*Sorry I wrote this earlier, but didn't want to just squeeze it in. I felt like it really deserved some attention. So please take an undisturbed moment to read.
It's November... Thanksgiving is around the corner... changing leaves, turkey in the freezer, cranberries waiting to be cooked...
And for those who are grieving, memories around every corner.
For those who have lost a loved one, this is a tough time of year. Last year, I shared my own story of how 2011 rocked our family and how it taught us to love those that are grieving. As I've reflected on another year come and gone, I'm reminded how important it is to love grieving families during the holidays and wanted to write this simple list of ways we can continue to love.
*Know that it's ok not to know what to say-- When we were in the midst of the early pain, it was easiest to hear that others didn't understand, but were willing to sit with us nonetheless.
*Bless them with fruit, orange juice, bottled water-- It's the little things that count. Sometimes it might hard to get a full meal down, but juice and fruit will do the trick. And bottled water is nice to have around with all the family in your home.
*Snacks-- Again, a little thing that goes a long way. Especially if there are kids around.
*Letters-- Some of the most treasured items are letters. Take the time to write a letter saying how much you valued the lost family member or how your heart goes out to those that are grieving. Never underestimate the value of the written word.
*Gifts of service: babysitting, phone calls, dishes, house cleaning-- Even when we're grieving, life goes on. Offer your assistance if you can: watch the kids while they go to the funeral home, call family members, clean the house for company, do dishes or laundry while they take a nap.
*Gifts of money for the kids-- I can't even imagine being a mother with small children and loosing my husband. Not only have you lost your best friend, but now you're reeling with financial difficulty. Set aside some money for the kids in an account or bond, just enough to reassure mom that you'll be there.
*Paying utilities-- Same goes with everyday bills. Anonymously pay a bill, just until the family can get back on their feet.
*Presence at the funeral-- One of the dearest things you can do is show up. Even if you didn't know the individual, show up for the family.
*Being "on call" for the funeral-- If you didn't know the person that died, offer to be "on call" for the funeral day. Pick up last minute items, transport family, bring an extra box of tissue, pick up someone from the airport... just be available to serve.
*Being with the kids as needed-- I mentioned babysitting earlier, but one of the best ideas I've heard came from in-laws offering to watch the kids during the viewing the night before. While the family was grieving, the in-laws took the grandkids (and all their cousins) and had a sleep over: snacks, movies, and dinner.
Whatever you do, do it with love and know that we all grieve in our own way and time. Tears will often switch to laughter and back to tears again in the blink of an eye. And when in doubt, just remember to show up. You are truly making a difference in people's lives.
*Linked to these Parties