The time after the death of a loved one can be a very confusing time and you may not be sure of what to do or say and it is natural to feel like this.  Customs, cultures and traditions vary and so please consider this a general guide.


Sending flowers is a widely accepted custom.  If you are sending them to the home, you may wish to send a small, potted flowering plant.


If the family asks that donations made in lieu of flowers, you should honor that request.

Phone call

If you are close to the family, a phone call is important. Do keep it brief and offer condolences and support.

Sympathy card

This is the usual way to express sympathy if you are not a close friend or relative.  This is appreciated as many people find it difficult to accept numerous phone calls immediately after the news of the death.

Memorial Gifts or Donations

This is appropriate but remember to supply the family's name so they can be informed.