Monday, March 10, 2014

How I Learned to Be A Friend

Wow. This last month, I have had an outpouring of love shown to me. I have learned how to be a friend from my friends.

First, I would like to apologize to anyone that has lost a loved one before. I don’t think I was the best of friends to you. I can’t remember what I said or did. That means, I probably wasn’t the best.

I’ve learned what to say and what not to say. It pained me when people were sad for me. I’d cry because they were crying!

Losing a loved one is hard. In the weeks leading up to Dad’s death, I had friends sending me notes in the mail. I love snail mail! They were just thinking of me. I had texts and phone calls.



When the day came, it was very sad. It hadn’t hit me yet. I went about doing my normal routine. I spent the next day getting ready for Dad’s memorial service.

I invited my friends to come to Dad’s memorial service. I didn’t expect the numbers to show up like they did.  It was a great feeling to have support there.
  1.      Attend the Memorial Service

In the weeks after, I received numerous cards in the mail. That’s one thing I will remember to do. Just the thought of knowing people were praying for my strength, was comforting.



      2.      Mail a Card


One friend sent little notes every few days. I loved them. Her son drew me a picture to make his mommy’s friend feel better.

In the most recent note, she sent a whole bunch of silly jokes. I shared them with my mom. She laughed and cried at the thoughtfulness. Mom shared with me that when my brother died, she would watch comedy shows late at night to help her.

       3.       Tell Funny Jokes

It may feel silly to tell jokes, but people that are grieving need a break from their tears. My sisters were good at cracking jokes at the house. We needed to laugh.



Some friends offered to bring meals. None were planned, and all were appreciated. I usually make big lunches for Mr. JCrew and myself to take to work with us during the week. For two weeks after Dad’s death, I didn’t cook a thing. I didn’t feel like it. I just gave him money and he had no problem going out to eat for lunch. I packed random snacks that amounted to little of nothing to take to work. Having meals for dinner prepared, ensured we got something good in us.

      4.       Bring a Meal



It has amazed me how many people are still checking in. My Dad’s best friend here in town called my mom everyday in the weeks leading up to my dad’s death and the week after. He has been amazing. My mom  has a special friend back home in Florida that always writes a card for anniversaries of deaths and birthdays of the family members that are gone. She has never missed a year. And with Dad’s birthday so close to his death, she sent my mom a message on Dad’s birthday to say she was thinking of her. I still get occasional “checking in” messages that I appreciate. The good days are outnumbering the bad days. And I’m happy I can report that. I want to always remember to check in with my friends days/weeks/months after a tragic event. The pain doesn’t go away, and they will always find comfort in a phone call.

     5.      Check In Frequently (Don’t forget about them)
     6.      Remember Dates (birthday’s / death)



The best things were random acts of kindness. My best friend and neighbor brought delicious treats over. Her daughter and mom had a baking weekend, and they brought us over some of their creations on Monday. Then the day that my dad died, I had warm muffins waiting on my doorstep when I got home at 6AM. I brought those back over to my mom’s house for my sisters and mom to enjoy. It was little things like that that made me feel so loved and cared for.

      7.       Make and Deliver Unannounced Treats


It’s hard to tell when someone is ready to get back out into the world after a tragic event. It almost felt wrong to be happy, but I needed to be for my boys. They were definitely feeling stressed from everyone around them being sad. I’ve continually invited my mom to outings and she declines and accepts as she can. She knows what she can handle. A little trip to the bird store, and little breakfast at a restaurant, anything to get her out of the house and get her mind in a different place is a good thing. Two precious friends gave us gift cards to go out to get our nails done, so we did!



      8.      Send Invitations to Get Out of the House


Another thing I have really appreciated, is the memories people tell me. My dad was a giving man and helped many people. My dad was also social and talked to everyone. It has been so uplifting to hear the impact he had on people’s lives with just little gestures. My old neighbor from back home, told me of his memory of my dad. How my dad would see him working on his truck and my dad would come over and help. My neighbor said he was a punk kid back then and didn’t deserve my dad’s kindness, but that was Dad! Another childhood friend, told me how my dad (and Mom) helped her parents a long time ago, and ever since then, she has loved my parents and been so thankful for them. It’s touching stories and memories that I love to hear. Knowing my dad was loved by other people than just me, is so comforting.

      9.      Share Your Memories


One last thing that has helped me be strong is to be told how strong I am. I want to be strong, but when I’m sad, I don’t feel it. I felt like I was breaking down and crying all the time. And I was. I told Mr. JCrew how I thought I was strong, but I couldn't keep it together. He told me it was okay to cry. I was normal. I was still a strong person, and strong people can cry. I had a friend tell me how amazed she was at how strong I was. She heard how sad I was in our conversations, yet she told me I was strong… so I believed her. It gave me a boost. I needed to be strong for my mom. I needed to be ready to be there for her.


      10.       Tell Them How Strong They Are


I have learned so much on how to be a friend. I cannot say, “Thank you” enough to all my special friends. I have been amazed at the outpouring of love shown to me and my family. In a time of such grief, we are thankful. Thankful for the time we have and the people we have by our side. Grieving is not an easy process, but the healing takes place with such wonderful friends.

Now I want to pay attention to those around me. They may not be grieving a death, but whatever they are sad about, I want to be the type of friend that I have. I want to make someone’s heart feel warm. I want to be the bright spot in their day. 

2 comments:

  1. i love you linds and am so grateful to have you as a friend. you are such a blessing to me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are the blessing, my friend. I am fortunate to have you.

      Delete

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