Some Laughs and More Tears

Grateful for:

  • siblings
  • my dad
  • nieces and nephews
  • my husband and son
  • an Iowa farm
  • a giant meal
  • 2 fuzzy dogs
  • a crumb patrolling cat
  • a giant hike
  • a chit chat next to a tree, under a sky of blue
  • music on a hill
  • tears that streamed several times
  • memories of days gone by
  • my momma’s carrot cake and jello dessert
  • feathers
  • geese calling
  • a sunset that spilled across the horizon like berries that tumble from a too full bowl
  • 2 friends reached out even hundreds of miles away
  • more tears
  • some laughs
  • some stories
  • more tears
  • hugs goodbye
  • gratitude expressed
  • more tears
  • more tears
  • more tears

The first Thanksgiving without my momma was exactly that: without my momma. I missed her like crazy. One big holiday down, in this year of firsts. My birthday and Christmas are left.

To those who offered kind words, thoughts, and hugs, I thank you.

Jessica

sunset Thursday night

Distractions

Sometimes distractions are a good thing. Since losing my momma this spring, the upcoming holidays have been like this flashing, looming billboard, off in the distance, but somewhat visible. It says:

“Hey you, in case you forget, Thanksgiving, your birthday, and Christmas 2022 will be without your momma.”

Perhaps it’s because everyone says all the firsts of the first year after loss are the hardest. I’m not sure who made that up, but so far it’s been spot on. So, for months, I’ve been sad over holidays that haven’t even happened yet. I doubt I’m the only one.

Remember that song- ‘Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go?’ I was thinking about it this morning.

If you’ve lost your grandparents like I have, hearing that song brings memories of childhood trips. I was in my 20’s when my first grandma passed and my 40’s when my second one passed.

My kiddo didn’t get a lot of years with his grandma (my momma) like I did with my grandmas. This will be his first Thanksgiving, birthday, and Christmas without her, too.

Distractions lately have been good. Clubs, bowling, art, new booth. Now here it is, two days before Thanksgiving. It’s a bit surreal, really.

In the beginning, people always said to me, “I can’t imagine” as in what it’s like to lose their mom. Sometimes, my big sister-ness in me wants to protect people from what it feels like because it is flat out heartache.

Other times I feel called to say what it’s like, because sometimes we don’t see the loss coming and sometimes they’re too young and sometimes we are not prepared and sometimes the shock stays around a long time and sometimes there are no manuals for this.

This Saturday, November 26, it will be 8 months since my momma passed away. My how I miss her every single day. The shock that it happened, comes and goes, and I still catch my breath when I realize she’s gone. Crying has lessened a bit, but it still happens a lot of days.

We’re going ‘over the river and through the woods’ on an 8 hour drive to have Thanksgiving with my dad and siblings. It’s going to be really hard to not hear my momma’s whistling and laughter that filled up 3 counties. She so loved the holidays.

If you are in similar shoes this holiday season, my heart goes out to you. Truly.

Distractions are good… until having to face what we don’t want to see. I may cry the entire meal on Thursday. And, that’s ok. She knew I was a heart on my sleeve cry baby and if it were somebody else’s empty seat, she would’ve handed me a Kleenex.

Hugs, if your holidays look or feel different, too.

Jessica

I think these look like angel wings

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS- PHOTO IS BY ME-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Gutters and Art

Gratitude:

  • rethinking things
  • trusting myself
  • taking a leap when what I really want to do is run
  • encourage-rs who have my back
  • sticking things out, even when it’s hard
  • trusting myself some more

I’ve almost quit two things recently. Art and bowling.

Seriously. Twice at the bowling alley, I have said out loud, “I am going to quit!” The first time was a Saturday night when my son, husband, and I were practicing. I could not get anything right!

Gutter. Gutter. Gutter.

So frustrating.

Gutter. Gutter. Gutter.

The second time at bowling was sooooo embarrassing. I’d been practicing with my son’s ball and the finger and thumb holes are smaller. So, I get up there on my first throw of the night, brought my ball back and…

Dropped it.

As in backwards.

I heard someone say, “Oh Jessi” in a sort of ‘what in the world are you doing’ tone, then I turned around to see all these really great bowlers staring at me.

I could’ve crawled into a hole.

I almost walked out.

