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Ink Slingers Loss Martina Respect Life

One Way to Support a Loved One through a Traumatic Loss

 

OneWaytoSupportaLovedOnethroughaTraumaticLoss

Have you been there before?

Have you gotten the call that someone you care for lost a loved one suddenly?

Did you feel helpless or unsure what to do next to support them in the coming hours, days, weeks?

It can be hard, knowing what the right thing to say or do is. You may feel like you say all the wrong things. Or you may feel like you aren’t doing enough. It’s such a tough place to be, friend. But know that what you are doing, big or small, all matters to those who have suffered the loss. They may not be able to communicate it to you directly, but everything from prayers to putting meals in the freezer are all things that are appreciated.

One thing I happened to stumble upon as a way to help, came from a strong urge after the death of a friend’s son. I saw it as a need that could be filled and possibly be a help to the family. 

This can be done by one individual, or several individuals can pitch in and donate the various items. After asking some friends who had also suffered the sudden loss of a loved one, I came up with a rough list of items that would go into this care package.

It doesn’t have to be fancy or perfect. And it can be modified however you think is best.

ITEMS TO PURCHASE

many of the following items can be purchased from stores like Tuesday Morning, Marshall’s, the Dollar Store, or even your local grocery store

  • tote bag or reusable grocery bag – $4-10
  • blanket – $5-10
  • packages of tissue – $1
  • small notebook – $2
  • pens – $1
  • a few bottles of water – $1
  • snacks – $1-3
  • calming essential oils 
  • small toy if the bereaving has children who may accompany them on appointments with the church, funeral home, cemetery, etc.
  • handwritten card from everyone who helped with the bag
  • put all items inside the tote bag

WHEN AND HOW TO GIVE THE BAG

There’s no right or wrong way to deliver the bag, but expecting the bereaving to meet with you so that you can deliver it may come across as strong. Sending a simple text that you’re dropping something off at their door so they don’t feel obligated to answer the door is one good way to leave the bag. 

SUGGESTIONS

Do you have any additional items you’d add to this list? Please share with us in the comments. We’d love to hear of other ways.

 

 

Categories
Alison W Faith Formation Ink Slingers Motherhood Parenting Single Parents Vocations

God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

I hate the cliché “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve spent a decade as a single mom and I’ll assure you this isn’t true. God has given me, or at least allowed, more than I could handle. Some days were soul crushingly more than I could handle.

I know the sentiment is to reassure people, but I’ll be honest and say it didn’t reassure me. And I won’t boldly say God gave me all of my problems, I know that I created most of them on my own. So this isn’t a blame game, but more of a reality-check.

The problem with the quote is the YOU, more specifically, “YOU can handle.”  

We aren’t expected to handle everything alone. Jesus said his grace is sufficient, so we could know we need his grace. We also need the people around us, and that is really painful for those of us that have been abandoned on some level.

I struggle with the sin of pride and if we start talking honestly, I‘d say many of us do. The pride of thinking we can handle everything on our own, so much that we don’t even want anyone to help. You see I’ve gotten quite good at providing by myself and I’ve gotten quite good at shutting people out. Part of that comes from a place of necessity and part of that comes from a place of pain.

I think this is a huge problem in society. Look at the high levels of people on medication for anxiety and depression. Look at the suicides and broken homes. Look at the fall out of us thinking we could do things all on our own. The pressure is so high and people are cracking under it.

Jesus cried in anguish when the apostles fell asleep. The living God needed people to be there for him.

St. Teresa of Calcutta so boldly set off on her own at the prompting of God. But it wasn’t to be alone. The sick and suffering were what sanctified her soul and led her to sainthood.

We need each other, both to help and to be helpers.

I’d like to re-write the quote to say, “God will provide the grace, strength and help that you need.” He will and he has for me repeatedly. I’ve always known I wasn’t alone in raising my children alone because Jesus was helping me every day. I know without his grace I would have never endured the hardship of so many trials. I know without the people in my circle, I couldn’t have covered all those shifts, practices, dinners, payments, appointments, court dates, homework, etc. We were created to love each other and help each other.

God will absolutely give us more than we can handle. That’s not to say he will leave us abandoned, but it is to say we will have days or seasons that are too much. We aren’t called to walk this life alone.

We were created to be the body of Christ and to help each other and to lean into God’s grace. We have to help build the body of Christ to come together with all of our strength and struggle. We weren’t meant to be self-sufficient, we were meant to need help, both Heavenly and earthly. By God’s design, He will give you more than you can handle, but He will provide the grace, strength and help that you need. May God bless you!

