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One Way to Support a Loved One through a Traumatic Loss



Have you been there before?

Have you gotten the call that someone you care for lost a loved one suddenly?

Did you feel helpless or unsure what to do next to support them in the coming hours, days, weeks?

It can be hard, knowing what the right thing to say or do is. You may feel like you say all the wrong things. Or you may feel like you aren’t doing enough. It’s such a tough place to be, friend. But know that what you are doing, big or small, all matters to those who have suffered the loss. They may not be able to communicate it to you directly, but everything from prayers to putting meals in the freezer are all things that are appreciated.

One thing I happened to stumble upon as a way to help, came from a strong urge after the death of a friend’s son. I saw it as a need that could be filled and possibly be a help to the family. 

This can be done by one individual, or several individuals can pitch in and donate the various items. After asking some friends who had also suffered the sudden loss of a loved one, I came up with a rough list of items that would go into this care package.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect. And it can be modified however you think is best.


many of the following items can be purchased from stores like Tuesday Morning, Marshall’s, the Dollar Store, or even your local grocery store

  • tote bag or reusable grocery bag – $4-10
  • blanket – $5-10
  • packages of tissue – $1
  • small notebook – $2
  • pens – $1
  • a few bottles of water – $1
  • snacks – $1-3
  • calming essential oils 
  • small toy if the bereaving has children who may accompany them on appointments with the church, funeral home, cemetery, etc.
  • handwritten card from everyone who helped with the bag
  • put all items inside the tote bag


There’s no right or wrong way to deliver the bag, but expecting the bereaving to meet with you so that you can deliver it may come across as strong. Sending a simple text that you’re dropping something off at their door so they don’t feel obligated to answer the door is one good way to leave the bag. 


Do you have any additional items you’d add to this list? Please share with us in the comments. We’d love to hear of other ways.



By Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to eight kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-12/19. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools and is currently transitioning out of homeschooling. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.

2 replies on “One Way to Support a Loved One through a Traumatic Loss”

I never know how to act in those cases! This idea seems so lovely and I’m sure it makes the person who receives it feel supported. I’ll add what Maurisa above said and perhaps a Rosary to remind them to go to Mary in that difficult season.

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