Expression of sympathy – in lieu of flowers

"memorial stone, memory stone""engraved wind chime, personalized chimes, custom wind chimes""memorial angel, angel memorial, memory angel"One of the first things callers often mention is that they are looking for a meaningful and enduring sympathy gift, in addition to or more often in lieu of flowers. Sometimes they feel the need to have their expression of sympathy delivered to the funeral home, but most often they intend to send their bereavement gift straight to the family’s home, since that is where it will ultimately be used or displayed.

With funeral mores and traditions rapidly changing in the US, sympathy flowers are no longer de rigueur; today a whole host of thoughtful and enduring gift alternatives to flowers exist. While many memory gifts can be personalized, others are perfectly appropriate to send just as they are. Big Hug offers a wide array of comforting sympathy gifts and memorial gifts. Some of our more popular sympathy gifts include our line of Woodstock Amazing Grace wind chimes which can be personalized, our custom engraved garden memorial stones (as well as our “Memories of You” stone manufactured by one of the premier stone artists in the country), and our memorial angels that are appropriate for indoor or outdoor use.

Please know that it’s ok if a few days (or weeks) have passed; the most important thing is to acknowledge the loss with a card or a call as soon as you can. In fact, many people say that it’s the weeks and months that follow a loss that are the most difficult.

And remember, a hug is the perfect gift…one size fits all.

Personalized Wind Chimes – Amazing Grace

Personalized Wind Chimes. Many people contact us in their search for personalized wind chimes. Our line of Woodstock Amazing Grace chimes is used for all occasions, but they are regarded as an especially meaningful and enduring sympathy gift. We are often asked to create personalized wind chimes that will be used for memorial purposes, a gift alternative to flowers which are beautiful but fleeting. Any phrase can be combined with any symbol to create a meaningful memorial gift…one that truly “sings.”

The background and history of “Amazing Grace” is a moving one, and one that is readily discussed by poets, theologists, scholars and clergy.

In short, “Amazing Grace” is a universal, spiritual Christian hymn written by English poet and clergyman, John Newton. It brings with it the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of the sins people commit, and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God. It is a song that inspires hope in the wake of tragedy…a “spiritual national anthem.”

Author Gilbert Chase writes that “Amazing Grace” is “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns,” and Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer estimates that it is performed about 10 million times annually.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.


Sympathy Poems – a celebration of life

"sympathy poems"Many people call us looking for a unique, personalized sympathy gift; a gift that will be meaningful and enduring. They are searching for a gift alternative to flowers which are beautiful, but fleeting. Our personalized Woodstock Amazing Grace wind chimes are often used for memorial purposes. Today, we give the option of including beautiful sympathy poems with our chimes. The bereavement poem below, attributed to Mary Frye (circa 1932), was given to a friend of mine when her father passed away, and it brought her great comfort. I love it as well and I think it adds something really special to our chimes. Sympathy poems are suitable to tuck into a sympathy card, to incorporate into a funeral program, to put on a headstone, or to send along with a sympathy gift if you so choose. Here are four of my favorite memorial poems:

In Remembrance
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am a diamond glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft stars that shine on night
Do not stand by my grave and cry
I am not there I did not die

Mary Frye – 1932


Live, Laugh, Love
He has achieved success who has lived well,
laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women,
the respect of intelligent men and the love
of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation
of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it:
Who has left the world better than he found it,
whether an improved poppy,
a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others
and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.

Bessie Anderson Stanley, 1904


Gone from my Sight
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side
spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and
starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of
beauty and strength. I stand watch her at length until
she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the
sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says:
“There, she is gone!”
“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in
mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my
side and she is just as able to bear her load of living
freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just
at the moment when someone at my side says:

“There, she is gone!”

There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:

“Here she comes!”

And, that is dying.

Adapted from the poetry of Henry Van Dyke


The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall
Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
budded and blossomed in God’s free light,
Watered and fed by morning dew,
shedding its sweetness day and night.
As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall,
through which there shone a beam of light.
Onward it crept with added strength,
with never a thought of fear or pride.
It followed the light through the crevice’s length,
and unfolded itself on the other side.
The light, the dew, the broadening view
were found the same as thy were before:
And it lost itself in beauties new,
breathing its fragrance more and more.
Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
and make our courage faint or fail?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive:
the rose still grows beyond the wall.
Scattering fragrance far and wide,
just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will for evermore.

The poetry of A.L. Frink


What is a memorial lamp?

"memory lamp"A few months ago I started getting calls, mostly from the east coast, from people searching for a memorial lamp, or memory lamp, to send as a sympathy gift. I learned that memorial lamps are petite, sweet lamps, designed to cast a warm, soft glow in memory of a loved one. I love the idea of combining this sweetness with light. They are all beautiful, but this praying angel memory lamp is one of my favorites!

Personalized wind chimes – a sympathy gift alternative to flowers

"personalized wind chime""custom wind chime""engraved wind chime"Every day I receive phone calls from friends and family of the bereaved looking for a meaningful and enduring sympathy gift alternative to sympathy flowers. Many choose personalized wind chimes, a gift that is universally appreciated. Recently I spoke with a very kind woman who lost her adult son and wanted to create something very special in his memory, for herself and also to give to his brother and sister. I could tell they were a very close knit and religious family. Without revealing her intentions she asked her two children to provide her with scripture that would be especially meaningful to them, in memory of their brother. She placed their special scripture on these wind sails, and also added symbols that had personal meanings within the family. On the second side, she added her son’s name, and other meaningful symbols. For her chimes she chose Woodstock Amazing Grace chimes, which are often used for memorial purposes. She presented her children with their wind chimes a few weeks ago, on Easter day. I felt honored to have met Dorene and her daughter in person, and to have played a small role in the creation of her chimes — which we all agreed were a beautiful and lasting tribute to her son.