Helping A Sick Friend and Comforting In Heartbreak is one of the kindness and most thoughtful acts we can do.
However, it’s one of the most difficult too.
Have you ever faced the situation of wanting to help your neighbor, a close friend, or a family member after a great loss or tragic situation and not known what to do or say?
How to approach them, what to say, what to offer….it’s difficult at best.
That’s why I’ve compiled a great resource for us, so we can be prepared in most all situations; knowing what to say, what not to say and how to be a great help that’s actually meaningful and will be apprecaited!
What if a friend has a sick child or parent they are caring for?
I have an experience of my own I’ll share with you. This past couple of years have been really difficult. Not the kind that people always reach out, such as when you have cancer, but one that definitely warrants love, understanding and compassion.
That’s when you find the true angels that comfort and ‘mourned with those who mourn’ showing true charity and kindness.
Natalie is one who is that kind of person.
She handmade this card and wrote a tender sentiment inside, which I read often.
Make sure to reach out to those who are going through hardships of ALL types; they need you also.
You can get beautiful cards like this from Natalie HERE
In distressing circumstances what do you say– or not say?
I have ideas and tips that cover these topics and more so we can really serve others in a way that will lift those who are weighed down with all the burden of distress, sadness, worry and pain. Bringing hope, happiness and relief from the caring and friendship that we can provide in times of need.
There are numerous conditions under which a person or a family could use help.
The reasons are many of when to help, and it’s always a good thing to take in a meal, or give some support. The challenge is to have the courage to get some information and then act!
1- Now that we identified WHEN to help –
2- WHAT can we do if it’s not obvious?
3- Look hard and pray about it. Here’s an example from my own experience.
Some years back, a family in our neighborhood had a very young son who was diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say, it was a scary and trying time for also their extended family and those of us in the neighborhood who knew and cared about them.
I wanted to somehow be a benefit, but I wasn’t sure what to do, so I included it in my prayers that I’d know how to help.
After prying a little one day, I found out that the mom did not have the extra means to buy food from the cafeteria while she was at hospital; which was daily while her boy had treatments.
That was my answer!
I packed a sturdy durable bag that closed tight with food that could be warmed in the microwave, or eaten as it was, but none that required refrigeration.
Mainly high protein foods and a few treats.
One time this same mom asked me to watch her other children because she had to take her son to his doctors appointment. While she was gone, I arranged with other women in our church to come in for a cleaning blitz.
Older kids did crafts with other kids as we cleaned making them feel special.
It’s a cherished memory of showing love and support, and an example of how to involve others.
What if I SAY or DO the wrong thing?
How do I know THE BEST way to serve them?
It’s unfortunate, but a part of life that illness, tragedy or hardship will come to one of our loved ones, a friend, or a neighbor at some time.
And then –
I have some tips and suggestions so that you will ALWAYS know how, when and the best ways to be of service and comfort.
This was a situation for one of my dear neighbors and I didn’t know what to say or do myself, so I researched a bit and I’m sharing with you the information I found.
Heartbreaking position for those grieving with the loss of a loved one to suicide
To read the helpful tips and ideas of what to do, click GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE TO SUICIDE
WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER LOSES A BABY?
This is another very sensitive issue and so tender for everyone involved.
I have tried to gather information for us so we can be the most helpful in this situation.
Losing A Pet can be as devastating as a family member to those who love and care for them..
I have a tips and ideas you will find helpful in How To Comfort When There Is A Pet-loss
A THOUGHTFUL TIP FOR ALL SITUATIONS
A small decorated vase with a narrow opening is a great idea to take to your friends or neighbors if you are on a budget. The flowers shown are Lilies of the Field. However, baby’s breath, mini carnations, daisies or any inexpensive flower in a smaller vase, or one with a narrow opening would be just right for both the giver and the receiver.
*If you are taking flowers or balloons into a hospital check with the staff first.
***If taking flowers, ask to be sure they are not allergic to any one type of flower.
Showing love to those left behind when a friend or family member chooses suicide
Along with a vase of flowers, there are things we can do to reach out in a way that would be meaningful and appreciated by the person or family.
Let’s BEGIN with the emotions and physiological aspect and the ways we can be a tremendous beneficial influence in ALL situations.
Treat them the same
It’s important to remember and treat the person, or the family as you always did. This new diagnosis, or difficulty they are having isn’t ‘them’. It isn’t a way to identify them, or take over their personality, it’s just the new situation or ‘normal’ for the time being. Remembering that will help you treat them the same as you always did, and it won’t be as awkward with the new circumstances because it helps them feel ‘in control’ and somewhat their usual self.
Try to do something ‘normal’, out of the ordinary and FUN
The picture of the baby at the top of the post is one of my grand daughters when she was born. She was in the NICU also known as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Her brother had been in the hospital for several days before she was born which was terrifying.
Stan spent much of his time after work at the hospital with the sick grandchildren.
But when he was home, he took the other kids to Sam’s Club (their favorite) for lunch, then to the store to let them pick out their own match-box car.
When they came back to the house, I gave each of them a few washable markers and their own empty toilet paper roll to make a car ‘power station’. They had a blast and it filled the time with creativity and imagination.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, just out of the ordinary and something THEY will enjoy.
Another day does begin
I had some of the grand kids while their mom was recuperating with the sick baby, I put on the musical ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, the one with Ann Margaret. They had a blast watching something they had never seen, and dancing with Birdie as the whole town swoons.
They thought it was great fun to fall on the ground right along with the character’s in the movie as Birdie played his guitar.
Get them up and MOVING
Laughter is a wonderful release from the stress for ALL ages.
Try to provide as much normality as possible in their day by keeping them busy, as appropriate of course.
This provides a way for even little ones to feel somewhat in control, despite the circumstances.
They had a great time ‘helping’ Uncle Dallin clean.
Here is my son, daughter-in-law and grand daughter getting ready to come home from the hospital.
Our little NICU grandbaby was finally allowed to come home!After taking baby CPR classes at the hospital, learning how to run the oxygen machine, classes on how to use monitoring and other devices to help our little grand daughter stay alive, our son Derek remarked:
“Who said kids don’t come with instructions.”
Always try to keep a sense of humor, it really helps in these stressful situations.
It seems if we live long enough we will have family and friends who will face challenges of some sort that will require help.
I have complied a little list of ideas that might be useful if you are ever in the situation of wondering how to help and be most useful:
If you are looking for ideas on taking in a meal, I have GREAT information, lots of useful tips and recipes at:
I hope this post has given you tools and resources to empower you, so that you feel comfortable reaching out to anyone in need; whether you barely know them, or they are close family or a dear friend.
We all have ordeals to go through some time in life – that’s just the way it is.
Having a person, an angel, who cares enough about us, our comfort, our family, to ACT and DO something selfless, means more than words can express.
Copyright A Mother’s Shadow, 2014, 2018
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.