I mean, come on! I dropped the ball. I’ve gotten LAST place 25 out of 27 games. Everyone there knows I’m new. Hello. I’m sick of being last.

Enter art. I LOVE art. I make some pretty cool and unique things with vintage jewelry, but lately trying to figure out what to do with it after I make it has been wearing me out.

There are so many options and weighing the choices is simply exhausting. On top of of that, I’ve been trying to find my value in a world already jam packed with art.

Eeks.

All of that has got me to thinking about my momma and her art. She was an amazing artist. She never sold any of it, but she blissfully kept on creating it. I’ve been trying to figure out if that is my fate and purpose too, or if my pieces are meant to be with someone else.

Yesterday, I made a choice. I chose. I decided. That ever happen to you? Where simply deciding brings such peace and a joy that springs forth like a bloom?

With my art, I’m going to try something new. A new place, just to see how it goes.

I decided I’m not going to give up on bowling either! In fact, I got a new ball. I’ve been practicing my steps at home and in the yard and I’m going to work with a coach this week.

All those gutters and that dropped ball aside, I am getting better. My scores were in the 50’s, now they’re around 100. In only 9 weeks. Pretty darn good, even with the embarrassing ball drop.

My hunch is that losing my momma this year is at the root of all this indecision. Grief can really seem to pour on the doubt. But, I think my momma would be pulling for me in both bowling and art.

With that in mind, I believe I’ll keep right on going. Perhaps my art will find some homes and maybe I’ll even turn that lowest score of 25 out of 27 games into the highest score in 25 out of 27 games.

Anything is possible.

If you’d like to read my art post it’s called “I’m Going For It” and it’s on https://jeweledagainbyjessica.com.

Thanks for reading!

Jessica

Woo hoo!! 100!!

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS-ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Reflections

My 22 day miracles and gratitude challenge ended yesterday. It was a bit all over the place, emotion wise. Loss does that. It seems to step in, sometimes, on a perfectly sunny day, scooting over on the bench next to us.

For a couple of months, I’ve actually felt kind of bad for ‘subjecting’ readers to my going on and on about how badly I miss my momma. “Who still wants to hear about this?” I thought.

I mean, it’s been 6-7 months, shouldn’t the grief be all tidied up by now? Swept up and let go like dust on the wind?

I’m not trying to rush myself through parent loss by any means. I’m trying to survive it and get through it with baby steps and grace. But, I kept thinking about the sharing it part…

Then, about a week ago, while on social media, I did a grief search. Turns out there are tons of pages about loss and grief with thousands and thousands of followers. It reaffirmed that talking about losing my momma is ok.

Does it help me? Yes.

Could it help someone else? Maybe.

My cousin sent me a poem called, “Don’t Miss Me More Than Once A Day,” by Donna Ashworth. It’s a wonderful poem and I was instantly hooked on her writing.

The author has a FB page and lately she’s been sharing about mother loss. Talk about resonating. It seems like when someone gets it, they get it.

Anyway, what I’m learning is, this loss isn’t just some separate thing I can just shut off and send down the road. This experience is part of who I am now. Has it changed me? Oh my, yes. Have I figured out all the ways yet? No, not really.

I’m still getting through the “I can’t believes”, “I miss…”, and “what in the world happeneds.” It’s like when you drop a photo album with a thousand pictures in it and they all fall out in heaps on the floor. It’s the sifting and putting them back in some sort of order, but there’s no sense to where they go.

Maybe, eventually, I’ll get this all figured out. Maybe I won’t. What I’m realizing now, 7 months into this, is that talking about it or sharing this is appropriate whenever it comes up. People went before me in mom loss and people will come after me, too. We can all learn something from each other, I bet.

Instead of a daily challenge now, I’m just going to write and share adventures. Even if and when those adventures are about my beautiful momma.

Thanks for reading!

Jessica

reflections
reflections
reflections
reflections
reflections

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS

©️ ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY ME- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Seven Months

Somehow I’ve made it seven months without my momma. I have gratitude for my faith, my family, and my friends. And, the miracle is and was my momma.

I wrote a poem today. I don’t write poems often, but it feels right today.

“How I Miss Her So” by Jessica Adam

Seven months ago today

I spent the day with my momma

Twelve whole hours with her

at home.

Time since then

has been like a magician’s hat,

some days disappearing monumentally fast,

some days so still they

wouldn’t budge.

