What can we do? How can we help? Part 1

Many have asked so many times “What can we do?” “How can we help?” “What do you need?” or”Please give me the opportunity to serve?” These requests are all from people able and willing to help and yet at a time when I feel my world is falling apart, I can’t think of a single thing for them to do.

Learning to ask for help and allowing people to help is a process, and most days I honestly just don’t know what I need. I’m aware that sounds stupid and probably hard to understand, but I am in survival mode most of the time and to attempt to figure out our needs can be strangely overwhelming. Some days I can’t see past the next hour, or even that very second, let alone what help I might need in a week. Chances are  I won’t ever come up with something and it’s not because I don’t trust people or that I couldn’t use the help. I just honestly don’t know what I need.

My lack of direction hasn’t stopped others from finding different things to do to help! It’s been seven years of fighting cancer, and so over the years we have been the recipient of so much service, here are some ideas from people who have gone beyond me asking and found a way to lighten our burden:

  • Food – “The secret ingredient is one heaping teaspoon of love”
    • Offer to bring over Olive Garden for dinner, to top it off take their kids, and leave candles and a lighter;
    • Drop off a gift card to a pizza place, root beer, and ice cream;
    • Ask them when you can bring a meal, don’t ask if they need food because everyone eats, just ask what day would work to bring dinner or ask a specific day that works best for you.
    • Watch facebook and when things seems particularly hard, or around time they have chemo reach out to see which day works best to drop off a meal;20161004_180513
    • Make a frozen meal and drop it off anytime, this gives them the chance to save it for a particularly rough day, or maybe on a day that unexpected things came up. Coordinating schedules and trying to find a day that the meal is needed the most can sometimes be difficult, but they eat every day and so having meals on hand can be helpful;
    • Put instructions on the meal to warm/cook, either written directly on the foil or taped onto it somehow;
    • If they have food allergies, include packages of things you used and/or a list of ingredients. This help relieves the worry of whether or not it is okay for the family to eat;
    • Bring Treats! Cookies, Brownies, oranges (one of my kid’s favorite treat was a box of oranges!), Oreos, fruit, starburst, etc. We had some treats that were dropped off that fit our allergy friendly mold and others that didn’t, but the fact people dropped them off meant a lot.
  • Send Letters/Cards of encouragement “If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it.” – Ruthie Lindsey20160213_193742
    • Letters to the Patient, Spouse, or the kids is a great way to lift each of them. They are all in this together and all of them could use a fun letter;
    • When the Broncos won the Super Bowl Travis’ LDS mission president (or his wife!) sent him the Newspapers from Denver and a sweet simple note;
    • It is amazing how often I have had an especially difficult day and I’ve come home to a letter or a card on my doorstep or in my mailbox. They were simple but meant the world to me. Do not underestimate a card that lets them know they are loved, inspire you, or they are in your prayers.
  • Happy packages “Choose Happy Everyday”
    • Coming home from a long day and having a package full of odds and ends can cheer just about anyone up. My sister has sent multiple packages of sunshine, where she coordinated things that were yellow! Notebooks and pens that are small enough to put in a purse for taking to the hospital are great little gifts, a lotion, a magazine, a cute word block, etc.
    • Packages for the kids are fun too. Having someone else put thought into the kid’s entertainment is so much appreciated. Things that they can do, not only helps those caring for them but gives them something exciting to open. Whether it be a new toy or coloring pages. It’s something to brighten their day!
  • Leave Notes on their door! “Throw Kindness around like confetti”
    • Heart attacks, welcome home messages after a hospital stay, and happy birthday notes! It always means a lot to come home to so much love!

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I’ll post a few more soon, so stay tuned! 🙂

Copyright © Stacy Fredericks 2017, All rights reserved

3 thoughts on “What can we do? How can we help? Part 1

  1. I think asking someone in crisis what they need can be a little like asking someone who is drowning to organize and coordinate their own rescue effort. It is well intentioned and probably something most people haven’t through unless they have been there, but people in crisis are most often overwhelmed with the details of life.

    I’ve struggled with what to do for people over the years and have learned a lot by praying for direction and watching the wonderful things others have come up with. Some people have come up with things I never would have thought of. It’s amazing to note that often the ones who serve are those who have been through their own struggles. A lot of lessons are learned in the midst of struggle, including how to serve others.

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. As always, you expressed yourself beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree! It is so hard to know what needs to be done. You have been so great to be so involved that you can see the drowning and know how to help! You are a wonderful example to me and a huge support!


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