Ink Slingers Loss Martina Respect Life

One Way to Support a Loved One through a Traumatic Loss



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.


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


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. 


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.



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Loving the Restless Heart


First shared on social media yesterday in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, we thought we’d go ahead and share in blog post format. The message is so so necessary for those left behind in the wake of suicide.

So, today is #worldsuicidepreventionday. I wish I could tell you that I have discovered the cure after all I’ve been through. I became a counselor because I specifically wanted to prevent suicide. I’d like to think that I at least helped my clients veer off the path of self destruction and head in another direction here and there. I hope I affected the trajectory of at least a handful of lives.

But, I could not stop my very own husband.

There you go.

I had all the mental health tools, and I supported him in his treatment, and I loved him beyond measure. I feel the need to tell you how much I loved him because I am constantly being made to feel, by all this suicide awareness stuff, that I did not love him well enough. It was easy to be effusively affectionate with him because I liked him that much in every way. And when I was really angry at him, you know what I would do?! I organized all his laundry so that when he needed to get dressed in darkness before work so as not to wake me, he could find what he would need. I don’t know if he ever knew my anger management strategy. But, it helped me because by the time I was done doing his laundry, my brain was in a good place and I could see clearly and I could have a rational discussion with him about whatever it was that made me angry. What angered me most about him was his humanity, his brokenness. And, I shared that with him in spades.

We all are wheat and weeds mixed together. His weeds of impulsivity and depression, proved to be lethal. But there was a time when his impulsivity led to countless adventures that are the stockpile of memories I now treasure and his depression made him one of the most compassionate people I knew. And nothing I, nor the medical or mental health professionals that he saw before within weeks and in some cases days before he died, could stop him. It’s kind of like stopping cancer. For some it is an inevitable end to a magnificent could have been.

And if you love someone who died this way, know that it was never in your hands and you are in no way responsible. I know this intellectually but I keep hearing that suicide is preventable and treatable and I am done with self accusation. I did everything within my limited power to save his life. End of story. If you love someone who is at risk at this very moment, know that you are not responsible for their behavior and their choices. Keep loving them and encouraging and supporting their mental and physical health like you would a loved one with cancer; not in hushed silence and shame but openly and freely, seeking help and taking good care of yourself.



DBSA {Depression, Bipolar Support Alliance}

NAMI {National Alliance of Mental Illness}


MTHFR {genetic mutation associated with depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia}

A FRIEND ASKS – FREE APP (Jason Foundation) – helps provide information, tools, and resources to help a friend (or yourself) who may be in danger of committing suicide