The shock of loss is still intense,

appropriate, I suppose.

I had her for 50 years.

I miss her texts with pictures of her pets,

her asking for pictures of my son,

and her whistle.

She was always whistling.

Can’t believe it’s been seven months

since I held her hand

and kissed her cheek.

My, how I miss her so…

I know I’ve told you a million and one times that parent loss is extremely hard. It shakes the leaves and rattles the roots. The amount of tears that have fallen feel like infinity plus ten, plus a hundred, plus a thousand.

Though not endless.

Yesterday I didn’t cry. Today I am.

I wonder how this will feel seven months from now and seven months after that. The same, I suppose.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea of how quickly she was gone. Or how sick she got so fast. I’m guessing that will never ever ever make sense.

But, my hope is, that by writing this, when I reread it a year or five from now, that I will SEE the strength I had.

Strength is so fleeting in this. Some days it feels nonexistent. Others days, I feel solid enough to listen to other people talk about their losses.

It has truly been a ‘raw, emotional, learning, hard, heartbreaking, sad, love filled, people-have-shown-up-for-me, I can’t believe I’m doing this’ kind of seven months.

If you are going through a loss of your own, as always, my heart goes out to you.

Thanks for being here.

P.S. I just went outside to take these pictures and saw three deer in our freshly cut back field. Miracles.

Jessica

©️ COPYRIGHT 2022 Unmeasured Journeys

** photographs taken by me

Balancing Grief

Last week, I was gliding along pretty well, then, bam. Crying. Not crying, actually, but bawling was more like it. It was Tuesday and I was getting ready to fold laundry. I thought a song playing would be nice. So, I tried to think of one.

A song that my momma loved popped into my head. A minute passed and the tears gushed. They didn’t stop for 45 minutes.

On a Tuesday. In the laundry room.

That night, we had our 2nd bowling league night. My game was off. I couldn’t get my balance. My steps wobbled. My ball hugged the gutters. My score stayed low. My eyes fought tears.

In a bowling alley. With 40 other bowlers.

Grief does that. It interrupts steps. It unbalances the balanced. It shows up in a thought or dream. It cascades down on a quiet afternoon, in the middle of chores. It unleashes emotions that were once settled, into tears that are real and raw.

In August, I wrote a post called ‘A Half a Year Today.’ It was about my momma being gone a half a year already. A couple of days ago, when I re-added up on my fingers, I realized I was a month off! August wasn’t half a year ago, September is…

Time in parent loss is a bit like my wobbly bowling steps: all over the place. No wonder I couldn’t believe it had been 6 months, it had only been 5.

So far, it’s only Tuesday, this week is more light hearted. It’s smoother. Last week there were lotsssss of tears and missing her.

This week there’s still lots of missing her, but way less tears. That alone, feels like a more even distribution on the ‘getting through grief’ invisible scale.

What I’m learning is, bowling is all about balance and grief, for me anyway, has a sense of balance, too.

Missing someone starts to blend right into the every days. Missing someone, plus crocodile tears? That interferes with the rhythm.

Tonight, we bowl. My feet feel more solid already, whew!

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Jessica

my bowling locker is my favorite number 22
my bowling balls my dad gave me

Half a Year Ago Today

Six months ago today my momma made her heavenly trek. Six months? Where the heck did half a year go?

Sometimes it feels like half a second and sometimes it seems like an eternity since I’ve seen her. My eyes get all gushy with tears when I think of that.

I have learned a lot about myself and the capacity of others, in the days since.

Others have stepped up and shown up. In the beginning, there were cards, flowers, food, visits, hugs, gifts, and prayers.

As time went on, there were check in’s, texts, “how are you doing’s”, comments on blog posts, and hand holding.

Still, there is hand holding and support.

I don’t have many friends who have lost their moms, so in a way, I’ve had to go first. In the beginning, I leaned hard on the ones who’ve traveled this road before I did.

One friend in particular held me up, before my momma even passed, through the services, and afterwards. She’d been there. She’d lost her momma, too. Miles apart, she gave me the strength to keep on walking.

So, here it is, the anniversary day. I find myself reflecting on some of the hardest days I’ve ever had to go through.

Did I want to or was I prepared to lose my momma? Heck no.

Beginning to end, it was 10 days.

