I have had quite a year full of loss and heartache. Unfortunately, this means I have learned quite a lot about grief. Everyone always wants to bring food, something about comfort and not having to cook. When my dad died I had a couple of names for this food. At first, I called it 'Dead Daddy Food', it was crash and ugly and I only used the term twice, it just didn't set right. Then I moved on to calling it 'Widow Food' but that didn't last either, because it upset my mom. Finally, I have decided to call it 'I'm Sorry Food'. My mom does not enjoy this phrase either, but it truly is the truth about the food people bring.
With that being said, there are all kinds of other things people who are grieving need besides food.
Toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, and even tissues. These things seem very minute, but when you don't want to cook or do the dishes or clean, things that can be thrown away are a life saver.
Here's the thing, laundry happens even when you don't want to do anything. So bringing laundry detergent, dryer sheets, laundry baskets and other common laundry items is a GREAT idea. No one is going to want to go to the store so if you have already supplied what they need it makes this minuscule chore easier to do.
I know this sounds silly, but when it comes time to sort through the loved ones personal belongings, trash bags are good to put them in.
When someone passes you don't want to cook, go anywhere, and you are spending thousands on a funeral. Gift cards are a great sympathy gift because they can go to Walmart when they finally run out of gifts. They can even hit up the closest Taco Bell when they are tired of the honey ham everyone keeps bringing over. Trust me, this one is gold.
Very typical, but they really do let the family know you are there. Especially when you write stories in the cards, it's the worst thing they can receive at the time, but when time has passed they will cherish the cards.
Help with small chores
cutting the grass, doing dishes, even folding some laundry. Nothing major, or even to small honestly. The less the family of a deceased loved one has to do the easier their time of grief can be.
When someone dies, there are a lot of errands that need to be taken care of, arrangments that need to be made. Water bottles, help keep everyone hydrated and they are easy to dispose of, and they won't have to wash any cups they may dirty.
Most of all leave them alone. The family will have enough people calling, texting, sending food/gifts and stopping by their home. And while they appreciate it, they also want everyone to leave them alone and are to polite to say so. They want to be in each others presence and grieve together and know they are not alone.
Despite what you feel or lash out and say, these things ring true. Grieving people appreciate what you will do for them, even if it doesn't make this list. The most important thing to remember is, their life is not completely different, don't expect them to be the same.