Grief and Sympathy

Sympathy and grief are no longer expressed the same way as it was prior to COVID. As we all know our worlds have been turned upside down. Our normal rituals are no longer the same. We celebrate and we grieve differently than we used to. Who knows the impact this will have on us all down the road. Regardless, we are all doing the best we can and making do.

Typically when someone is hurting we can offer a hug or a gentle touch. With Covid ravaging our country that is no longer recommended. We can’t have a typical funeral for fear of spreading the virus. It may only be the immediate family and/or done virtually. The focus today will be a guide on ways that we can show grief and sympathy in today’s world. These ideas on how to provide sympathy come from an article in the Houston Chronicle on July 12, 2020.

How to Show Sympathy

Sympathy Cards

Sending a card is always a nice way to send your condolences. If you don’t want to go to the store, you can make your own card, or email a card. You can also send a sympathy card via Legacy, or write a message in their guest book.


Just the sound of your voice can make a difference. Knowing that you care will mean a lot. Perhaps you can figure out a time that you can drop off a meal to the family. You can also video call them so they can see you-the next best thing to being there. You could get your whole family on the phone if you’d like. Just the sound of your voice can convey your sympathy.

Send a picture

Do you have a photo of the person who passed? Seeing that picture will be special as the person most likely hasn’t seen it. Write about the memory or where you were in the photo. If you have a photo in your phone, forward it to them.

Plant a memorial tree

This is a lovely way to honor someone as well as take care of the environment. If you don’t want it in your yard, are in an apartment, or don’t have the space for it, why not have one planted in a national forest? You could let the family know what you are doing to honor the person who has passed away.

Memorial gifts

If you look on line there are all kinds of ideas of gifts to remember that person. Some people may choose a religious candle, plaque, wind chime or charm for a bracelet or necklace. You can go to websites like Etsy or Zazzle and have something personalized and made special for the person who is grieving.

Gift cards

This can be to a restaurant. People who are grieving don’t have time to worry or plan meals. Perhaps when the dust has settled a little they may want an evening out (if Covid isn’t raging), pick up a meal, or choose delivery. Make sure the restaurant is open for dining or pickup ahead of time.

Donate to an organization

Often times in an obituary someone will write about where donations can be sent. If not, do you know of any specific causes the person felt passionate about? Perhaps it was animals, religious or other organization that meant something to that person. Or if they died from a certain disease you may consider donating to that organization as a way to express sympathy.

Take care of yourself

You are grieving too. As you are expressing your condolences to loved ones, be sure to honor and sit with your own grief. You may want to consider a grief support group. There are many online. An author I would recommend is David Kessler. He has written several books on the topic, offers seminars, webinars and grief groups. Just Google his name and you will find all sorts of resources.

The Houston Chronicle also recommends a few other resources such as The Grief Recovery Method, which offers online sessions with various grief specialists. Better Help also has grief counseling by phone, chat or online. There is also the National Alliance for Grieving Children, or a local hospice organization.

If you have lost someone you love during these challenging times (or prior to Covid), my heart goes out to you. I wish I could take away your pain. However the only way is to go through it and to feel the feelings that go with it.
If expressing grief or sympathy is something I can help you with, please give me a call at 713-304-6554.

Take care,