Three card catalogs arrived in the mail this week. (The outside design was the same on every single one of them, down to the little discount cards stuck on front!) I saw them and felt…overwhelmed. I have not sent out a card since Art died!
If you have a friend who has cancer or whose husband has died, or __________ (name of tragedy here), helping with holiday cards can be huge. But before you bring out your Ansel Adams/Martha Steward, be sure to:
Make sure she wants to send cards out!
Don’t assume anything! If she’s up for it, there are any number of things you can do to help. Here’s a quick but not all encompassing list:
Help her select the photo to use
Help her write the note she wants to include
Help her print out the address labels
Help her lick all of the envelopes
Pick one, pick them all. Just do something. And….
Send HER a holiday card
There is nothing more lonely than getting a bunch of holiday cards one year, and then get very few the next year because people don’t want to be insensitive.
Being insensitive is making an assumption about what is good for her. Getting your holiday card can make her feel loved, included and not forgotten.
Keep their gaming thumbs strong, arrange car pools to AND from school, playdates, camps, practice and/or lessons.
Don’t wait for her to ask.
When a family is dealing with death or a parent or sibling is diagnosed with cancer, she may not have thought about car pooling or she may feel it’s a burden to ask for more help. So take the initiative and offer to arrange rides for her kids. When making arrangements remember the following:
Complete the job! Make sure that pick up and drop off are covered.
Let her know what time to her kids will be picked up and more importantly, what time they will be dropped off.
If she does not already have them, make sure she has contact information for the drivers!
Make sure that every one knows to drop off the kids and NOT STAY. Uninvited guests are exhausting when a person is in crisis.
On a normal, non-crisis day, getting kids to and from their various commitments requires an Masters in Strategic Planning. Help her focus on more important things. Arrange car pool.
Sometimes doing the simplest things can be overwhelming.
Help your friend out in making summer plans for her kids in what ever way you can. Helping with summer, winter or spring break camp registration is big. And by all means, don’t do it alone – get the support you need from her friends to get things done! Can you:
Take her child camp shopping?
Run an errand or twenty?
Fill out the registration forms?
Make a check list so she can keep track and then check in a few days before everything is due?
Be her sanity sounding board? “Is 15 pairs of underwear too much?”
Fire up that pen and get writing in her place!
This month’s theme: How to Help A Family In Crisis
I like movies cause I really relate to a character or two. When the movie ends, I’m like “Wait, what was I just doing?” And I realize I thought I WAS in the movie. That was “what I was just doing!” Movies offer a great escape from life.
So give her the gift of a free escape and buy her a movie gift certificate.
If she has kids, double it! One for just her and one for the kids.
Begin able to escape cash free makes it even sweeter. Let her be Jennifer Anisten for 1 hour and 55 minutes.
This month’s theme: Is that Cuba Gooding? How to Keep Her Entertained in a Crisis
Nothing beats a good escape when one is in crisis. A good movie, book or song can do a lot to relieve the stress of living in the day-to-day strain of a life-in-crisis. You can help her escape by providing her with entertainment.
Quddus (of MTV Total Request Live fame) and I at the Soho House
No tap dancing skills necessary.
The goal is to offer her some type of entertainment that will serve as her “Calgonite” and “take her away” for an hour or two. (If you are under 35, YouTube “Calgonite.”) Find a way to entertain her but note:
There is no need to sensor the kinds of entertainment you gift her. If it makes her cry that is probably a good thing! Crying heals.
If you want her input, ask her simple yes-no questions. Remember a crisis fries the brain. Make it easy for her and keep it simple. “Do you want this movie or this other movie?” is much better than asking “What movie do you want to see?”
This month’s theme: Is that Cuba Gooding?: How to Keep Your Friend Entertained.