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Caring for Grieving Friends and Family

December 22, 2022

I used to be an elementary school teacher and ed-tech consultant; now I'm a mom of twins and aspiring children's book author.

This blog is a place for me to write about personal life experiences, gleanings from books I've recently read, past and current DIY projects, and reflective thoughts that need a home outside my heart. Here at HeartEyes, I am opening my heart and eyes to yet another new chapter of my life, and my hope is that by joining me here, your heart and eyes would be opened to a more thoughtful and intentional life.

Hi, i'm tiff!

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I went to eleven weddings in 2014. ELEVEN!! I legit had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of all the weddings and gift purchases because I kept forgetting which couples we had already purchased gifts for. There was even one weekend where my husband and I were supposed to be in Georgia on a Saturday and Texas the next day for two back-to-back weddings. We almost didn’t make it to Texas because of a flight delay!

I remember those days so fondly, being newlyweds, pre-kids, having all the freedom in the world. That season of life was the one where all our friends were getting married and it was such a joyous time.

Then there came the season of baby showers, where everyone was having their first kid. Not us, though. We wanted it to be just the two of us for several years before having kids. And good thing, because nobody could have guessed we would end up with twins!

I realized recently, that the current season of life we are in is two-fold: 1) the season of raising young children and all the stress and anxiety that comes with that, and 2) the season where our parents and grandparents are aging and nearing the end of their lives if they haven’t passed already.

Just this year, so many of my friends lost a parent, and my paternal grandmother passed away at 93. (My paternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother are both still alive and in their 90s, and I anticipate a lot of heartache when they inevitably pass.) More recently, one of the twins’ teacher’s mother passed away shortly before Thanksgiving, and I was at a loss as to how to care for her during the upcoming holiday season.

  • How can you tell someone “Happy Thanksgiving” when their mom just died?
  • How can you say “Happy Holidays” when you know it’s not going to be a happy time for someone grieving?
  • How do you wish someone well during a time of sorrow when it is their first time experiencing the holiday season without the one(s) they love?

Whenever I am seeking better understanding of something, or if I need help generating ideas for a particular topic, I turn to my Instagram community and they always have such great ideas. This time was no different, and my dear community had so many thoughts for how to care for family and friends who are grieving:


  • Gift cards
  • Money (Funerals are so expensive.)
  • Heartfelt card with a favorite drink or treat
  • Simple text to let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Invitation to dinner, food subscription, or meal train (The first to go when grieving is eating.)


  • Flowers (no peace lilies if they have cats – toxic)
  • A small succulent or plant
  • Have trees planted in a national forest in loved one’s name. (Arbor Day Foundation)
  • Order tree to plant in yard in memory of loved one. (Fast Growing Trees) Ask first if they have yard space if it will grow to be a large tree.


  • Favorite treats, chocolate, candies
  • Mug with comforting teas, hot chocolate, marshmallows
  • Personal care gift set: travel tissue packs, gum, cozy throw blanket, hair ties, lotion
  • Spa gift set: spa gift card, bath bombs, mani/pedi kit, soft socks, candle


“I have a group of 9 girlfriends that I’ve known for 20+ years and when the mother of two of the women died (they’re sisters), the rest of us got together and ordered a really nice cozy blanket on Etsy that had a little patch that you could embroider. We had “you are loved” put on it. Three other women in the group have had a parent pass away and we have sent them each a blanket. We now call it the death blanket which is morbid but it’s like a nice little warm cozy hug during a sad time.”

“Some of my favorite things I received after my dad passed was a large, super soft and cozy blanket, a tumbler, hot chocolate, and cookies. I now give this gift (plus a few other things) to all my friends who lose a parent.”

With the holidays quickly approaching, and if you are grieving and finding this season difficult, my hope for you is that you are able to find a little bit of peace, rest, and comfort in the coming days. Sending you all my love, and wishing you a new year full of peace and joy.


“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love.
It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot.
All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes,
the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.
Grief is just love with no place to go.

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Pondering thoughts, personal life experiences, things I love, mental health, marriage life, and everything in between.



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Everything from my birth story to postpartum anxiety and depression, from c-section recovery to mom guilt and judgment. Prepare for raw and emotional posts!


Books + Podcasts

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Gleanings from books I've read and podcasts I've been impressed with, with the occasional children's book recommendations!


DIY Projects

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DIY project tutorials from six years of projects in my home! Very much a work in progress, migrating tutorials from my Instagram page to my blog!


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