Any friend or family member going through something as difficult and as life-changing as losing a loved one will want to be comforted by way of your presence or hug. However, being there physically is not always possible, especially when your friend or relative lives far away. How do you make them feel your sympathy and love at such a trying time?
Sympathy gifts, other than flowers or simple cards, have become an acceptable way to offer condolences. One sympathy gift that almost mimics the comfort of a warm hug is a sympathy shawl. Soft, soothing, and enveloping, this sympathy shawl allows you to express your love and concern in very present, very concrete ways.
What Are Sympathy Shawls?
A sympathy shawl is a shawl or wrap that aims to imitate a gentle hug, making it a great remembrance gift for anyone going through a deep and irreversible loss. This shawl is also often known as a comfort shawl or a prayer shawl. Although a sympathy shawl may be primarily designed for those dealing with bereavement, they can also serve as a thoughtful gift for anyone coping with an illness, such as for a friend or a family member undergoing chemotherapy, or dialysis.
The loss of a loved one brings with it the loss of his or her physical presence. A grieving friend or colleague will often find the emotional pain and physical loss equally difficult to bear. Some sympathy gifts, such as a card or remembrance jewelry, aims to honor the lost loved one in emotional and meaningful ways. A sympathy shawl, however, serves to provide some tangible form of comfort.
Similar to a comfort wrap or a weighted blanket, this shawl can mimic the feel of an embrace and may lend soothing comfort to anyone who wears it. Some shawls can also come with a secret compartment or a stitched pocket where you can slip a small note of sympathy to the recipient.
The Health and Coping Benefits of a Hug
The health benefits of a real hug can never be discounted. According to health experts and psychologists, hugs can make anyone feel good either for a moment or for a long time. When received regularly from loved ones and friends, hugs can help you manage stress and anxiety effectively. Hugging has also been shown to minimize feelings of depression and hasten healing in difficult health situations.
A simple hug can remind people that they are not alone in their struggle or grief. People who have lost a spouse, child or parent can feel very isolated, thinking that no one else shares their personal loss. The act of hugging them can make them feel less vulnerable and more open. The connections established through hugging can speak through phrases such as, “I’m here” or “You are not alone in this”.
Health-wise, hugs are known to release feel-good hormones, especially oxytocin. This hormone can lower blood pressure and increase overall feelings of contentment and happiness. This explains why anyone who ends up being hugged after a bad day feels almost always better instantly.
Comfort Shawls and the Gift of an Enveloping Hug
Since it’s not every day that we can hug our grieving friend or family member, gifting them with sympathy shawls can easily be a more practical yet meaningful alternative. Comforting without being intrusive, these shawls can be shipped directly to the recipient with your personal message. These wraps can also be easily washed, folded, and brought anywhere during travels.
The Comfort Company offers soft and soothing sympathy shawls available in a range of colors. A secret pocket is also stitched to hold a short message of comfort and love. To learn more about our sympathy shawls, view them here.