They say time heals. I find myself agreeing with that on some levels. Parts of losing my momma do seem a little better than they were initially.
While I am sure that time itself has had a hand in that, my heart tells me that the kindnesses people have shown have also made a huge impact. I mean, when we feel supported, sometimes we are reminded of our capacity to keep on walking through hard things.
I got to thinking about the ways people have shown their support through my family’s loss and came up with eighteen things that have been monumental.
Because, honestly, loss is hard and sometimes we have no idea what to do for somebody. Before I lost my own mom, I remember trying to put myself in my friends’ shoes when they lost their moms. I tried to support them and be there for them, but never really knew what to do.
Now that I have some insight, I thought I’d share in case you are looking for ways to help someone you know.
- Plastic silverware- believe it or not, was such a gift in the days before the services. We had many family members staying in one house and a friend brought a big container of it and oh my gosh, it was fabulous not to have to mess with having to wash silverware
- Show up- in whatever capacity you can, whether that is in person, phone calls, email, texts. People reaching out has been extremely helpful.
- Take food- the old fashioned thing to do used to be to take meals to the family. I’m not sure that happens a lot anymore, but I can say we were so thankful for the casseroles, cookies, soups, and desserts people brought.
- Send flowers to the services- the services are flat out hard. Even the anticipation of having to GO to my momma’s service was unsettling. However, seeing all the flowers there! Oh my!! And, reading the cards accompanying them was so uplifting. Several of my friends sent flowers and I’ll never forget it.
- Send a card- my parents were just shy of being married fifty five years and I am telling you what, people sent sympathy cards in the mail. My dad would go to the mailbox every day for weeks and it was full of cards. Super comforting.
- Comment- whether on a blog or text or social media, if someone is writing about their loss, showing support through commenting is huge.
- Sending thoughts/prayers- sometimes our friends and loved ones live far away. When friends and family couldn’t make it to the services, hearing them say ”thinking of you” was immensely helpful.
- Stop by- two days after mon passed, friends and family came to the house. Some brought veggie trays, muffins, brownies, fruit, etc. All sat at the kitchen table and visited a while. That meant a lot to all of us.
- Wind chimes- seriously, wind chimes are an amazing gift. My cousins gave dad some and a couple of my friends gave me some. Their songs when the wind blows remind us of the love and care given with them.
- Find cards to send for the first holidays after the loss- especially Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. I actually found an amazing seller on Etsy who makes cards for Mother’s Day without your mom. She was soooooo sweet. Those were the hardest cards I have EVER had to buy, but I wanted to send cards to my siblings and dad. She even changed them a bit to fit our situation. When she told me she was going to gift me two cards, I cried for two hours afterwards because I was so touched by her kind gesture. Her shop is http://www.cardandstory.com if you’d like to look.
- Suggest books- when I don’t know how to do something, I read about it. I had zero idea how to do mom loss, so in the first two weeks, I found two books that helped me a lot. They are: “Things I Wish I Knew Before My Mom Died: Coping With Loss Every Day” by Ty Alexander and “Healing After the Loss of Your Mother: A Grief & Comfort Manual” by Elaine Mallon. When someone is ready, books can help a lot.
- Ask what they need- granted, most won’t know what they need. However, when a friend asked me, I told her a meal would be great. She came with grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and cookies.
- Ask something specific about what they might need- before I went through mom loss, I always asked more generally, ’Is there anything you need?’ Now though, I’m going to change that to ’please tell me two things (or three or ten) you need.’ ’Anything’ means having to come up with well, anything. Two things is doable.
- Support the kids- when my friend asked what she could do, I asked if her kids could make my son some cards. He lost his grandma. She brought him the sweetest homemade cards.
- Support the spouses- my husband knew mom for 27 years. His loss was huge, too. When he shared mom’s service information on his social media page, condolences specifically for him poured in. His work sent a plant which also showed their support for him.
- Keep checking in- things get quiet as weeks pass by. The world is busy and it can feel like people forget, so checking in is especially nice. I have a friend that texts me a hug type gif about once a week. A couple other friends text me to see how I’m doing. My cousins check in, too.
- Support the best friend- my mom’s best friend lost my momma, too. It’s important to remember the family AND the best friends.
- Attend the services- we had two services for my momma. A visitation five days after she passed and a life celebration a few weeks later. Total, about 450 people came. I cannot tell you how much it meant to see all those people. Even members of my high school class came. Plus, some people even drove over three hours one way to see us for an hour! That will never be forgotten.
Wow!! That’s quite a list. No wonder we have felt so loved and supported during this.
If you have ideas or suggestions on how you support someone during loss, please feel free to comment.
Thanks for much for reading. Hope you have a wonderful day.