February 2, 2012

10 ways to help (a borrowed post)

I'd like to introduce you to Elizabeth Ibrahim-Campbell, an accidental blogger from whom I have learned a lot.  Let's just say that God can use even our deepest griefs for his glory and our holiness.  Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your heart with us over the past year, and thank you for sharing this post with me here.

1) Be there.  Seriously, just be present.  Go and sit with the family at their home or at the viewing.  It does not matter if you are best friends or not, you can still be there.
2.)    Don’t be afraid to cry bawl your eyes out. I was in complete shock after Jason died.  It did not feel real, and so it was hard to cry.  Seeing others weep helped it to sink in for me and even provided relief for me.  I believe it is why Jesus tells us to weep with those who weep.  It is a real and tangible comfort.
3.)    Send a card.  I kept every single one of mine, and when I am grieving again I still go back through and read them.  I loved that I received cards from my best friends who were with me 24/7 at first, and from complete strangers all over the world. 
4.)    Send food in disposable containers.  And try not to send very highly perishable items like salads or breads that need to be eaten immediately.  I had a wall of bread as high as my refrigerator that took up all my counter space. Literally.
4 ½.) Don’t force-feed your grieving friend— especially foods that they never liked in the first  place.  (Well, okay, unless that person is a young mom nursing a newborn baby.  Maybe it was a good thing after all. But boy do I ever HATE yellow mustard now or what!!!)
5.)    Call a contact person regarding meals, etc.  Try not to call the family directly about trivial matters, find someone else who can answer your questions.  Offer to be that contact person if they need one.
6.)    Shovel snow, rake leaves, or mow the grass.  Just show up and quietly do what needs to be done.
7.)    Offer to help with practical details before the days of the viewing/funeral.  Does the family’s car need to be washed for the processional? Do their children own appropriate clothing for a funeral?  Could you go shopping for them? Could you offer out-of-town guests a restful place to stay?
8.)    Send flowers unexpectedly in the months to come.  Let the family know you haven’t forgotten.
9.)    Offer to watch children so a grieving parent can slip away for some time alone.
10.)  Pray consistently for God’s outpouring of peace and grace over the whole family.
10 1/2.) Don’t hold me responsible for these ideas.  Maybe other people are comforted by a Great Wall of Bread when they are mourning.  I couldn’t say…

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