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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2008
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    Tahlequah, OK
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    198

    Unhappy Odd Request - Horse-related sympathy gift?

    I live in TX and my best friend is in Bucks County, PA. We met at horse camp (Natalie Johnson's) in 5th grade, and have been close for decades now.

    She just lost her 9 month old baby to AT/RT, a rare type of brain cancer.

    I want to send her some sort of sympathy gift... that is horse-related - maybe containing a stuffed pony, or something.

    I might have to just pull it together myself, but before doing so, I was wondering if any of you COTHers might know of a place that does what I'm thinking of, and can deliver or mail the gift. tia!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2008
    Posts
    1,555

    Default

    Perhaps a donation to a therapeutic riding group in her baby's name?

    I can't imagine the loss.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2008
    Location
    NJ
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    2,197

    Default

    Maybe a donation to an equine rescue. I guess something to give hope during such an incredibly difficult time. I am so sorry for your friend.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2006
    Location
    Horse Country, NC
    Posts
    163

    Default sympathy gift

    I give to Morris Animal Foundation earmarked for equine or Best Friends Animal Sanctuary or the local/state Large Animal Vet School hospital.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2004
    Location
    45 min W of Pittsburgh Pa
    Posts
    3,143

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    Does she own property large enough to plant a tree? Not really specifically horse-y, but many horse folk do also plant a tree or flowering shrub, for remembrance.
    Jessi Pizzurro ~~ Pennyroyal Stables
    Racehorses, OTTBs ~~ 330 383 1281
    Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. -- John Wayne



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2007
    Posts
    4,227

    Thumbs up

    My DH bought me a stone that reads "I will listen for your hoof beats in Heaven" I treasure it! In my case it is on my Guy's grave, but it would be wonderful in a garden or landscape. I also have memory stones with the names of kitties and dogs I have lost scattered through my garden. Every time I see the stones I smile with happy memories. They are gone but not forgotten!

    The stones are available through most horse/pet catalogs.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2008
    Posts
    2,516

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    Oh, how awful!

    I vote for flowers with a small horse ornament or charm, or as you suggested, a little stuffed horse. I'd call some florists and ask them. Perhaps you could send the horse-y item, and they could work it into the arrangement.

    Geez, I am so sorry for your friend.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 1999
    Location
    South Coast Plaza
    Posts
    20,464

    Default

    I would think that any stuffed animal would be in exceptionally poor taste. I would be mortified if I lost a child and someone gave me a stuffed toy. JMHO. Donations are always appropriate and, now more than ever, desperately needed.
    EDDIE WOULD GO



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
    Posts
    9,587

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    Donation to an equine rescue in the baby's memory.

    Like Coreene, I feel a toy might be too painful for your friend to receive right now.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    2,523

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    As a mother, my heart goes out to your friend. I can't begin to imagine her pain.

    Please don't give her a stuffed animal or anything baby- or child-related ---- too painful. As others have suggested, a donation in the baby's name or a tree to plant would be an appropriate gesture. If she has other children, doing something that would benefit them (gift certificate to do something fun) might be a nice gesture.

    A few years ago a friend had a terrible loss. Her childhood best friend sent her a card or note once a week for an entire year. Sometime she sent a silly drawing, or funny card, or just a note with a few words. I later asked the best friend how she did it, and she said she kept a stack of cards/notes addressed/stamped and ready to mail, and every Friday she put one in the mail. The woman who was grieving told me many times how that got her through her grief.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    Packing my bags
    Posts
    32,624

    Default

    I was tempted a few times to send hugs to friends who needed them (not as bad as the OP's friend though)

    The original idea I had picked up on TV some place, a trace of both hands connected with a strip of paper, the length of the arms.

    Personally I would substitute gloves and a scarf...but then again, it needs a lot of explanation...

    I love the idea of the regular cards as well.

    If you do go the route of a tree or shrub (I planted a rose bush last year to honor my sister) try to find a nursery near her place, it helps getting pants hardy to her area that way.

    My thoughts and prayers to the grieving parents!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2008
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    I don't think a stuffed animal is a hurtful remembrance. ?? Often you see teddy bears on a child's grave. Sometimes they are covered with teddy bears and other similar toys. ?? So, OP, if you did send a stuffed pony, don't feel bad.

    People grieve in different ways. There's really no telling what might comfort the mother's heart vs. what will hurt her. I think, though, that a general rule of thumb is -- any effort made out of genuine compassion will probably be appreciated.

    My dad passed away a few weeks ago. My mom received a lot of flowers, and she did appreciate them. I (personally) thought it was sad as the flowers faded away and had to be thrown away. But that didn't seem to bother her. She also received donations to a charity that had been important to my dad. (The charity was specified in his obit -- "In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to...") When the charity received a donation in his name, they sent an acknowledgement to my mom; and those meant a lot to her too. But it wasn't just a random charity that the sender picked out; it was an organization that my dad was active in and cared a lot about.

