Grief - Things to do List

Have a friend in crisis? Here is a list of things you may want to consider:

1. Listen to the person. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately. Simple nods of your head and "um," and "uh huh," may be all the communication needed. Listening doesn't mean you have to give advice and it doesn't mean you have to try to solve his/her problems. Nor does it mean you should list all the reasons why that person shouldn't feel the way he/she does. It means just sitting back and letting the other person pour his or her heart out. Let your friend express how he or she feels. If it's good stuff, say how happy you are that this is so. If it's bad stuff, say how sorry you are that he or she has to go through it all. "How awful for you." "I don't think I could be so strong." The old adage, "A closed mouth gathers no feet" is a good one. If you listen before you speak, you'll have a better chance of saying the right thing.

2. Tell the person how much he or she means to you. Explain how the person has influenced your life, and what you admire most about him or her.

3. Write a letter. Don't know what to say? Get Joyce Landorf Heatherley's book Special Words: Notes for When You Don't Know What to Say.

4. Ask him or her to do you a favor (drive your carpool, take you to a doctors appointment, etc.)

5. Borrow something (sugar, eggs, etc., but not money). This gives you an opportunity to check on your friend to see how he/she is doing and allows time for comfortable, non- threatening conversation.

6. Show up at your friend's house and say "I'm yours for two hours, what have you got for me to do?"

7. Bring your old magazines to someone who could use them (a shut in, someone in the hospital, someone who loves to read but can't afford magazines, or a teenager who might like to clip photos or phrases for a scrapbook).

8. Forgive. Decide today that you will forgive that person who has offended you, even if that person has never apologized. Forgive and forget it. Get over it and do something nice for them.

9. Compliment someone. Think about the qualities you admire in the people you know and tell them. When someone looks good, say so.

10. If you are a religious person, pray for those about whom you are concerned. Just by doing this simple task, you will feel more love for them. Later, when you are able to do more, you will do it with even greater love in your heart. This is a wonderful thing that can be done by people who are not able to get out to serve others.

11. Invite your friend to join you when you: -jog -walk -ride bikes (your own or rent) -play tennis, golf, etc. -try something new like roller skating -ice skating -go on a picnic to a local park, lake or beach -go to an art museum -go to a benefit luncheon, home tour, etc. -go to church or church activities. -attend a fair or festival (there are interesting festivals all over the country strawberry, garlic, carrot, frog jumping, etc. check Sunset Magazine) -go to a rodeo -go to the hairdresser - get your friend an appointment at the same time - maybe have lunch afterwards -go shopping -go to the movies

12. Tend children so your friend can get away for awhile.

13. Offer to pick up a carpool, or drive children to their after school activities.

14. Offer to drive your friend to the hospital, doctor appointments, etc.

15. Offer to do the grocery shopping. "Hi, I'm on my way to the grocery store. Make a list and I'll do yours while I'm there." This works better than, "Can I get you anything." They are less likely to turn you down.

16. Bring fruit or vegetables from your garden and add a recipe for how to prepare it. For instance, a basket of rhubarb and a recipe card for rhubarb pie or jam.

17. Take a jar of whatever you are canning, like hot pepper jelly, peaches, pickles, etc.

18. Pass on a favorite book.

19. Offer to water plants, pick up paper, and/or feed pets when your neighbors go on vacation.

20. Keep track of birthdays of friends and send cards and/or telephone them (sing happy birthday). See #37.

21. Send a funny card for no reason, but just to let them know you are thinking of them. Remember, cards are "hugs" in the mail.

22. "You are Special Plate." A red earthenware plate that has white printing on it that says "You are Special" can be purchased in many gift stores for about $30. It makes a great gift to a friend and your friend can use it in the family to reward children's accomplishments by letting them eat off the red plate on their birthday, when they get good grades, or for any occasion to make them feel special.

23. Pick up the phone and call to say you are thinking about that person. Call an old friend you haven't heard from in a long time.

24. "Doorbell Ditch." Leave a paper plate with any home-made goodie on someone's doorstep. Ring the bell and run like crazy so that person doesn't know who left it. Can you imagine them trying to guess who might have left it? When they are in Church on Sunday, they'll be looking around wondering, "Was it this person?" " Was it that person?" and feeling more and more loved. They can't have bad feelings about anyone, because that person might be the person who did it.

25. Pack a basket of delicious herbal tea, teacups, teapot, tea sandwiches and sweets, a tablecloth, napkins and flowers and have a "tea party." You can do it in a friend's kitchen, dining room, backyard, or drive to a local park. Include a gift box of the tea you selected or a cup and saucer as a remembrance of the day.

26. Ask your friend to let you know when his/her car needs servicing and help get his or her car to and from the service department.