Categories
Deirdre Domestic Church Ink Slingers

On Being a Good Friend

On Being a Good Friend

I’d like to think I’m a good friend. I certainly want to be a good friend and I think most of us do. Praying for my friends and being fiercely loyal to them comes easily to me. But beyond that, am I really a good friend? Do I anticipate their needs or go out of my way to help them? Do I encourage them and lift them up, share their joys and their sorrows with them?

I have been thinking about this a lot because I have such a friend. In the last year and a half, I have been abundantly blessed by a wonderful friend in my city. In my gratefulness for her and all she has done for me, it has really made me think: do I take being a good friend as seriously as she does? Do I do all I can to help my friends and anticipate their needs? The short answer for me, unfortunately, has been no. I am not nearly as good a friend as I would like to be. But I want to be a better friend, I can improve, so here are some ideas I’ve come up with:

Ways to be a good friend

  • Pray for your friends – pray for their husbands, their children, their health, etc. Pray together when possible!
  • Don’t just ask ‘how can I help?’ – do something to help without being asked. So often I say “let me know how I can help” and think I’ve done enough. But most people don’t actually answer that question truthfully, because either they don’t know what help they need or they feel guilty asking for it. Rather than wait to be asked for help, just offer a concrete way that you will help and the time you will do it. It’s much harder to turn down when offered that way.
  • Anticipate your friends’ needs, before they ask – know your friend’s husband is going to be out of town for work for a week? Invite them over for an evening while he’s out of town. Plan a girl’s night out once her husband is back in town. Know her in-laws are coming to visit and it might be stressful? Drop off fresh flowers and a bottle of wine before they arrive.
  • Create a meal calendar and bring them a meal – meal calendars are common when someone has a baby, which is a huge help, keep that up. But what about when a mom is incredibly sick in her first trimester? I almost need more help getting through the first trimester than when I have a newborn. For my current pregnancy, my friend lined up meals for me during the first trimester, and would sometimes just drop off food for me, unexpectedly, just to keep me and my family eating good food. It was a huge help. What about meal calendars for adoptive families, or families taking in children from foster care? Meal calendars when families have lost a loved one or are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, etc. Bringing a meal to someone in need can be such a huge help!
  • Think outside the box – when we dealt with lice recently, my friend offered to help me bring all my laundry to a laundromat and hang out with me there while we knocked out ALL the laundry in just a few hours. While this didn’t work out for me at the time, I was just amazed at her thoughtfulness and her willingness to help me deal with all.the.laundry., possibly infested with lice. She also brought me tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner to combat future lice exposure and chocolate. So thoughtful.
  • Help a friend clean – my parents were coming to visit recently, right when I was nearing the end of a terrible first trimester of pregnancy sickness. I was so excited to see them but embarrassed by how dirty my house was. My friend insisted on coming over and spent a day helping me clean my house the day before my parents came. It was humbling to accept such a gift, but it was also such a relief and so wonderful to have help.
  • Swap childcare – recently my friend had my husband bring all the children to her farm for the day on a Saturday so I could rest. My husband and children had a great day on the farm and I had a nice, quiet day to myself. Childcare for lots of young children can be expensive, but having a friend who you can easily swap with is such a treat. Swap childcare so you can go to the grocery store without little ones in tow, or to take one sick child to the pediatricians’ instead of dragging them all along, or even for date nights.
  • Remember birthdays and anniversaries – maybe a birthday card, Mass card, piece of chocolate, or even just a text. Remembering friends’ birthdays and anniversaries is a small but meaningful way of showing you care.
  • Challenge each other in living out our Catholic Faith – don’t be judgey or preachy, but encourage one another in the Faith. Ask how their spiritual journey is going, invite them to more events at Church with you, etc. Call them out when necessary.
  • Listen – being a good listener can be hard but try to truly listen to your friends – their needs, fears, troubles. Cry with them in their sorrows and rejoice with them in their gladness.
  • Loyalty – be loyal to your friends. Don’t gossip about them, don’t listen to others gossip about them.

I am so thankful for the many wonderful friends I have had throughout my life. Amazing women who have taught me so much about myself, my Faith, and sacrifice. They have also taught me how to be a good friend, and where I need to improve. What a blessing true Christian friendship is!

SOUND OFF!

Are you a good friend? How do you help your friends in need? In what ways have others helped you? I’d love to hear your suggestions!