I need help choosing a gift for a friend for mother's day.
April 27, 2005 4:45 PM   Subscribe

My friend's mother died of breast cancer in November, and this is her first Mother's day without her. Any recommendations on gifts or other things to help her through this tough time?

She was incredibly close to her mother, and I know this Mother's day will be tough for her. I'm looking for ideas on things I can do for her.
posted by forforf to Human Relations (19 answers total)
Spend the day with her. Don't bring it up;let her lead the conversation. Squeeze her hand. Make her smile. Be gentle.
posted by oh posey at 5:14 PM on April 27, 2005

I like your suggestion, posey, and if it was possible it is what I'd do, but unfortunately, I'm not able to spend the day with her this holiday. Hence the increased consternation.
posted by forforf at 5:22 PM on April 27, 2005

I think it would be okay to acknowledge it - maybe with a note (handwritten, not email) that tells her you know it will be a difficult day but you are thinking of her.
posted by SashaPT at 5:28 PM on April 27, 2005

I suggest giving her a card with the simple acknowledgement that the day may be difficult for her, and that you are thinking of her.
posted by Specklet at 5:29 PM on April 27, 2005

Or, uh, what SashaPT said.
posted by Specklet at 5:29 PM on April 27, 2005

If I were her, I would want someone to have my local grocery store deliver a box of tissues and a pint of Ben & Jerry's. She's going to do a lot of crying no matter what.
posted by cali at 6:24 PM on April 27, 2005

I like the suggestions to send her something nice along with a note, maybe flowers or a cookiegram or something. Maybe also make a donation in her mother's name to breast cancer research?
posted by biscotti at 6:28 PM on April 27, 2005

I was going to say something along the lines of biscotti. The mother of a girl I knew survived hospitalization for cancer, and participated in the Avon walk later that year. I made a significant donation, and she seemed to take it as a sign of personal recognition and empathy.

Though she took part in the walk of her own volition, and her mother survived..

otherwise I'm no good with empathic gestures.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 6:35 PM on April 27, 2005

My experience is that being there, even by phone, is a help. Also, consider a two-part memorial, something silly and fun (like a cookiegram) and something lasting (plant a tree in her name, etc). That way, you satisify both the short-term and long-term. When someone in my family died a few years ago, I did that, the goofy part was fingerpainting, the more somber and lasting part was a playground eqipment donation in her name.
posted by ebarker at 6:36 PM on April 27, 2005

Any gift is inappropriate, including flowers this long since the death. Just let her grieve in a way that is appropriate for her. Ask her how she is doing and see what she says. Take cues from her on what she wants: to be left alone, to go out for ice cream, to go for a walk. Maybe she wants help clearing out a massive pile of laundry or a clean house to make her feel like her life is under control. Everyone handles deaths of loved ones differently, and each day they may need something different.

After my mother died, I had a friend say, "It's just so awful, it's just awful", and he kept saying that as emphatically as he could, trying to empathize or something. I think he was trying to grieve for me. All I wanted him to say was, "I'm sorry for your loss. Is there anything I can do for you, even if it's just to chat." Another friend just hugged me and said nothing, and that was great.
posted by about_time at 6:37 PM on April 27, 2005

Everybody else's suggestions for non-gifts are great and perhaps better than what my answer was going to be- if you want to buy her something, there are SO many products now that come in pink and include a donation to breast cancer research. The first example that comes to mind is the pink KitchenAid mixer but (obviously) there are other things way cheaper.
posted by elisabeth r at 6:41 PM on April 27, 2005

Whew! This reminds me of when my mother died from breast cancer 3 years ago and yeah, that first Mother's Day was really difficult. Because my friends were spending time with their families I really was by myself. What I did like was when my best friend called me and asked me how I was doing and she let me cry on her shoulder over the phone. It made me feel better afterwards. So my advice is to call her and let her know you will be there to listen to her. Let her know that everything will be ok and the hurting does subside. I still get a little depressed on Mother's Day but I have friends to help me.
posted by govtdrone at 6:51 PM on April 27, 2005

Most important is to call. I never know what to say, but "I am thinking about you and I love you- how are you going to spend your day?" always seems to be the right thing.
posted by puddinghead at 7:43 PM on April 27, 2005

I kind of agree with about_time. I am sure she wouldn't be offended, but when I'm really down, receiving a gift is just one more thing I feel bad about not enjoying.

But the best gift you could give her, IMHO, is not walking on egg-shells around her. Ask her if there is anything she wants to do on that day. If you knew her mom, share a memory of her. If you only have time to call, that's really not such a bad gift in itself.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:46 PM on April 27, 2005

If you can, go out with her the night before, and do something easy-going that you will both enjoy. Sitting in a coffee shop chatting for awhile might be nice. Let her talk about her mom if she wants. Then, the next day, she will still have the remnants of the good feeling that comes from spending time with a friend.
posted by bendy at 12:20 AM on April 28, 2005

Dear lord. Call me a repressed non-American, or perhaps I'm just a man, but I would be freaked out by the nosy, busy-bodying inteference of most of the suggestions here, well-meant as I know they are.

Be around, be available by all means; politely refrain from mentioning your own arrangements for your mum. But most of the suggestions above are plain creepy.

(Yes, my mother died a few years ago; no, I don't want anyone making a fuss on Mother's day.)

You know your own friend best, and should follow your instincts; however, if it feels right to do nothing, do nothing.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:58 AM on April 28, 2005

As someone who lost his mother when he was 15, I must agree with oh posey's answer. Make arrangements to be there with, and for, your friend, but don't make it about Mother's Day.
posted by terrapin at 6:42 AM on April 28, 2005

Second puddinghead's suggestion.

How old is your friend? Because there are groups nationwide called Motherless Daughters (there is a book of the same name) who get together on Mother's Day (or the day before) to be in the company of other's who understand what they are going through. They tend to be women who lost their mother at a fairly early age (under 25 or 30 I think). There may be similar groups dedicated to women who lost their mothers to breast cancer, regardless of age. The Susan G. Komen foundation might have information on that.

Not sure that your friend would want to participate in any of those this year, as it is still so raw. It might be a next year type of thing.
posted by vignettist at 12:51 PM on April 28, 2005

Make a donation to the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Then give your friend a big hug and tell her about the donation.
posted by echolex at 1:34 PM on April 28, 2005

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