Ok, I know that this sounds horrible, and it is. But, I am a plethora of knowledge on this subject, and I am here to help you. I have had alot of close friends, ask me, “What do I say or do? What should I bring?” – when they find out someone has passed away. Who do they go to? The Widow, that’s who.
Now let me start off with saying, use some sense. Since my husband passed away, I also lost my grandmother. I loved my mamaw. She was a super sweet, super kind, and also super old – lady. She died at the ripe old age of 103. Now, her dying in comparison to him dying – not the same at all. So, use your intuition and guidance, and start there.
When my husband passed away, I was shocked. Floored. It wasn’t even something remotely on my radar. I hadn’t thought about him dying. He wasn’t sick. Super healthy. Young. I mean, he wasn’t even driving a car. I am assuming, that those feelings would go for anyone who suffers through a sudden loss. There whole world is crashing down. And you, being a loving soul – want to help. What do you do? Well, first. Text them. Don’t call. Text. And, being southern – that goes against everything I was taught. But when you are in it – it’s good to see the text messages, but not feel the need to have to answer the phone.
- Don’t do what we all instinctively want to do. DO NOT ASK IF THEY ARE OK. I mean, obviously not. And I know, you know, it’s just a thing we say – I said it 1000 times before. Never will again. Because when you are emotional – you get annoyed – and I wanted to scream back – WHAT DO YOU THINK!? But, I didn’t.
- Find out who the point of contact is. For me, I had three. My parents, and my two closest friends. Those folks are the guard keepers. They are so important. Send any correspondence through them. And please – feed them. They have stopped their lives to care for another human – and that deserves some serious honor. I wouldn’t have made it without them. When you find out who the person is – send it out to any mutual friends, so they also know.
- Come over, when the gatekeepers says it’s fine. And understand, you might not ever see who you came to see. I promise. They know you are there. And appreciate it. I remember laying in my bed, and seeing all the friends and family members showing up. And I was so grateful. I just couldn’t get up out of my bed.
- Do not tell the loved one to take something for their nerves, unless you really believe that they are losing it. I got so irritated when people asked if I needed “something for my nerves”. Ummm.. No Tammy, My husband died and I am widowed with three babies. So there’s that. I believe my crying is kind of warranted.
Now, you might have someone who wants to talk. And be in it. And cry. And if that’s the case. Do that. But understand this – once the funeral is over – life will never go on as normal for them again. Ever. They will have a new normal – and it can be a great new normal- but, they probably can’t see it then. I was so lucky that I had friends who didn’t forget me. My friends would come over and sit on the porch. One of my friends, actually moved in with me for awhile, to help me with the kids. I mean, she moved in. I am not asking you to move in – I’m just saying – it’s a huge transition.
Next, let’s talk about what to bring. Isn’t this something that we all want to do? I mean, you can’t take away the pain, but you can try to make the situation a little more endurable. So, here’s my list of the things that I will never forget that were brought to me.
- Toilet paper. A pack from BJ’s. A big one. There are going to be people coming in and out of the home. People go potty. You really don’t want to be crying in your bed, then have to run to Wal-Mart to get some toilet paper. And once everyone leaves, and your life is creating it’s new normal – it’s nice to not have it all used up, and have a stash.
- Paper towels, paper plates, solo cups, napkins, trash bags, etc. And why these items? They are needed. There will be tons of people, food, and no one wants to worry about dishes. And, check the trash cans. If it’s trash day – take it to the road. More food, more people, more trash generated. Those little steps were so thoughtful.
- Gift cards. Gift cards got me through a lot of tough times. Restaurants, Wal-Mart, Gas. You pick it. It will help. It will be used.
- Don’t bring food unless you are part of a meal train or requested. So many people won’t follow this – and you have no idea how much food I had to throw away just because the sheer volume.
- Nice comfy pajamas. A girlfriend of mine brought me new pajamas. It helped.
- Send a card. Bring a card. Either one. They will keep it forever. It does mean alot.
- Don’t send flowers. If you want to get a plant, get a house plant. I’d go with a peace lilly, a succulent, african violets, a fiddle-leaf fig, viper’s bowstring. Flowers are beautiful. Flowers also die. And when you are going through a death – it just made it feel more apparent.
If you are the outdoorsy type, and the individual has yard – make sure they either have a lawn service, or its handled. If it isn’t – organize a group to handle it. Also, think of any other little thing that you can to make someone’s life a little easier.
But I saved the best and most important for last. Pray, my friends. And don’t stop. I am still prayed for today – years later – but some powerful women in my life. And I am so thankful for that guidance. Those prayers. They got me through, and have continued to carry me. If you have any questions – leave a comment, shoot me a message, I’m here.
Come on back now, ya’ll.
Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On. Sat nam.