Am I over it? Heck no.

Will I ever be? No clue.

But, here I am, doing it.

I thought I’d share some of my personal insights, in case you’re in parent loss or are supporting someone who is:

  • parent loss feels like it’s own kind of grief
  • when loss is sudden, it can feel very hard to understand
  • for me, understanding all of the medical stuff didn’t happen until a few months later
  • the shock can be huge
  • grief shows up when it wants to
  • sometimes tears will fall in public places
  • the missing can feel like an ache
  • music can kick up memories
  • laughing and stories about them can help fill up the heart space
  • being with family was critical for me in the beginning because they “got it”
  • it’s a hard reality that there will be no more texts, calls, visits
  • suddenly the last gift received becomes sacred, there won’t be anymore
  • hearing about other people’s moms, in the beginning, was sooooooo hard when I suddenly didn’t have one
  • the ‘firsts’ of the first year can be heart-crushing: birthdays, holidays, special day, even anniversaries
  • getting used to not having them here is tough

This grief journey has certainly been a process. Here are some things I’ve learned about myself so far:

  1. I am stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.
  2. This grief has never been just about me and my loss. I have been able to support loved ones through this, too.
  3. I understand now, how to help friends through similar things. I mean, I tried to before, but now I truly get it.
  4. Writing about it is ok. Talking about it is ok. Reaching out to friends about it is ok. Sitting in it is ok. Working through it is ok. It is ok.
  5. I will be ok. That sounds tiny, but in parent loss, it’s enormously huge.

Some of you that have lost your moms have reached out and told me you think of them every day. Same here. I think of my momma daily.

Here on the ‘reminder day’ that she passed, it’s no different. In fact, the blessing in that is, today I’ll probably think of her more. There’s a grace in that, you know?

Thank you for being here and for reading.

Sincerely,

Jessica

sunflowers we planted for my momma
she loved flowers
she loved my nature photos
a special sunflower

©️Copyright 2022 Unmeasured Journeys

The Counting of Blessings

Every morning I take a picture of my son while he sleeps. Sometimes it’s a foot sticking out of the quilt. Sometimes it’s his hand, fingers intertwined, and sometimes it’s his sweet closed eyes and dreaming face.

Why?

Because moments are fleeting.

Sure, we know. We’ve heard that before. But in this season of losing my momma, the rate at which time passes has come front and center.

Years go by in a blink. Pregnancy, toddler, ten year old, teen. I try to embrace these moments of motherhood. I can’t make time stand still, but a photo can. So, each morning, I take a picture so I can remember daily moments years from now.

This grief journey brings light to a lot of things. People have stepped up and into this mess of blurred-between-the-lines-moments that accompany loss.

On one of my posts, Jenna, who blogs at The Painted Apron, commented something that has stuck with me since.

She said, “I handle my grief every day by counting the blessings I do have.”

The part that climbed into my pocket?

every day

Not some days. Not just on Tuesdays. Not just on sunny days. Not just on anniversary days. Not just on holidays. Not just on ‘we miss the person so much’ days.

every day

“handle my grief every day”

For me, this is quite profound. There are a lot of books out there and tons of advice floating around about grief. I’ve been through loss before. I’ve always thought that it was just this thing that takes about a year to get over.

But everybody I know, that’s endured huge loss has said: you don’t, get over it.

Recently, I was so very homesick. I hadn’t seen my dad since my momma’s life celebration, so my son and I went to see him.

One evening, we went to a yard sale. I spotted some books and stepped over to take a look. Several caught my eye, including this one:

book I got while visiting my dad

Immediately, Jenna’s words came to mind: “counting the blessings I do have.”

There were two identical books. I bought them both. Inside, there are daily spaces to fill in and also, longer writing prompts.

the inside of a gratitude book I bought
writing prompt in the book I bought
another writing prompt in the book I got

I’ve been a ‘counter of blessings’ person for many years, the concept of this isn’t new. I’ve also written ‘thankful lists’ randomly here and there. They, like the pictures of my son, seem to capture a moment in time.

Time in loss is a bit tricky. The more time goes by, they say, the more healing. But the more time that goes by, the longer it’s been since I’ve seen my momma.

Also, in the months just past loss, the days whiz by. If I’m not noticing the miracles that lie in them, how will I remember them?

