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.) http://www.carecalendar.org/
- 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.