Archives for January 2011
I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know what I should or shouldn’t do when someone close to me lost a loved one. Since I didn’t know what to say, I did not say a thing. I just avoided it all together. I felt awkward and imposing. I was afraid that I might say the wrong thing or somehow make it worse. Once, I really hurt a friend with that response. I am learning as I grow. I wanted to share with you some things that people did for me that I really appreciated. I am sure that different people appreciate different things when they are grieving, but I think that sharing some things that encouraged me would be helpful. I am hoping that you might be able to use this information to help a friend in need to get through the hard times–I know that these things sure meant a lot to me.
These are in no particular order, just a list of amazing acts of kindness we received that we really appreciated.
1. “If there is an elephant in the room, introduce it.” When I saw someone who knew about my loss and they simply said, “Jen, I am so sorry for your loss.” That meant a LOT. You don’t even need to say anything else. If it’s appropriate, a hug added in there can be nice. It says, “I am sorry and I care about you”.
2. I got a slew of cards. Some were simple and some had loving notes. I even got a card from a friend of a friend, someone I had never met. I read each card and I cried, in a good way, feeling thankful for all the sentiments.
3. Phone calls are nice. Sometimes I would answer it and sometimes I wouldn’t. Just a simple call to say, “Hey, I am thinking about you. How are you doing?” A simple message, “Jen, you don’t have to call back, but I just wanted to say, ‘I love you’ and see how you are doing.”
4. An email or text message. It can say something simple like “I love you and I am praying for you.”
5. Food for the family. The last thing I wanted to do in the early days was to cook for my family. They had to eat and I just couldn’t do it. I remember at one point just wandering around the grocery store, knowing we needed milk and just a few basic things, but I left empty handed. A few friends brought us meals and it was really nice. A few other friends brought dinner and stayed with us to eat. We laughed and cried and they listened. It’s nice to have friends.
6. We received an edible arrangement around the time of the memorial service, it was especially nice because we had a bunch of people in from out of town and it was nice to have something to offer them. Of course, I ate it too, yummy! http://www.ediblearrangements.com/
8. We received flowers, which were like a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day.
9. I wasn’t eating much and a girl friend of mine who had recently lost her husband brought me a nectarine and some almonds. It was a perfect lunch.
10. Another friend made me a basket of things that comfort her on hard days. It was full of tea, coffee, cozy socks, chocolate, bubble bath, and some great verses she had written out. It was a big basket of love. The funny thing is she may have needed one too because I know my dad meant a lot to her.
11. My Bible Study friends made all the desserts for the memorial service. They did it with love and excellence! We were all thankful.
12. My Bible Study also knew my dad loved apples, so they planted an apple tree in my back yard in memory of him.
Is there anything anyone has done for you in a time of loss for which you were especially thankful?
Attitude is so important. We know that, right? Yet, having the right attitude in the wrong circumstance can be quite challenging. It sneaks up on you. It sneaks up on me.
Attitude is a word we “discuss” a lot in our home….because we have a 13 year old. We see her struggling to have a positive outlook on her circumstances which from our perspective are amazing. She lives in a warm, comfortable home, has a loving family surrounding her, has a plentiful supply of food, and a closet full of clothes.
Of course, we know hormones can make a day at the amusement park seem like the most depressing event ever. But, I wonder what God thinks when he looks at our attitudes? He can really see the BIG picture….those suffering immensely to those drowning in their own wealth. He sees us, and more than that he knows our innermost thoughts…our hearts. Reflecting on that always gives me an attitude check.
God is compassionate and knows our struggles, and he knows when sometimes we just can’t pick ourselves up our of our situation. Yet, I do want him to know that I am filled with thanks for all that I have, even when circumstances are hard.
Here is a little saying that I copied down….a good reminder for me!
Watch your thoughts,
they become words.
Watch your words,
they become actions.
Watch your actions,
they become habits.
Watch your habits,
they become character.
Our attitude starts with our thoughts. It is everything.