How to Safely Express Your Sympathy During COVID-19

By: VGFS
Sunday, May 24, 2020

When you can’t be physically present with a grieving loved one, you can still offer comfort from afar. 

While restrictions on gatherings remain in place and society encouraged to stay home as much as possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can feel challenging to lend your support during a time of loss. You may need to get a creative in order to express your sympathy to the bereaved, but your efforts and emotional presence will be appreciated.

Get resourceful with your communications.

Sending a sympathy card in the mail is one viable option, and there are many other ways to let the family know you are sorry for their loss and that they are in your thoughts and prayers. Make a heartfelt phone call or set up a time to video conference if you have the technology to do so. Whether you arrange the call with two people or ten, seeing friends and family face-to-face provides a valuable step toward healing. When it comes to social media, follow the lead of the family: if they have posted about their loved one’s passing, only then is it appropriate to comment with your condolences.

Offer sympathies through the funeral home’s website.

Many funeral providers have options available to express online condolences. Vaughn Greene Funeral Services offers a number of tribute and memorialization options you can discuss with one of our directors. Deeply personal tributes like these can help the bereaved gain comfort, much like a virtual hug.

Have a meal delivered.

The days following the loss of a loved one are often stressful and chaotic. Having some prepared foods sent from a local grocery store or meals delivered from a favorite restaurant can provide family members a bit of comfort during their time of sorrow. Due to the pandemic, it is best to purchase food and have it delivered rather than preparing a home cooked meal yourself. Be sure to make arrangements with the family in advance for any delivery option so that proper food safety guidelines can be maintained. Additionally, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has catered options through our repast services.

Visit the grave.

With gathering restrictions in place, you may be unable to participate in the burial service, but you can still go to the cemetery on your own. At a later date, visit the gravesite to pay your respects. This loving gesture can be a source of great comfort for you as well as for the family of the person who has passed on.

Make a donation in their memory.

One of the most meaningful ways to honor someone who has passed on is by making a donation to worthy cause in his or her name. You might opt to make a contribution to COVID-19 response efforts, or, you could take a more personal route and choose an organization related to the decedent’s interests or a charity they supported. Let their loved ones know your intentions and notify them when you follow through.

Plan to follow up.

Write yourself a note or put a reminder in your phone to connect again with those who are grieving once social distancing guidelines are less restrictive or when the pandemic subsides. Your love and support will be just as welcome at that time.

We are all struggling during this health crisis, but those who are mourning the loss of loved ones need extra support. While you may not be able to give comfort through traditional in-person rituals, we hope these suggestions offer some viable alternatives.

If you have questions or are seeking additional resources, please contact our caring professionals. We are always here to help you in any way we can.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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