Penny Pinching Peach


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Creative Comfort

Comfort Coloring

Comfort Coloring

Creative Ways to Comfort the Grieving.

If anyone has noticed my silence the past three weeks, it’s in the largest part due to a sudden death in our family. My husband’s mother, my children’s Ganna, unexpectedly passed away shortly after her 60th birthday. The last while has been a whirlwind of the overwhelming aftermath such a sad and sudden event leaves behind. This experience is not entirely new to me, having lost my own mom far too early and quickly in 2006 when she was only 44 years old. Every loss is different, though, in the same way that every person is unique and every family dynamic is all it’s own. Anyway, going through this loss with small children of our own has given me another perspective on grieving, loss and the process of laying a loved one to rest.

When a friend loses someone close to them, we are often left wondering what we can say or do to make things better. Truth is, there is nothing that can take away the sorrow or fill the void left by death. There are some things that can bring a measure of comfort, help the family feel less alone, and let them know you truly, actively, deeply care about them in a way that words alone just can’t express. You may never know the impact your small gesture made in helping a grieving person make it through. You don’t have to have a lot of time or money to let the bereaved know you are there and care. I’m going to share some ideas of ways you can help ease the transition into life after loss. Some are pretty conventional, some not so much. Hopefully you will find something you can use.

Comfort for Grieving Children:

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I’d never been through the loss of a close relative as a parent of small children, so this opened my eyes to some ways to bless the grieving that I hadn’t thought so much about previously.
Offer to help with the children in the immediate family. It may be babysitting while they make arrangements, keeping them occupied during visitation, letting them sit with you during the funeral or just offering to be on standby in case the parents realize that they do need help at some point.
Get busy gifts to occupy children quietly. Give the little ones “busy bags” filled with things to keep them content and quiet during a difficult and confusing time. Some parents won’t realize how hard it is for little ones to behave through all of the tedious rituals they don’t truly understand, and won’t come prepared. Things you could include: Crayons or Colored Pencils , Coloring Book , sketch pad, On the Go Water Painting Bundle ,Reusable Sticker Pad , candy or packaged snacks that are not messy (super important detail, so I’m repeating: NOT MESSY!!! 😉 ), a small stuffed animal, like this adorable Marmoset Mini Flopsie , or any small quiet & clean activities. My daughter literally colored almost the entire time we were having visitation, and gave a picture to nearly everyone who came. She said it was to make everyone feel less sad about her Ganna going to Heaven.

Pictures to Remind the Grieving of Good Memories:

Pictures are such an important thing when you are remembering someone who once lived life with you. Many people now do a photo montage at the viewing. If they need help scanning or copying photos so that they aren’t leaving originals with the funeral home, this is a way you could help. If you have a great picture in your personal collection of the recently departed, that would be an extremely meaningful gift to include with a sympathy card or even put it in a nice frame like this one that has one of my mom’s favorite sayings on it “Live Laugh Love” Picture Frame. When someone has passed away, you will never be able to take another picture of them, so this is a way of getting a new memory when you thought there were no more.

Music For the Funeral:

If the family is going to use recorded music and you have a knack for finding and burning just the right version of that perfect song, offer your services to help them. Chances are that they are overwhelmed and don’t really have the time to search it out. Just make sure that you communicate clearly and definitely have the songs they really want played.

Comfort Food For Grief and Loss:

Families who just lost someone dear to them often forget to eat, and certainly don’t have the desire to cook. If there is good food sitting there, they are likely to eat it just so it won’t go to waste, and it will keep them going. See where they need it most: At home, during visitation or after the funeral. After all, everyone needs to eat, whether they feel like it or not. A handy tip? Use Disposable Aluminum Foil Baking Pans so they don’t have to worry about returning a nice pan and you aren’t concerned about your nice cookware.

Financial Help:

Something we rarely think about is the financial burden a death can bring to family. It’s not only paying for the funeral, but lost work, gas money, and other incidentals that are unplanned. This is not a big deal if you are financially secure, but can be an added devastation if you are barely scraping by to start with. Ways you can help with this when you know the family is struggling? Let them know you included money, a gift card or a gas card in your sympathy card. Buy a small potted plant to hand deliver instead of a big arrangement from a florist, and give the difference, if you feel you still want to give flowers and can’t do both.

Share Your Favorite Memories:

In the weeks and months following a loved one moving on, the family settles into their new life without a significant part of their daily existence. Everyone else moves on, and often forgets they are still grieving and adjusting. Write a letter about a fond memory of the person who is no longer with them, and send it to them. Write a card letting them know you’re thinking of them. Dig out the pictures I mentioned before and share them. Visit and talk about the good times. Remember.

Death is never easy. Grieving is complicated. No one should have to go through it alone.

