Thursday, February 19, 2009

What helps?

To make sense to readers, I try to have a "theme" to each post. I have no idea what this "theme" will be. Maybe when I'm finished I'll know and then I'll also know what to title this post.
It helps me so much to put down thoughts here and get such positive feedback from you all(no matter how negative the post!) So many of you have given me encouragement and prayers-I am forever thankful.
One blog comment asked about what has been helpful to me during this awful time. I've thought about it for several days and finally gave up trying to put the thoughts together in my head. I'm just going to try and type it out! Some of the hard things about putting it into words is I don't want anyone to feel they should have done something different or that they haven't done enough etc. Also, I know what helps me, may not be good for another person-but I think we all know the grief thing is definitely a personal voyage and is different for everyone.
Here is a very short list (not in any order) of some of the things that have helped:
  • The multitude of cards (and messages via email, texts, facebook) has been awesome. I would suggest sending a card or message at the beginning and then again around a month or so later. Also realizing that not getting a response does not mean it isn't appreciated--It IS! (I rarely have the energy to respond.)
  • A friend's mom sent a warm, fuzzy blanket to me. I know I have other blankets, but this one is designated just for me and can stay right on my bed or wherever I need it. Several of my students and friends have made uplifting, Christian CDs for me that has helped more recently since I am now able to listen to music a little more. I still have to take it in small doses because of my emotions.
  • Any and all food is helpful. Labeled dishes are nice, (I still have a few unlabeled ones--so please come claim them :-) ) a few friends brought breakfasty type foods and that was great, another few brought paper goods/plastic ware/disposable food storage containers. My friend set up a "care calendar" that coordinates when people can bring meals-it's all through e-mail and the website calendar. (I'm not putting this here to have any of you sign up to bring me food, I just think it's an awesome idea that can really help people.)
  • Several friends (at different times) swept my whole house. Another great organizer friend cleaned out my pantry and refrigerator after a couple of weeks when leftovers had piled up.
  • My friends brought their children to play with Caroline.
  • Don't worry about not knowing what to say--I don't even know what to say! Just say you love the person. Also be willing to listen, it might have to do with the event or not -don't worry about responding at all. Just listen.
  • Finding someone who is/has been in a similar situation. For me, God has led me to others who have lost spouses and it helps in that you don't feel so alone. God is amazing that he brought Tara Newby to me through a friend of a friend etc. Our situation could not be more similar. I've gained so much from getting to know her. Please pray for her, too. She's due in April.
  • Friends have helped so much with areas unfamiliar to me: social security stuff, insurance, banking, taxes, cutting down trees, working a generator, replacing filters in the house (Jacob!) etc. If you or your spouse have some expertise in an area like that, it helps the "griever" to know there's someone to go to with questions or when needing advice filling out paperwork and going to meetings.
  • Kleenex, chapstick and houseshoes are nice.
  • Prayers!
I'm not sure I even want to post this because I am definitely not an authority on how to deal with this. I'm still trying to wade through it all. I also know I am leaving out tons of things that have been done for me that are helpful, but I thought I would keep this list more "general" for everyone. I am so blessed to have a sister and brother-in-law who pretty much moved in with me-- I do not know where I would be without them. My mom has also "moved in" for part of each week and there is nothing like a mom who knows what needs to be done and does it or is a shoulder to cry on.


  1. thanks so much for taking the time to write this down bonnie!!! you are right, so many people want desperately to help but have no clue where to start. everyone wants to help but is worried that they will say or do the wrong thing, do the right thing just the wrong time, somehow be offensive or create an unnessary burdon.
    i hope to be a good listener when we come to visit!
    and, if you WANT to sign up to bring bonnie food, ask bonnie for my e-mail address and i'll let you know how to sign into the care calendar :)
    cannot WAIT to see you bonnie!!!!

  2. Your courage and strength is such a blessing. I pray that God continues to comfort you in the days ahead.
    He is our strong tower, and our comforter.

  3. So beautifully wrote and felt.
    I pray and little Caroline will have ALL you need to get you by.
    I know I would never have survived with out having the beliefs I do about life after death and eternal families.
    May the Lord continue to bless you and your little family with good friends, loving family and gracious Christlike people in your life.
    Thanks for sharing these helpful hints as I know they will help others in the future.
    May God keep you in His loving care always!

    With Love and sincerity,


  4. Thank you so much, Bonnie, for sharing your list. It helps so much. I would imagine other lists would look a lot like this. Thank you for sharing your heart. Sending lots of prayers your way.

  5. Thank you for sharing your list Bonnie. I am a member of a MOPS group here in Charlotte and have also been sick with along term illness and many of those things have been done for me. I am going ot copy your list and pass it on to our group Care & Share Coordinator , it was well thoght out (even though I know you don't see that through your grief right now) and well worded. It was extremely practical and appicable to many situations for many people. I continue to pray for you and the children.
    It is evident form what you are writing that God is truly the source of your strength, may you continue to rest in him and find great comfort in him each day.

  6. I love that you posted what has helped you. It's the little things that help. Having people bring food, or help clean your house is such a help. Even having someone come to visit you, even if they don't talk about your loss, helps just a little. I'm still praying for you for God to give you comfort and strength and I can sense that you have strength. I think it's so great that your sister has moved in and that your mom does to a part of the week. God bless!

  7. Thank-you for posting today. Thank-you for posting in general.

    On another note:

    Violet was talking about you and Caroline today. I'm not real sure what she was saying, but I clearly understood "Missssss Bonniiiiie" "Carooooooline." She whispered the rest of her words. The whispering part makes me think she was praying for you guys.

  8. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this out for us. It helps so much. When something horrible happens to someone it is so hard to know what the right thing to do is. I never want to intrude or push myself on someone, yet, I so badly want to do SOMETHING. This list helps me to know the ways I can help.

    You are so strong and brave. I just have so much respect for you. I am praying that God fills the hole in your heart with HIS love and joy, so depression and sadness don't make their home there. Hang in there. I can't imagine what you are going through. Your blog is so real and special.
    Blessings and God's peace over you.
    Kelly in Michigan

  9. hi bonnie, i know that we do know personally know each other, but i have been praying for you everyday since i found your blog (thru angi's blog). i am amazed that you can write and be so honest with your feelings during this. you have touched my heart and your sweet caroline. i would love to send you cards, i make them for a living. is there an address where i could send you one periodically? my email address is
    praying for you, briana k.

  10. I think making that list is a big help for people that want to help. I would think friends bringing food would be so can you possibly think about cooking right now?
    I think you are such a wise gal to share your thoughts and just say what you feel, no matter what it is.
    Take Care

  11. Hi Bonnie, i came by to say Hello, and send my condolences to you and your precious Caroline. But to also let you know that I am here for you, even though we have never met. If you need to talk.
    I am a stay at home mom, and I have 3 boys all under 10, and i am here if you need to talk. I am praying for you.
    kaylee gotreau @