I think I will fill these books up. Maybe it’ll be with my family’s laughs and smiles, my dad’s hugs, or my momma’s memories.

Thank you, Jenna, for the reminder that being grateful in all of this is still ok.

Thank you for reading.

Jessica

©️Copyright 2022 Unmeasured Journeys

Tears at the Table

I was told that grief can happen suddenly in random public places. It’s true.

For example, the first month after my momma passed, I was in the chiropractor’s office and saw a woman about my momma’s age at the counter. Suddenly, in that brief second, I realized that my beloved momma would never be at a counter again. I silently cried.

Seems like that happens, you know? The reminders can appear out of the blue on some random day, at some random place.

Like, yesterday. We took a road trip and ended up at a new-to-us restaurant. There was a 20 minute wait, so we sat by the door.

Pretty soon, a group of women started heading out the door. A few went out, while one would hold the door for more coming. They looked to be about my momma’s age.

I could not contain the waterworks. Cheeks wet. In a restaurant. On a Saturday.

What’s the big deal? Well, you see, my momma was a part of a group similar to that. She and her besties from high school stayed friends through the years. They traveled together, ate together, and hung out together.

Seeing the group of women was like the scene from the chiropractor’s office. A sudden realization that she’s not here and won’t be out to eat with her besties again.

A few minutes after they left, my cheeks dried.

We were seated, placed our order, and I glanced around the room. Nearby was a couple, about my parent’s age. She had beautiful clothes, short gray hair, and when she smiled at me, there went my tears, at the table.

I tried to contain them, I mean, who wants to see a woman crying at a restaurant? I gently wiped my face, thought of something else, and turned my attention to the baseball game on the tv.

The reality that hit? My parents won’t be eating at a restaurant again. That my momma, with her short gray hair and fancy clothes she loved, won’t be offering her smile to a family sitting nearby or to me, again.

I can tell you this, I had zero intentions of walking into a place to eat and crying. It was not on my agenda and I never would’ve guessed it.

It happened anyway.

The couple left and we are about done eating, when a young gal sat down at a nearby table. She was alone and was writing. It brought to mind a movie I’d seen where a music writer sat in a diner, writing.

She had a kindness to her. She complimented my son’s shoes and shirt. She smiled my way, often. It reminded me of that saying, ’you may be entertaining angels unaware.’

My husband and son went outside while I waited for the check. After a moment of silence, she spoke to me.

“You have a beautiful smile. It lights up the whole room.”

Huh? What? ME??? Me, who had been trying to hold back tears for an hour?

I thanked her. Like, poured on the thanks. Then, I continued to wait for the check.

I paid, got up to leave, and found myself pausing at her table. I told her that I’d lost my momma recently and that I’d had tears while there. Clearly, I was surprised she noticed my smile.

I was met with complete grace and understanding. If compassion could be bottled, the run over would’ve been making a puddle on her table.

It’s not that she knew what I was enduring there, but it was that she understood it. She mentioned a significant loss herself a few years ago. She told me I have a beautiful family.

I didn’t even see it until just now. Here I was, noticing women my momma’s age, because I lost my momma. And, maybe she was noticing me and my family, because she lost her husband…

Oh my goodness, the tears today, I think I’ll just let them run.

If you have gone through any sort of loss, my heart goes out to you.

Jessica

a spring we took my momma to in 2018
blooms on our crepe myrtle
my momma loved flowers
a yellow field
my momma loved yellow

©️Copyright 2022 Unmeasured Journeys

Keep on Walking and Growing

About ten years ago, my friend Kristi said something to me that has helped me a billion plus times in all the days since.

She said, ”keep on walking.”

Walking? To where?

A country road? A hiking trail? Around a lake?

Maybe. But, her reference was to life. I don’t know about you, but I seem to have a tendency to get stuck and stay stuck.

  • stuck in habits
  • stuck in routines
  • stuck in grudges
  • stuck in whatever it happens to be

Fine and fair enough, I mean this is life we’re talking about. In all of those instances, I’ve grabbed onto her advice with both hands, and have pulled myself along, eventually gaining on getting un-stuck.

But, what about grief with its raw and real ride? There are numerous potholes, substantial downpours, and giant ruts.

When I was in high school, my friends and I would venture out on a dirt road, west of town. When we had lot of rain, the road became a sloppy mess. Guess who got stuck almost every time? And, guess what we did.

