One of the most basic impulses when someone we care about is grieving is to give them a hug. It\u2019s a very human thing to do \u2014 seeking and giving comfort through touch. But as we fight the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, hugging is no longer recommended outside your own household, and we can\u2019t gather in person for large funerals and memorial services. So how do you express your sympathy when a friend or loved one is grieving? Here are some suggestions for sending your sympathy even while you\u2019re social distancing during COVID-19: Send a card The mail is still running these days, just like it always does, and you can send a sympathy card to someone who\u2019s grieving. You don\u2019t even need to have a card or a stamp on hand \u2014 you can choose a card from Legacy\u2019s online selection of sympathy cards, type in your note and the recipient\u2019s mailing address, and it will be sent to them. Or you can write and send a card from home. If you do send your own card, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before writing it. Pick up the phone or make a video call You may not be able to hug a grieving friend in person and tell them how sorry you are for their loss, but you can still share sympathy voice-to-voice. It\u2019s as simple as making a phone call \u2014 or you can make a video call using Facetime, Skype, or any other video call app that you both have installed on your phones or computers. In the difficult days following a death, it might be a good idea to start by reaching out with a text or email before calling, to make sure the person is ready for a phone call or video call. Sign the Guest Book In 2020, we\u2019re truly discovering the power of virtual connections. As much as we love to see each other in person, we\u2019re finding that our online communities can keep us going through these hard times. One place where you can gather virtually after a death is the Legacy Guest Book. The Guest Book is part of an obituary published online through one of Legacy\u2019s affiliate newspapers and funeral homes. There, you can offer condolences, share favorite memories, upload a photo, and read what others have said. Start here to search for a Guest Book. Forward a photo If you have a favorite photo of the deceased, others who are missing them would probably love to see it. It\u2019s easy to share a photo via email or text, especially if it\u2019s a digital photo. If the photo you want to share is a print, you can take a picture of it with your smart phone or digital camera and share that. The photo will feel even more special if you include a note with your memories of the time it was taken or a favorite story about the deceased. Have a memorial tree planted One way to honor someone\u2019s memory is to plant a tree in their name. You can do this even if you don\u2019t have a place to plant a tree or you\u2019re unable to do the physical work involved. A Legacy Memorial Tree can be planted in someone\u2019s honor by certified arborists in Minnesota\u2019s Superior National Forest. When you choose one, five, or 10 trees to be planted in someone\u2019s honor, you\u2019ll receive a digital certificate via email. You can let the family of the deceased know about the planting by printing the certificate and mailing it to them, or you can forward them the digital certificate. Send a customized memorial gift There are many options to choose from to send a gift of remembrance to someone who\u2019s grieving, customized to reflect the loved one they lost. You might consider a memorial windchime, candle, plaque, blanket, or charm bracelet \u2014 they\u2019re all things that can be customized and sent directly to your grieving friend. While many larger businesses are temporarily closed because of stay-at-home orders in various states, small businesses and individual artisans are often still working. Try searching for memorial products at Etsy or Zazzle, where artists and craftspeople can sell their work. You can work with the artist to customize the item you choose, and you can ask to have it sent directly to the home of the bereaved. Send a gift card Gift cards have been a popular memorial gift for a while now, especially for restaurants local to the bereaved. When you\u2019re feeling debilitated by grief, it\u2019s hard to find the time and energy to cook for yourself, and restaurant gift cards make it easy to get a quick meal. During COVID-19, dining rooms are closed in many states, but you can often still get curbside pickup or delivery. A delivered meal could make a big difference for a grieving friend. Before you buy a gift card, it\u2019s a good idea to call the restaurant to make sure they\u2019re open and offering pickup and\/or delivery. If they have an online order form that allows you to send an emailed gift certificate to the recipient, that\u2019s a great way to do it. They may also be able to mail a gift card or certificate directly to the bereaved. Donate in memory of the deceased There are so many organizations that can use a donation you make in a friend or relative\u2019s memory. Their obituary might specify where the family requests memorial donations. If it doesn\u2019t, one important need right now is relief for the many people who have been affected by COVID-19. You can donate in someone\u2019s memory to GoFundMe's COVID-19 Relief Fund, and your donation will be managed by GoFundMe and distributed to people affected by the coronavirus and organizations working to fight it. Tend to your own grief While you\u2019re expressing condolences to the immediate family of a friend who has died, don\u2019t forget to take care of yourself. Your own grief is important, and you can\u2019t put off feeling it and expressing it until this is all over and we\u2019re back to normal. There are grief resources that you can make use of without ever leaving your home, and they\u2019ll help you deal with your feelings of grief after a dear person\u2019s death. Legacy offers grief support groups on Facebook, where you can connect with others who have experienced a similar loss. Each group focuses on a specific loss \u2014 loss of a spouse, loss of a friend, loss of a veteran, and more. You can open up about your own loss, or simply read what others have said and what kind of support and advice they\u2019ve received. Click here to see all the available groups. Here are some additional resources that can help you with your grief even when you can\u2019t hug a faraway friend or attend a grief support group in person: The Grief Recovery Method is offering one-on-one online sessions with specialists who can help you through your grief from home. Grief expert David Kessler has created a pop-up Facebook support group for anyone experiencing grief during COVID-19. Better Help offers grief counseling that you can do online or via phone or chat. The National Alliance for Grieving Children has resources designed to help children who are grieving at this unusual time. Your local hospice organization or hospital may be able to provide grief support via phone or internet. If you\u2019re not sure where to start, ask a local funeral director for a reference.