    Anyway, OP, I'm very sorry for your friend, and kudos to you for trying to do something kind for her.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 12, 2001
    Location
    Hotlanta
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    5,896

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coreene View Post
    I would think that any stuffed animal would be in exceptionally poor taste. I would be mortified if I lost a child and someone gave me a stuffed toy. JMHO. Donations are always appropriate and, now more than ever, desperately needed.
    Agree 110%. The loss of a child is touchy territory. I like the idea of a rosebush or a flowering tree, and/or a donation in the child's name to a rescue or therapeutic riding organization.



  14. #14
    Misty113 Guest

    Default

    Wow-- the letters is a great idea. It's so simple and so thoughtful.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2008
    Location
    UK
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    I'm so sorry for your friends loss - and it's lovely that she has friends like you who feel for her.

    Personally I'd go along the lines of a weekend away together - sometime a month or several into the future - something you can talk about looking forward to when you need to get her back on a positive footing. Often people are very sympathetic for the first month or so but then everyone else's live goes back to 'normal' leaving the bereaved person feeling very alone. Giving something to look forward to after everything else has calmed down might be just the thing - it can always be horse related - a trip to Rolex? A weekend rounding cattle... It isn't necessarily permanent - though you will always have the pictures - or you could make it an annual event to celebrate the life of her baby.

    Here in the UK our biggest equine rescue charity enables you to buy a tree/trees that are planted in and around the rescued horses fields providing shelter for the vulnerable horses that need it and you can go visit any time and sit under your tree and see the horses who benefit. They also have plaques etc commemorating the person, or pet the tree was donated for.

    Is there something equivalent? However, just like if you give a tree to your friend and she moves home, there is a risk the charity will outgrow their premises and you may no longer have access to the tree.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2007
    Location
    PA
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    5,055

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessi P View Post
    Does she own property large enough to plant a tree? Not really specifically horse-y, but many horse folk do also plant a tree or flowering shrub, for remembrance.
    "Horse" Chestnut Trees do well around here. I'm not in Bucks County but if you need some help with finding a nursery or anything let me know - I'd be happy to lend a hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Misty113 View Post
    Wow-- the letters is a great idea. It's so simple and so thoughtful.
    I also think this is a lovely idea - as is the mailed "hug" - who doesn't like to get mail? A funny card or a quick note could be just the pick me up she needs to get through her day.

    As a mother, I couldn't even begin to imagine how devastated I would be to lose a child. I agree with the others who have said to stay away from stuffed animals. I think something like that would just tear my heart out - imagining the lost child clutching it. Morbid, I know but sometimes you can't help where your mind goes and if her baby loved stuffed animals her mind may very well go there.

    If you decide to make a donation, Ryers Home for Aged Equines is a well established place that has been around for around a century. They own their own property and won't be going anywhere. They also let people visit. Maybe you could donate an apple tree - I'm sure the residents would approve.

    Thorncroft is a therapeutic riding program that has been around for a long time as well. They also own their own property and would be happy for donations.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2008
    Location
    Tahlequah, OK
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    198

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    Wow, thank you all for your thoughtful help. It's amazing how my brain is sidelined by shock/sadness/grief... not being able to think creatively here. Such wonderful, wonderful ideas.

    My friend and I are the type to always send each other "playful" sorts of gifts... so, a My Little Pony as a 30th birthday present, Barbie Show Horses for Christmas... not to mention stuffed animals at every turn... it's just what we do... so I guess I just went there out of habit.

    But I have to agree that a stuffed animal at this time might be too tear-inspiring. Perhaps not as in such "poor taste" as it seems to others, since we frequently give them to each other... but I definitely do not want to cause more sadness. So I appreciate your opinions, very much... that hadn't crossed my mind.

    Thank you as well to people who have PMed me... ya'll are so caring. I'm really blown away by the wonderful ideas. I'll have to let you know what I do.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2002
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    Dungeon of the Ivory Tower
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    20,394

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nin View Post
    I think, though, that a general rule of thumb is -- any effort made out of genuine compassion will probably be appreciated.
    This is the absolute truth. What always shines through is the love and caring.
    www.specialhorses.org
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues




  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,176

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    Your caring enough to so something will say it all.

    I don't think a stuffed horse would be inappropriate, especially considering you 2 have always given gifts like that to each other.

    Perhaps send her a sweet, heartfelt card, with letter inserted, if you wish, and a stuffed horse, or flowers, or food. (food is always a good way to go) And then in a couple of months, when the pain isn't so fresh, I'd take her away for a weekend of riding or spa-ing, etc.

    Just being there for her and offering her things to do to move on with life will be a huge help. Everyone that is grieving needs a friend stable enough to see the rest of the world out there, rather than just focusing on the tragedy.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2001
    Location
    Neither here nor there
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    1,204

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    I agree that a stuffed animal might not be the best idea, although it might be different since it is a common gift between the two of you.

    I liked the idea of flowers with a keepsake charm attached. Something like this, maybe? http://www.equestrianjewelry.com/Pro...ductid=EQE0061

    A tree, personal letter, or donation to a charity are also nice ideas.

    Someone I knew wrote a card in which they promised to take the person to a nice dinner at some time in the future when the bereaved person was ready.

    I think anything heartfelt will be appreciated.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." --Vincent Van Gogh



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