Four Meaningful Ways to Help a Grieving Loved One While Social Distancing

Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance | July 8, 2021

When grieving the loss of a loved one, the support of family and friends means more than you’ll ever know. With social distancing being the new normal, this can make receiving that support more difficult.

These four ideas are simple, yet meaningful ways to help a grieving loved one. This way, they can still get the support they need from afar.

1. Be a Virtual Shoulder to Cry On

Even if you can’t meet in person, technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected. Offer to listen to them talk about their grief, loved one, or even just their day. Whether they’re ready to talk about their feelings or just want some company, let them know you’re here for them. For example, you can video chat, talk on the phone, or even text.

Depending on what you and your loved one are comfortable with, you also can have a social distanced meeting while wearing masks. For instance, you can have a social distanced picnic or take a social distanced walk.

2. Send a Letter or Package to Let Them Know You’re Thinking of Them

If your loved one isn’t ready to talk or you just want to show you care, send them something special in the mail. This can be a handwritten letter or a care package.

For the letter, you can tell a story about their loved one to make them smile. Or, share your favorite memory of them if you knew them well. If you didn’t know them well, a short and sweet letter showing your support is just as meaningful.  

For a care package, these are a few ideas of things to include:

  • Self-care items such as face masks, bath bombs, and lotion. 
  • Treats such as their favorite snacks and candy. 
  • Activities such as adult coloring books and puzzles. 

3. Offer to Pick Up Their Groceries

Another way to show your support is to pick up their groceries and drop them off at their house. Doing errands during the COVID-19 pandemic is already stressful, but even more overwhelming while grieving. So, if you’re going shopping, offer to pick out their groceries as well. Or, help them place their order online or through an app for delivery.

In addition to their groceries, you can cook them a meal or treat to make them smile during this difficult time.

4. Help Brainstorm Ways for Grieving While Social Distancing

You also can help them find ways to grieve and memorialize their loved one while social distancing. These can be activities they can do by themselves and/or with others to honor their loved one’s memory. When brainstorming ideas, try to think of activities that match their personality and interests.

For example, a DIY project, such as a scrapbook or quilt, is the perfect grief outlet for some people. But for others, this would be too stressful. Instead, they’d prefer getting a completed memorial gift, such as a memorial bookmark. Then, they can do a more relaxing activity like reading a book and use the bookmark to keep their place.

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