We walked.

Cell phones weren’t even invented then. We stepped into slimy mud, sometimes up to our knees, but we’d didn’t stay sitting in the truck, just waiting. We walked.

Today, I find myself thinking about if it’s even possible to keep on walking through grief.

In past losses, I long-jumped my way over all the hard stuff and right into the missing. Other losses I didn’t even deal with until years later. Forget walking, I ran right around those, straight to the finish line, whew, done.

This time, it’s not the same though. It’s my momma. I’m trying to approach her loss differently. Instead of skimming right over it, I’m sitting in it. Like a potato in a stew.

Why?

I don’t want to face all this in ten or fifteen years, I want to do it now. So, is the ’sitting in it’ of grief comparable to being stuck?

Sadness, missing, emotions, wishing, replaying, longing, thinking about, loving, memories?

I don’t think so. Those things are what make a loss fluid and moving. We don’t stay in say, replaying what happened forever, we might move on to thinking about or sadness or memories. That’s not what I call stuck. To me, that’s growth and healing.

I do think it’s possible to keep on walking through grief and I also think it’s possible to ’keep on walking and growing’ through it, too.

Thanks for reading.

Jessica

keep on walking and growing

©️COPYRIGHT 2022 UNMEASURED JOURNEYS

Sometimes It’s Jewelry

Jewelry is kind of generational thing for me. My grandma was in a ’jewelry of the month’ club. I thought that was cool, so a couple of years ago for Christmas, I signed my momma up for a ’bracelet of the month’ club.

Oh my goodness, did my momma love jewelry. She had stands full of gorgeous necklaces and bracelets and jewelry boxes filled to the brim with beautiful pieces.

If you’ve seen my other blog, you know that jewelry is pretty much my thing. Her love of it was for wearing. Mine is of taking it apart and making something unique with it. Though I do love wearing it, too.

When she was in the hospital in Lincoln, we stopped by a shop on our way there. I purchased four green agate bracelets with a star that were titled, ”Unexpected Miracles” and three rose quartz bracelets representing love.

I split them between my momma, me, my sisters, and my nieces. My momma and I got the miracle ones.

We were comforted by the thought of miracles, in a day filled with crappy possible diagnoses and an up in the air future. She put her “Unexpected Miracles” bracelet on and I did, too.

Things did not go as any of us had hoped and prayed for. And, in the days immediately following her passing, that miracles bracelet was practically glued to my wrist. I wouldn’t take it off.

A few days went by and I started looking online to see if there was such a thing as a bracelet for grief. Luckily, something perfect for me showed up. I want to share it with you today in case you or someone you know has grief hanging out by the garden gate.

When I found the shop, I ordered right away. The one I chose is called The Healing Grief Mala bracelet, and I tell you what, it has been a blessing in ways I can’t quite explain.

The colors are very calming and the stones and wood each have specific meaning. I wore it for a solid month, every single day.

The Healing Grief mala from The Meaningful Mala

I ordered one for my sisters. Another loved one was struggling, so I handed her mine. Then, I ordered another one for me.

The grief has eased up a bit most days, they say the shock lessens some, and I’m finding out that is true. I haven’t been wearing my grief bracelet like I did in the beginning.

On the tough days, though, when tears suddenly roll, I reach for it and put it on. I’ve been wearing it a lot this week.

It’s funny, the different things that bring us comfort in the days of loss. Sometimes it’s flowers or seeing an item they loved. Sometimes it’s a song or a picture. Sometimes it’s a card they sent or a message they left. And, sometimes, it’s jewelry.

Her shop is called The Meaningful Mala and the link is:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMeaningfulMala

(There’s no commission for me- I’m just sharing to share.)

Hope your day is lovely,

Jessica

©️Copyright 2022 Unmeasured Journeys

18 Things to Help Someone During Loss

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.

  1. 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
  2. Show up- in whatever capacity you can, whether that is in person, phone calls, email, texts. People reaching out has been extremely helpful.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Comment- whether on a blog or text or social media, if someone is writing about their loss, showing support through commenting is huge.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Support the best friend- my mom’s best friend lost my momma, too. It’s important to remember the family AND the best friends.
  18. 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.

Jessica

flowers a friend sent for mom’s life celebration