How to Help Friends and Loved Ones in Difficult Times

When we hear sad news we want to help, but we often do not know how. Instead of figuring out a way to help we say, “Call me if you need anything.” Individuals facing difficult times frequently find it difficult to put one foot in front of the other; they do not have energy to call and even if they did, they probably would not know what to ask for.  So here are simple things you can do to help someone facing a tough time:

  • Bring dinner. Rather than asking if you can bring a meal, ask, “What day works best for me to bring dinner? Monday or Thursday?” And then do it. You can prepare a dinner or, if that does not work for you, pick up something at the grocery store or a favorite food outlet.
  • Provide a weekly meal. If someone is facing a difficult period and they will need support for some time, ask if you can bring a rotisserie chicken and a vegetable (or milk and a loaf of bread) every Tuesday (or whatever day is convenient for you and the recipient). This serves two purposes; sustenance and some routine in an unstable period.
  • Check in regularly with whatever vehicle works; telephone, text or email. All you need to communicate is that you are thinking of them and checking in.
  • Run an errand. If you are running errands, call to see if you can run an errand for them as well. One less errand can ease an already stressful day.
  • Take a treat or coffee. Do consider indulging in small kindnesses. Just knowing that someone is thinking about you can brighten a tough day. Double up when out and about; pick up an extra coffee, a scone, a muffin or a loaf of bread and drop it off as you head home.
  • Write a note. Tough times can be lonely. A “thinking of you” card or a personal note that lets the recipient know they are in your thoughts is very comforting. Make it easy to do this kindness by buying a pack of thinking of you cards at your local card store and keeping some stamps handy.

Add a kindness to your “to do” list and make it happen because if you wait until you have some time, you will never have it. And what a reward; you made someone’s day a bit brighter.

***

Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.

Image courtesy of the author

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