If you are reading this, you know someone who has lost someone dear to them. If you haven’t already, you will most likely lose someone one day yourself. We will all have our turn to move on. Show compassion, be a blessing, do what you can for others while you still can. Live life while you are living, and love on those who are still here with you.

To read about something that has brought me sweet comfort in the years since losing my mom, read my story about my butterfly greetings from Heaven.


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Whispers From Heaven

 

Mom, Nana and Me

Mom, Nana and Me

Have you ever had a time when you were struggling with life and worrying over something, and would just like a hug or some comfort?

This morning I was not feeling well and was just really overwhelmed by everything I needed to do and discouraged with my growing limitations and discomforts of pregnancy. I didn’t even want to get out of bed, so I just grabbed my phone to look at what was new on Facebook for a few minutes. If you’re familiar with the feature they have where they show you memories from that same day in previous years, it’s one of my favorites. I came across this one from 2010, and it touched my heart in a way it needed this morning…

I found a little poem card my mom gave me sometime. It made me cry, but it is exactly what Mom felt about me while she was alive & like a much-needed message from her now. It begins…

” Daughter, today and always, please know that I see you. I see the path that you’ve made that’s all your own. I see the many talents & gifts you have to share…

I see your brilliance, your enthusiasm, and how deeply you care and hurt sometimes. I see your hard earned wisdom, your soft pure innocence, your courage and compassion…

I see what a difference you make in this world, and I hope you know how very much I love you, and how proud I’ll always be to have a daughter as wonderful as you are.”

I am so blessed to have been raised by a mom who genuinely loved me & showed it each & every day of her life.

I have no regrets in my relationship with her. We had our fusses at times & nobody’s perfect, but we communicated our feelings to each other while we still had time. Cherish every moment with your loved ones. Let them know what they mean to you. The impact of your relationships will live long after you are gone.

Read when I share about another way I’ve heard whispers from heaven through butterfly kisses from heaven!


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Dear Mom…

Mom Laughing

Mom in Joyful Times

Dear Mom,

Happy 9th birthday in Heaven!

You should have been 53 today, but you’re forever frozen at 44 in my mind’s eye. I know you’re at peace and free from pain up dancing there in heaven, but I’d rather be able to celebrate the life I feel like you should still be living here on earth.

Just the other day, my oldest daughter- your much longed for granddaughter- came to me sobbing like her little heart was breaking.

Once I calmed her enough to find out what was wrong, my tender hearted, deep thinking child said “Mommy, I’m so sad! My Grandma Dorinda never got to meet me, and now my baby sister will never get to meet our Grandma Dorinda or our Ganna! Both my mommy’s and my daddy’s mommies are in heaven now! It’s not fair! I miss them! They should be here!”. I had no words to comfort my little girl for awhile, because my words were drowned out by the tears I was swallowing for my own grief that came rushing like a flood from the vast void that she reminded me of so powerfully.

Finally, I calmed my own spirit enough to speak, asking God to help me be the

Mom, Nana and Me

Mom, Nana and Me

kind of wise & loving momma I always felt blessed to have. I told her that her Grandma and Ganna were probably watching together from Heaven, bragging to all the other souls up there about having the most beautiful, amazing grandbabies that ever lived. I told her that they both live on in our hearts, in the love we still have for them, and the stories we can tell about them. I told her that love never dies. It lives forever in the hearts of those we loved, no matter what. I told her how lucky she is to have her two grandpas, step-grandma, two great-grandmas and a great grandpa still on earth to give her hugs and see her and all of the other children in our family. I told her Grandma and Ganna want her happiness more than anything in the world. You know what? She calmed. She believed. She went back to play calmed by the love that is very much alive in our family.

Mom & PawPaw

Mom & PawPaw, Together in Heaven Now

The next day, my sweet girl came to me with some news.

She reminded me of her firm belief that you chose her as the perfect grandbaby for you, and the perfect daughter for your little girl. She went on to add that she is had great news. “Mommy, my Grandma Dorinda and my Ganna did a wonderful thing! They went together through all of the babies in Heaven, and chose my baby sister for us! You know why they did that? They heard me telling Jesus that I wanted a baby sister more than anything in the whole wide world, and they wanted to make sure I had the best little sister for me! Wasn’t that sweet of them?? They really do love me lots.”

Mama, you may be gone from us physically and never got to meet any of your precious grandchildren, but the love you so desperately wanted to share with your grandbabies has been shared.

They can feel it, believe it and cherish it. Your body was taken from us far too soon, especially for them, but that love lives . It ripples and whispers through our hearts and lives at just the right moments in just the right way. It will never die. You have proved to me that the love of a mother and a grandmother is stronger than distance, stronger than pain, stronger than cancer, stronger than loss and even stronger than death.

So…..happy birthday in heaven, Mom!

I miss you every day, but especially days like this. I’m thankful to have something so amazing and precious to celebrate today, though. We are celebrating 53 years of your love.

Love Ya Bunches!

Your Daughter