Instead of asking someone “is there anything I can do for you?” Do this
After my dad passed, I heard “let me know if there’s anything I can do for you” at least 8-10 times a day, which just absolutely shows what supportive friends and family I have, and I could tell how much people genuinely wanted to do something but most times I just had no idea what I needed or when or what someone could possibly do to help. After losing someone extremely unexpectedly, at least so close to you, I think that your brain is seriously just so overloaded with trying to process what happened, why, what you need to get done and a billion other things that it’s impossible to try to figure out what you need. The first couple weeks after Dad’s passing, I forgot things all. the. time. I had to shoot a wedding right after Dad passed and about a week and a half later (I edit and deliver my weddings within a week) I saw I had a message from the brides mom and for a split second I remembered I had shot that wedding but didn’t remember editing it or sending it to them or anything and started freaking out because it would have been a few days past the deadline (I’m typically very on top of these things, being on time is v important to me lol) but she was saying thank you and that she loved the photos, and I totally did not even remember editing the photos. So, just one example of how crazy everything is soon after.
I wanted to put together a list of ideas of what to do/things to say/gifts for someone who has recently lost a parent, brother or sister, spouse, because not many people are really capable of communicating or knowing what could be useful during that time. I will update this as time goes on and I think of helpful things. ❤️
- Meals. I feel like this one is the biggest go-to because it’s the most basic need we have. Meal trains are absolutely incredible to set up if you have a close church family or friend group. Try setting something like this up if you’re in a position to. Mealtrain.com has a free meal train planner. Try to prepare things that at most have to be tossed in the oven, and use all disposable things (sorry, earth 🌏) because the last thing they probably have the energy for is to clean dishes.
- Snacks. One of my friends brought my family a big snack basket, which was amazing. We all didn’t really have any appetite for a full meal, and never felt like preparing one, so it was great to have a variety of snacks around just to munch on here and there. She got us cheez-its, skittles, chips & salsa, peanut m&ms, and a ton of other stuff I can’t remember. I really think I ate those skittles for three days straight at some point because I couldn’t handle anything else which was kind of weird now that I think about it.
- For the girls – a blowout. This is one that I don’t think many people would think of, and usually you would go get a blowout for relaxation sake but I think I went like a full week and a half without washing my hair just because of how low-energy I was. It would have been really nice to have someone to take care of that small thing for me.
- A devotional book. I definitely think that during this time the most comforting thing is scripture and finding security in God. A new friend of mine gave me a book that I’ve come to really like and it even comes with an app and an existing community of women to join. It’s called mourning and dancing, and what I love about it is that it says it’s okay to both feel good and bad in a time of grief, and to celebrate both.
- Your presence – or absence. Ask if they need someone to just sit and be – and make sure they know they’re not bothering you.
- Check-ins over time. Things don’t necessarily become okay, but better. Ask how they are, really and maybe send a picture and memory every once in awhile. For me personally, loss of memory of that person is very very scary.