday season. Keep reading for seven gift ideas for a loved one who is grieving.

1. A journal and a nice pen.

Journaling is a great way to process emotions, remember events or simply escape for awhile. After my mother passed away, I picked up a set of colorful pocket journals and keep one in my purse and several around the house. When I find myself really missing her, I get one out and write her a letter. I tell her what I wish she was there seeing or ask for her advice, and sometimes simply tell her I miss her. Being able to write the thoughts out has been an amazing tool. A journal paired with a nice pen would make a great gift.

2. The gift of meditation.

Full disclosure: until fairly recently, I would have described meditation as complete and total malarkey. Then, I challenged myself to 30 days of meditation. At first, I struggled to quiet my mind for the two-minute (yes, only two minutes) meditations and by the end of the first minute, I found myself wondering if I could speed it up somehow. Surprisingly, by the end of the 30 days, I could (usually) keep my mind quiet. And, you know what? I’m able to draw on those skills when I need them during the day. My app of choice is Headspace  — I’m especially a fan of the bedtime meditations. Are you wanting to help a friend who views meditation as malarkey? Text them a link to this video by Jason Headley.

 3. A book of pep talks.

Sometimes you just need a short thought to start and end your day. I looked for a long time for a book that spoke to me without being time-consuming. (Remember the trouble I had with a two-minute meditation?) What did I find? “G’morning, G’night!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I talk this book up so much, even my counselor went out and bought it. Yes, it’s written by “the guy who wrote Hamilton,” but you don’t need to be a theater lover or “Hamilfan” to fall in love with this book, just a human. Anyone on your list, grieving aside, will benefit from adding this book to their collection!

4. A handwritten letter or note.

Grief is a strange beast. It makes us feel empty and alone, but can also make us recoil at the sound of a text message or phone call. How can you tell someone you love them and are there for them without making them feel like they have to engage if they don’t want to talk? Mail them a card or letter! (Who doesn’t like mail, right?) My favorite cards for friends who are grieving (or my favorite cards in general, really) come from Emily Mc Dowell. This one is one of my favorites. 

5. The gift of talking … to a stranger.

 I’ve written before of my love for counseling, so if you are tired of hearing about it … sorry? Here’s the thing: counseling gives you the opportunity to say the things you can’t say to anyone else. You don’t need to have something “wrong” to benefit from counseling, life will take care of the reason — wouldn’t it be awesome to have someone you’ve already developed a relationship with when that happens? Counseling, specifically online counseling, puts the support you need right at your fingertips. When my mother passed away this summer, as I stood in her room at the hospital mere inches from her body, I felt my world crash down around me. In the numbness of the moment, I reached into my pocket and grabbed my phone. Not fully comprehending what I was typing, I wrote the words, “She’s gone, Tim.” Within three minutes I heard back from him. Though separated by miles, in the worst moment of my life, my counselor was with me. In the months that have followed, counseling has been invaluable to helping me process my grief. Personally, I am a huge fan of BetterHelp, but there are other ones out there, too. Check them out and see what will help your loved one (and yourself) best!

6. A special coffee mug.

 A simple gift, right? Not necessarily. What I like about the message a coffee mug, as opposed to a travel mug, sends is the lack of expectation. A coffee mug says, “Stay where you are and be comfortable.” Whereas a travel mug gives me a panicked, “You’re late! Take your coffee with you, don’t even think about sitting and drinking!” vibe. Recently I discovered the Clay in Motion Handwarmer Mug and I don’t see myself getting through the emotions this holiday season will evoke without it. Mugs are simple, we all have too many of them, but the right one can be special. Admit it, we all have that one special mug we look for every morning to have our coffee from. The handwarmer mug has become my afternoon mug. Why? Because that is when the grief hits me the hardest. It’s when I’m starting to feel tired and when I would usually text my mom. The handwarmer mug gives me an extra feeling of warmth when I need it most.

7. A cozy blanket.

There’s just something about being wrapped up in a blanket when you’re feeling sad. I tried a weighted blanket — I wanted so badly to like it, but it fell short. In my opinion, it lacked the most important quality I look for in a blanket: being able to wrap myself up. There’s an unspoken comfort in wrapping yourself up like a burrito in a nice, warm blanket. Desperate to love my weighted blanket after hearing so many good things, I wrestled with it and eventually was able to wrap myself up in it. I was left sweaty, out of breath and somewhat stressed from simply trying to put this magical blanket around me. It was then that I confirmed what I knew in my heart all along: in my opinion, the best blankets for feeling safe and secure are not weighted blankets, but Sherpa blankets. My favorite, by far, is the Chanasya Shaggy Longfur throw and I’m sure your loved one will be a fan too!

These are my top choices for gifts for a grieving friend or family member this year, but really anyone would love them — maybe even sneak a little gift for yourself! I’d love to hear your gift ideas for loved ones dealing with grief, add them to the comments below.

Unsplash image by Kira Auf Der Heide

Originally published: December 10, 2019
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