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Sympathy Meals 101

Published: March 14, 2019

Those who have faced a highly stressful time in their lives, such as major surgery, the birth of a baby, or a transition to a new home, know just how helpful and comforting it is to have someone else take care of the cooking. These meals, often referred to as sympathy meals, are also commonly associated with funerals. When someone you know experiences the death of a close loved one, providing home-cooked food is a great way to support them in their time of need. This small action can be a heartwarming blessing to those who are grieving. Here are a few things to consider before you start cooking.


Let someone in the family know you will be bringing a meal and offer them a couple of dates to choose between. Because food allergies are common, send a little menu that includes a few different options so they can choose what they would prefer.


Additional relatives or visitors might be present for the meal, so be sure to provide extra. If you are making a meal that is to be eaten at the time of delivery, you could double the recipe and make the second one freezer-friendly. This is a great way to provide more support later on when life might still feel a bit overwhelming for the family.


You might want to consider how you personally would serve the dish and what else might be needed. Adding salad, dinner rolls, dessert, or even a beverage ensures that the family meal is completely taken care of. Use a disposable dish with baking instructions written on it. Throw in paper products, too, because the last thing they will feel like doing is washing dishes. Many people like to include a couple of inexpensive toys for children or a few basic grocery items such as fruit and eggs. These are added extras that might make life just a little bit easier for those dealing with a recent loss.


Most likely, the best way to drop off your meal is to let them know when you plan to leave it at the door. However, depending on the person, you should also be prepared to stay and chat if they are wanting to spend time with a friend.

Not a cook? Can’t squeeze in the time? Want to be different?

While a home-cooked meal might be most people’s first thought, there are other ways to provide a bit of cooking relief to those who are going through a difficult time. Including a gift card to a local restaurant that delivers or offers carryout is a great option, particularly if you suspect the family might already be receiving several casseroles in the next few days. There are also many online meal services that can be ordered and have delivered to the family.

Writing an Obituary

Published: March 5, 2019


A common assumption is that an obituary is merely a death notice. While that might be the case for newspaper submissions, funeral homes generally include full obituaries on their websites and on memorial folders for no additional cost. Therefore, writing an obituary is also a precious chance to express a loved one’s legacy and share parts of their life story from the very beginning to the very end. If you are looking to create a well-written, meaningful obituary, here are a few pieces of advice that will help guide you through the process.

Consider Organization

Jumping around with facts and descriptions makes it too hard for the reader to follow. Chronological order is almost always going to be your best option for arranging events and accomplishments. You might also want to follow up the timeline approach with a paragraph that emphasizes the nature of this person’s character and what they will be remembered for.

Use Personal Details and Examples

Individuality can be achieved in an obituary by offering specific details rather than a generic overview. Don’t simply list where your loved one lived and worked over the course of their life. Consider what made this person unique. Give an example or offer a quick anecdote to help illustrate descriptions.

Know That It’s OK to Be Funny

Or reserved. Or sarcastic. Or boastful. Or whatever you feel would be fitting for your loved one. The tone and style of the obituary should match the personality of its leading subject.

Have Someone Else Proofread It

Reading and rereading your work is great, but you will also want someone else’s input. You might even want two people to help you out, such as someone else who was close to the one who passed and someone who is more removed from the situation. Besides catching things like minor punctuation and spelling errors, ask them for their overall impressions, too. The funeral provider you are working with can also help ensure the obituary is as good as it can be before you submit it for publication.

Keep Perspective

Writing an obituary is no simple feat. Feeling like you’ve done your best to pay tribute to a loved one is the main goal. Overall, if you are given the important opportunity of writing an obituary for someone you knew and loved, try to remember the essential focus: an obituary is actually about life.

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