Convey Your Condolences with Cookies

Image by lindsay.dee.bunny on FlickrWhen someone experiences loss, it is often difficult for us to express our condolences.  We don’t want to say the wrong thing, make things worse, or fail to convey our well wishes and desire to help out.  Words often fail us, but there is one thing that does not: thoughtfulness. Being there, and offering your sympathies in whatever form you can, is always treasured by the mourners.

For many of us, food says what we cannot: that we are here, that we wish them comfort, and that we care.  It is not only appropriate to convey your condolences with sympathy cookies, it will be very much appreciated.

When conveying your sympathies, it is best to do so simply.  For instance, a lovely basket filled with homemade treats will send your message effectively.

Some ideas for inclusion:

  • Chocolate chip.
  • Oatmeal raisin.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Sugar.
  • Brownies, blondies, or cookie bars.
  • Muffins.
  • Sweet bread, such as banana, zucchini, or cinnamon raisin.
  • Biscotti.
  • A sampling of coffees or soothing teas.

These items are all “comfort foods.”  They are warm, homey, and soothing; while a cookie certainly cannot take the pain of loss away, it can send the message that you care and that you wish them comfort.

And it may take the edge off the pain for a moment as they remember they are surrounded by people who love them.

Another advantage is that these varieties can be frozen. If the family is inundated with gourmet food gifts, they can simply stow these away until they are ready to eat them.  They can also offer them to guests who arrive to express their sympathies, making it a useful gift as well.

Add a message expressing your sorrow over the loss. Again, simplicity is key.

Some examples:

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
  • You are in our prayers (or “thoughts” if you prefer).
  • We are thinking of you during this difficult time.
  • I am deeply saddened by your loss. I am here with you during this time of grief.

If the bereaved are religious, you can certainly add your prayers and a message such as, “May the comfort of God help you during this difficult time.” If they are not, do not add messages saying that the deceased is looking down on them, in heaven, an angel, etc.  This may be upsetting and against the grain of their own beliefs.

It is never a good idea to compare tragedies: “I know just how you feel; I lost my grandmother last year.”  Even if you have experienced loss, you don’t know just how someone else feels, and they do not want that type of “support.”  Instead, acknowledge their loss. A simple, “I’m so sorry,” is so much more helpful than, “Oh, well, he’s had a good life,” or, “It’s God’s plan.” While that may be so, it is not conducive to healing. Recently bereaved people need to grieve. It is hard for us to stand by and do “nothing,” but this is an important part of the process that cannot be skipped or avoided with platitudes.

If you enjoy baking and wish to express your condolences through cookies, consider making extra for the funeral or memorial service. Often, families have a gathering after, and planning food on top of everything else can be just too much for the bereaved. Offer to make a selection of cookies or other homemade treats so they can take that worry off their minds.  Again, a simple assortment of classic favorites is always appropriate.

Death is difficult to deal with; it is difficult to talk about; but your words, gifts, and actions after someone has died will be long remembered by those close to him/her.  When you care enough to convey your condolences with cookies, you are offering a gift of comfort and balm to the bereaved. It will not “solve” anything, but that is not what they need. They need to know people care, and this is an incredible way to accomplish that.

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