Most siblings make so many memories together, from the toddler years all the way into adulthood. Do you know someone who has lost a brother? You can probably imagine the pain of such a loss, even if you haven’t lost a brother yourself.
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Jump ahead to these sections:
- Memorial Gift Ideas for a Family Member Who Lost a Brother
- Memorial Gift Ideas for a Friend Who Lost a Brother
- Memorial Gift Ideas for a Colleague Who Lost a Brother
A simple gift can be enough to convey your condolences to someone who’s lost this all-important family member. A memorial gift can send various messages, from “I love you” to “I’m here for you.” Here are some great ideas.
Tip: Someone who's lost a brother might be tasked with sorting through the complex life he left behind. And that can be extremely challenging when they're already overwhelmed by grief. To lend some practical support, consider sharing our post-loss checklist.
Memorial Gift Ideas for a Family Member Who Lost a Brother
Chances are, you know a family member’s brother well. Grief might also affect you, too. You might want to offer an ultra-special gift.
1. Memorial collages
You could give your family member a memorial collage for their personal use or it could be displayed at a funeral service. No matter how it’s used, collages are pretty easy to make.
First, you’ll need to collect printed photos. You can print them through a service like Shutterfly or pick them up at Walmart or CVS. Once you’ve chosen the photos you want, assemble them into a theme. Do you want to focus on a specific time period, such as college? Or do you want to tie it around your family member’s brother’s love of a sport, like ballet or football?
Once you’ve picked a theme, collect your materials. You can pick a poster board in the shape of a heart, a rectangle — anything you want. Assemble your photos and get started!
A scrapbook is a more comprehensive version of a memory collage. There’s no need to limit yourself to photographs. You can use flower petals, ticket stubs, photographs, brochures, postcards — anything. Make sure to arrange your crafts so your scrapbook still closes by the time you’re done pasting everything into it.
When you’re making a scrapbook, it’s worthwhile to invest in high-quality decoupage glue. This thick, transparent glue seals and protects, prevents edges from peeling, and provides a little protection against accidents like water damage.
3. Memorial jewelry
What kind of jewelry does your family member prefer? Maybe she likes simple charm bracelets or elaborate necklaces. No matter what, you can find memorial jewelry (or even cremation jewelry) that fits anyone’s style.
Consider getting a clasp bracelet engraved with her brother’s name, like this one, or a special quote that embodied his personality. Some companies offer angel wing necklaces.
If your loved one has their brother's lock of hair or cremated remains, you can send them in to be turned into a memorial diamond. After a consultation and a few months of waiting for the diamond to grow, you'll have a custom diamond that you can get set on a ring, necklace, or other jewelry.
Some companies, like Eterneva, create lab-grown diamonds and allow you to pick from several cuts and colors for your gemstone.
If you're looking for something more solid and tangible, companies like Parting Stone create beautiful, handheld cremation stones to help someone grieving keep their loved one close by.
5. Take a trip
Was your family member’s brother an avid adventurer? Maybe he liked to backpack near the Grand Canyon, or maybe you have access to his travel bucket list and want to pick a place. Or maybe he didn’t like to travel far at all — maybe his favorite place in the world was his local coffee shop. Wherever his special place was, it holds a lot of meaning.
At first, it might seem natural for your family member to avoid their brother’s favorite place. It might be painful at first, but after a little time has passed, visit his favorite place with your family member.
It’ll be considered a gift. Having somewhere that holds so many memories can make your family member feel better.
Memorial Gift Ideas for a Friend Who Lost a Brother
You may not know a friend’s brother as well as you may know a family member’s brother. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a great memorial gift.
6. Home videos
Can you get access to your friend’s home videos? Lots of people take videos of small, funny moments. Compile them into a full-length movie for a touching trip down memory lane. Sort through the videos you have and piece them together if you have the time and skills.
You might consider piecing your home videos based on age, from toddlerhood to high school graduation and beyond.
7. Mourning jewelry
Mourning jewelry was a popular option in Victorian times. Well-known options include hair and cremation jewelry — usually in the form of brooches or lockets.
Some lockets are specifically designed to hold locks of hair. Others, like this one, are made to hold tiny amounts of ashes, which is a great way for your friend to hold her brother close.
8. Make a donation
You may consider making a memorial donation. If it’s a cause your friend supported, it’s a great way to ensure their brother’s legacy lives on.
You might donate to support women’s shelters, refugees, or some other social cause. Other popular options include donating to hospitals and research centers. Did your friend’s brother die from a terminal disease? If so, this option helps give others a chance.
Tip: If your friend or their family has set up an online memorial page, they may have donations set up. If so, it's a good idea to make a donation through that page. If they haven't yet set up an online memorial, you may be able to help them do so. You could direct them to Cake's online memorial pages, which are simple and free.
You might not have the money to spend on a donation. That’s okay! You can still support an important cause. Instead of giving money, you can always offer your time. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen, transport cancer patients to and from appointments, or anything else.
It would be great if you and your friend could volunteer together. What a perfect bonding experience and a way to honor your friend’s brother at the same time!
10. Photo wreaths
Wreaths are a great decoration and a photo wreath can be a perfect gift for a grieving friend. It can be hung on a wall anywhere in the house, just like a painting.
It’s best if all the photos look similar. You could have all of them be printed in the same size. Or you could filter them all to look black and white. No matter what you choose, these similarities will help tie the wreath together. You could consider using a wreath made from fake greens or flowers, like this faux boxwood wreath, as a structure for you to put the photos on.
Memorial Gift Ideas for a Colleague Who Lost a Brother
Coming up with the perfect coworker’s sympathy gift can be hard. You might not know your colleague very well.
Therefore, you don’t want to give him or her a gift that’s inappropriate because you’re near-strangers. Here are some ideas if you need a professional gift.
Do you know for sure your coworker loves decorating their home? A figurine could be the perfect gift.
Avoid anything too personal, though. A subtle, lovely gift is enough to communicate your sympathy. A guardian angel figurine might be perfect if your colleague is religious, for example.
12. Inspirational quotes
Custom websites, like Etsy or Redbubble, offer cool pieces that showcase quotes. Try to find a quote that might be meaningful to your coworker.
The best quotes strike a balance between offering hope and acknowledging your coworker’s pain. A personalized plaque or a wall ornament might be perfect.
13. Themed candles
What do you know about your colleague’s brother? Maybe you know he was an avid hiker or loved spending time at Disney World.
A scented candle adds beauty and peace to your home. Take the time to put extra thought into your purchase. A woodland candle would be appropriate if he was a hiker, for instance. You could also make a custom commemorative candle on Amazon.
Books might be a great option — countless books have been written about grief. However, if you and your colleague aren’t close, you might want to avoid purchasing a book. Many grief books bring up specific belief systems, and you don’t want to risk offending your coworker.
You don’t have to go the heavy nonfiction route. Pick a light read that he or she might enjoy instead.
15. Gift cards
This option strikes the perfect balance between caring and too personal. Almost everyone loves going out to eat, and that’s especially true when someone has died.
Your coworker might barely have the energy to come to work, much less go home and cook. Pick out a gift card to a popular restaurant. Tuck it into a sympathy card when you’re offering condolences.
Offering Condolences with a Gift
This is an incredibly difficult time for your friend, family member, or coworker. It’s especially true if their loved one didn’t start end-of-life planning.
They may be trying to deal with the aftermath. During this time, offer your support through gifts, time, and a listening ear.