27. If you have a special artistic talent, create something special for your friend. For example: -knit or crochet an Afghan -tie a quilt -hand paint a box -cover a box with buttons, jewels, etc. -a watercolor or oil painting -a floral arrangement -a holiday decoration -a panorama Easter egg

28. Does she "collect" anything? Add to her collection or start one: frogs, butterfly pins, cats, bees, swans, pigs, elephants, cows, teacups, teapots, commemorative plates, spoons, rocks, shells, stamps, coins, recipe books, matchbooks, pipes, putters, tools, the list is endless.

29. Bake a pie (go to an antique shop and buy a crocheted round to put it on. You should be able to find one for under $10).

30. Take a dessert (purchase a special pan to bake it in and give it as part of the gift) or cookies (on a platter which has her last name engraved on it).

Note: When you bring food to friends, either put it in containers that don't need to be returned to you, or be sure to come back within the week to pick up the container. Don't make it their responsibility to get it back to you.

31. Bring a dinner over. Or contact a few friends and each of you bring part of the dinner.

32. Invite the person to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Either at a quaint restaurant or at your home. Make it a party and invite a few friends.

33. Plan a "get away" just the two of you or add a friend or two. A day in the city. Two or three days at a local resort. A three day cruise. A beach house. A mountain cabin. A ski trip. Attend a seminar.

34. Take a class together. Aerobics, painting, crafts, CPR, cooking, anything you are both interested in. Check a local college or YMCA for a catalog of classes offered.

35. Have cards on hand to send for any occasion (and stamps) so when you want to send a card, you can. I have about 25 cards in a shoebox with index cards separating them into categories: birthdays, sympathy, thank you, get well, hospital, baby, wedding, Misc.

36. You can send a "warm fuzzy" to a friend on the internet by logging on: http://www.hubbe.net/fuzzy/form.html

37. Everyone has a birthday. If you really want to do something special for your friend. Give them a card on their birthday with a note in it telling them that this year they get to celebrate all year long. Then, each month, on the day of their birthday, send a funny card, or visit, or take them out to lunch, or bring a yummy treat (homemade is even better). I had a friend do this for me once and I really looked forward to the 9th of every month.

38. Send a little gift in the mail.

39. Send flowers (or bring them in person). They don't have to be from a florist, they can be hand picked from your garden.

40. When someone does something especially nice for you, show your appreciation by sending a note, flowers, or a box of candy.

41. If your friend won't, or can't, eat candy, give them a candy box full of golf balls, CD's, jewelry, etc.

42. Clever inexpensive gifts:
a. Give a box of "cheer." Use an empty cheer detergent box. Put things in it that will make your friend smile, i.e., A photo of the two of you doing something silly, favorite candy or cookies, a joke book, a gag gift, etc.
b. Bake a cake and attach a note saying, "You take the cake. (Or make it an angel food cake and say, "You're an angel."
c. Prepare a basket of really fattening goodies with a note Saying, "I've gained so much from our friendship...now it's Your turn."
d. Give a jar of freshly cracked nuts with a note saying, "I'd go nuts without you."
e. Make some homemade jam and attach a note saying, "Thanks For getting me out of a jam!"
f. "You're a souper friend" would be a great note to deliver with some home made soup.

43. Give a subscription to a magazine you know they'd like.

44. Get their car washed and gased.

45. Donate your old clothes to the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, or your local thrift shop. If you haven't worn something for the last two years, what makes you think you'll wear it next year? Someone out there needs it. Keep the receipt. It's tax deductible.

46. Join a volunteer organization.
If you don't know what you would like to do, read the social columns of your local newspaper. They are filled with news regarding your local charity organizations.
Find one that appeals to you. Look at the photos. Are you about the same age as the members? Would you enjoy working on their fundraiser? If so, contact any of the names listed in the article.
They would love to have you. Don't be discouraged if they put you off a few months. Some groups only take in new members during a certain month of the year. It's not you - it's their by-laws.

47. Donate blood. Call your local Blood Bank, community hospital, or the American Red Cross.

48. Educate yourself on your friend's disease. There are hundreds of excellent books to choose from. Check the bookstores in your area. If you can't afford to buy a book, check your local library. The more you know about the disease and what your friend is going through, the more help you can be.

49. Regardless of the diagnosis: Learn all you can about the disease. The more you know, the more help you will be to your friend.Your friend has a right to a second opinion. Encourage him to seek one from someone who specializes in that particular disease. Once he has selected the doctor and the treatment, respect his decision. Don't say, "I think you should check out Dr....," or, "So and so is doing such and such a treatment, you should try it." There are almost always treatment options. If your friend has heard all the options before deciding on his treatment, don't impose your own opinions to the contrary.

50. Stop thinking in terms of doing things that are important to you and start doing things because you know they are important to someone else.

51. Treat others the way you would want them to treat you.

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