Dealing with Family Hardships

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who offered words of support and encouragement to me and family in this trying time of my Gram’s passing.

Going through this has given me some insight as to how to be of help to others in these kinds of situations (severe or terminal illness). I thought I would share some tips here. If you have anything to add, please do!

Communication
– Try to use the least intrusive method of communication.
– Text or email if the family uses these technologies.
– Allow them to get back to you in their own time.
– Don’t be offended if they don’t respond.
– Offer to help only if you are able to.
– Don’t try to make contact every day.
– Don’t ask the caregivers to call you everyday.

Visiting
– Keep visits short.
– Don’t be offended if the family asks you not to visit, it’s not you.
– Be aware that the person requires constant care and that your presence may be inhibiting that.

How Can I Help?
– Bring food. (This was the biggest help ever, thanks Joy.)
– Don’t ask what they would like to eat, just bring something that keeps well.
– Offer to be a contact person for updates, that way you can handle making and receiving calls when there is news.
– Offer to relieve the caregivers, but don’t push if they aren’t receptive to the idea. Again, only offer if you are able to do this.
– Ask, “What can I do?” They may need you to run an errand or something.
– If you work with the caregivers, offer to take on some of their workload.
– Bring tissues with lotion. (This was the first thing I sent my husband out for.)

Overall, try to understand that this is likely the most stressful thing the family could go through. Don’t be offended if someone snaps and yells at you. It’s not you. Please try to understand that no matter how close of a family member you are these suggestions (and anything else the family says) apply to you too.

Gram

As most of you know my Gram passed away a couple of weeks ago. She was an amazing little lady. A lot of people had great things to say about her as we honored her life. She was a fantastic role model for me. Here are some of the things I learned from her:

– Always keep a clean house, you never know who might show up.
– Don’t wait until later, if you can get out of the way now.
– Be happy with what you have.
– People will always appreciate a good meal.
– Help people out whenever you can, God will bless you for it.
– Don’t worry, be happy (yes, she loved the song 🙂
– Don’t keep a lot of junk around, eliminate.
– Say what’s on your mind. Might as well.
– Share.

Of course, there are countless others, most involve translation from Italian, but you get the idea.

She was a little lady, measuring about 4’7″. She lost her husband at 52 years of age, but she was still one of the most cheerful people I knew. She lead a life of service, always taking care of others. She is probably the only person I am SURE got into Heaven. She loved to tell stories. She cooked incredible food. She always had a hug for you. She will be greatly missed.

I think my Mom said it best, “For such a tiny lady, we’ve got some big shoes to fill.”

Here is a link to her memorial site: Lydia