I have spent the past two days crying over the loss of a fellow blogger Paul and Tiffany Ivanovskys loss of their precious daughter, Emma. Paul is well known for his blog, I Heart the Mart and Tiffany for My Litter . Their 15 year old daughter was killed in a tragic tractor accident on Monday. I can’t even fathom the gut wrenching pain the family is experiencing right now. The loss of the child is a parents worse nightmare that you never wake up from. The entire blogging community is pulling together, scrambling to find ways to help the family as they deal with this devastation. When a tragedy like this happens we all search for ways to help. Although there is nothing we can do to take the pain away or make it better, there are things we all can do to help someone deal with the loss of a loved one.
1. Arrange a Meal Sign Up.
When you are grieving the last thing you want to do is think about is, what’s for supper. Never mind finding the strength or energy to cook. Lottsa Helping Hands is FREE online calendar service that lets friends and family sign up for meal delivery’s. It is great because everyone can add what type of meal they are preparing so the family does not end up with 6 of the same casseroles in a row. You can also add notes like family’s favorite foods, allergies or diet restrictions. Ask the family how they would like the meals delivered. Everyone grieves differently and although you may want to drop the meal off in person and give them a big hug they may not want to see people right away. If that is the case, ask the family to assign a friend or neighbor to be the designated drop off and delivery person. When my neighbor’s lost their son they asked me to be the drop off person. I had people drop off to my house and then left the meals for the family on their counter. If they wanted to come out and see me fine, if not I quietly left. If the family prefers not to have a drop off person they can leave a cooler at the front door for volunteers to leave meals in. If possible, prepare meals in containers you do not wish to have returned. Be sure and add a a sticky note to the meal with any cooking instructions like reheat at 350* for 15 minutes.
Create a Shopping List Have a family member or close friend put a shopping list on the fridge so family members can write down what is needed. When you are grieving the last thing you want to do is head out to the store for more tissues, toilet paper, tampons or other staple items. If you come across people that want to help but don’t have the time to cook, let them pick up the staple items the family may need and leave them at the drop off location or schedule a Peapod delivery. Don’t forget the pets!
Skip the flowers
Flowers are beautiful and it may make us feel good to send them, but chances are the family will become flooded with flowers and it may become a burden on them. My husband works for the cemetery department and I can’t tell you how many flowers are tossed away after a funeral. Funeral arrangement flowers are extremely pricey and they look beautiful for a short time but then the family is left with the burden of what to do with them all. Consider asking for a monetary donation for the family in the obituary in lieu of flowers. A close friend or family member can go to the local bank and set up a memorial fund at no cost. You can include the link to the fund in obituary and/ or you can set up a GoFundme page.
Check in on the family well after the funeral
Often human instinct is to run over and pay your condolences in the days after a tragedy and as time passes you assume you should leave them alone when in fact they need you more as time passes. You may want to continue using the family meal calendar and adding chores to it. Plan ahead for leaf raking, dog walking, snow shoveling etc. Anything you can do to help ease some there burdens, but be sure to respect the privacy if they are not open to that. We all grieve differently so don’t assume anything, just listen and be there for them.
Plant a Memory Tree
The pain of loosing a child affects the entire community. Friends of the child will also feel helpless and want to help. When my neighbor Micheal died, we planted a tree in his memory and had his friends organize the tree planting ceremony. They all worked together planting the tree. They often stop by and hang out at the spot the tree was planted in and I believe it gives them comfort as well as a place to gather. Find something positive to get the kids in the community focused on to keep them busy. Reach out to all the kids involved. Let the kids come up with ways they can help. As hard as it was for me to deal with my neighbors death, I knew it had to be that much harder to deal with as a kid. Kids should not have to experience this pain so keep a close eye on all the children and let them know you are there for them.
If you have any other ideas that you think could help someone when they are grieving please share
How can you help the Ivanovsky Family;
Make a donation: Emma’s Go Fund Me Page
Send some traffic to Paul and Tiffanys websites and give them your love;