Penny Pinching Peach


24 Comments

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:

“Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


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.

Advertisements


27 Comments

What Lung Cancer Can’t Do

Mom & PawPaw, Together in Heaven Now

Mom & PawPaw, Together in Heaven Now

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

My mom- a previously healthy non-smoker- died of lung cancer just before Christmas in 2006  at the young age of 44, a whirlwind two months after her diagnosis. We don’t know what caused her disease, and still don’t understand how such a vibrant, healthy and active woman succumbed to it so rapidly. I’ve learned that dwelling on what cancer has taken from my family and what power it can have over us can be completely soul numbing. Instead of dwelling on what lung cancer can do and what it can rob from us…this month I want to remind myself and others of what lung cancer can’t do.

Lung cancer can steal your voice, but it cannot take the words you have spoken. Choose words of love, encouragement and peace.

Lung cancer can leech away your energy, but it can’t quench your spirit. My mom was still such a caring, curious person all the way to her last breath.

Lung cancer can stop your heart, but it cannot stop the love you have inside of it. Show that love to those you care for.

Lung cancer can zap the strength from your body, but it can’t touch the strength of your soul. Who you are is stronger than cancer.

Lung cancer can take away life from your loved one, but it can never, ever take away the memories, legacy and relationships you have. Those will live on long after you are gone, regardless of whether you are taken by cancer or die in your sleep at the ripe ol’ age of 105.

Cancer doesn’t always win even in the physical realm. Don’t think I am saying it has to take all of these physical things away….but it can. As long as there is light in the eyes and breath in the body, there is hope. There are so many things it cannot reach, though, and we all need to remember that. Don’t give lung cancer- or any cancer- that kind of power over you. That power belongs to us, as humans. The human spirit soars far above and beyond anywhere that any disease can reach.

Never forget. What can you think of that lung cancer can’t take away?

“Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”

If you are interested in lung cancer related items to inspire hope and/or remembrance, here are a few of my favorite picks:

This beautiful Ribbon of Hope Angel is holding the lung cancer ribbon in her arms. Elements Pearl Ribbon of Hope Angel (Lung Cancer) by Pavilion, 5-Inches Tall
This e-book is free with Kindle Unlimited, and looks like it would be quite helpful in coping with the ups and downs of cancer: Cancer: Coping With Cancer: Controlling and Understanding Emotions of Cancer (Cancer,Cancer Books,Breast Cancer,Colon Cancer,Lung Cancer,Brain Cancer,Prostate Cancer,Leukemia, Skin Cancer)
This lovely bracelet says “Where There Is Love, There is Life” along with the lung cancer ribbon charm…and that is such a powerful statement. I need this reminder, myself! Lung Cancer Charm Bracelet (Retail)

This bracelet has the cancer symbol with the colors for what appears to be all of the cancers we all hate so much, and I love that about it. Prepackaged (7 3/4 in.) Cancer Awareness Bracelet 18 Colors, 8mm

If you are in need of more information or resources for coping with lung cancer, here is the link to a great non-profit organization: LungCancer.org
 

Grace & Truth Link-up @ Busy Being Blessed


Leave a comment

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!


15 Comments

Black and Blue Butterfly Greetings From Heaven

Butterfly greetings from heaven

Butterfly greetings from heaven

Losing my mom to cancer changed so much about me.

It changed my personality, my perspective and even my life plans. Everything about myself was intertwined with her, and suddenly a huge part of the fabric of who I was, the life I had and my hopes for the future was ripped away. I was left feeling torn apart, broken and irreparable. Visiting her grave was no comfort to me, and I felt at a loss for any tangible way to feel that connection with my mom while she was gone. It hurt in such an achingly empty manner, I can’t even explain it in words.

One day as I was walking outside, praying & crying & wishing I could talk to Mom about whatever crisis I was coping with or just get another one of her warm, loving, mama hugs…it happened. God sent the comforting symbol I needed. I was randomly surrounded by fluttering blue and black butterflies! To most people, this would seem magical and beautiful. To me, it was a sign from Heaven of my mom’s continued love. You see, her favorite color combination was blue and black. One of my favorite things in the world is butterflies, and she would often give me little things to do with butterflies. The unique combination of those two things that were so special to each of us and personally significant between us was a symbol to me, and something I latched onto. Finally, something tangible to bring me comfort and help me to feel connected to my mom!

“Penny Pinching Peach is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”

These black and blue Butterfly Greetings from Heaven have recurred over the years many times, usually at moments when I was thinking of my mom or dealing with something difficult and feeling alone.

Sometimes it’s a lone butterfly, others an entire swarm of them, and at times they even land on me as I watch them and try to listen to whatever message may be whispered to me by God in that moment when He has my attention.

The butterfly hello has also become an unexpected and beautiful way for my daughter to feel connected to the grandma she was never blessed to get to know.

When she sees blue and black butterflies- after hearing my story of the time the black and blue butterflies swarmed me when I was feeling sad and missing my mama and how they always make me think of her when I see them now- she will say “Hi Grandma! I love you, too!”. It brings bittersweet tears to my eyes every time it happens, and is yet another thing that is special about these particular butterflies for me.

If you have lost anyone close to you, is there something special that makes you feel connected to them in particular, like they’re saying hello, or just plain brings you comfort when you see it? Read my Letter to My Mom.

Below are some beautifully touching products following the sentiment of butterfly inspiration:

Girl Nursery Quote – Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over,she became a butterfly – Wall Decal Sticker (Black, Medium)
DaisyJewel Azure Blue & Silvertone Butterfly Hoop Earrings
Vietsbay’s Butterfly Collection Necklace Pendants Pewter Silver


3 Comments

My Cousin’s Fight

My cousin

My cousin

My cousin, Marquita, has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Cervical cancer. She is a hardworking, family oriented, sweetheart of a single mom of three beautiful children. With mounting expenses, another cousin started a fundraiser to help her. While I normally avoid using my blog for fundraising because there are so many needs out there that it could take over completely, I’m sharing for my cousin here in hopes of multiplying the prayers and goodwill sent up on her behalf and possibly inspire anyone who may want to donate any amount to help her and her children. Some people in my dad’s industry did a fundraiser for him to help offset her medical expenses, and I remember how much it meant to him monetarily and emotionally both. For more details, please click the link below. She is on the back left in the photo, pictured with her three children and her mom.

Thanks and God bless you all! http://www.gofundme.com/kkh8jg