Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Six years ago, my family received devastating news: our 5-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. Our world was officially turned upside down.

Well-meaning family, friends, and strangers alike turned out in droves with words of support, prayers, and offers to help. We are so fortunate to live in a society in which people help during crisis. However, many times it ends up being a bunch of people standing around because they don’t know what to do.

People say things like, My thoughts and prayers are with you. While that is nice to know, as my husband so bluntly pointed out, talk is cheap. They also say, Let me know if you need anything.

Many times, the person facing the crisis has no idea what they need. And if they are anything like me, they won’t ask anyway.

Honestly, I’ve been guilty of saying both of these, even since my son’s death. People we care about face so many hardships in their lives – from death, divorce, and illness to job loss, family trauma, and more. Many people feel simply helpless in the face of a crisis. Go ahead and offer your support, prayers, and love, but here are nine other practical things you can do to help a family facing a crisis.

1. Provide necessities.

Drop off some groceries, especially items that get used every day. You can never have enough bread, cereal, milk, laundry soap, toilet paper, and Kleenex.

2. Make a meal.

Bring a freezer-ready meal or all the fixings for a meal when they need it.

3. Coordinate with friends.

There are many meal sites like Meal Train and Take them a Meal which allow you to coordinate with members of a community or church to help a family. Check with your local grocery store to see if they will deliver a meal – many do.

4. Help with chores.

Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, clean a bathroom, vacuum, or fold some laundry. These are the last things that get done when a family is in crisis. You can even combine these with a much-needed visit.

5. Care for the kids.

If the family has children, offer to take them to the park, a movie, or out for ice cream. Offer to babysit for free if the parents need to go to an appointment or just need some time away. This is a treat for the children, too, who will be feeling the stress of the situation.

6. Offer to organize.

Paperwork and appointments can get overwhelming. Assist with combining all of these into one easy place. Help set up a grocery delivery, dry cleaning, house cleaning, or lawn service. Help them to get bills on autopay. Give them a system they don’t need to worry about.

7. Send a gift card.

Gift cards provide a handy and easy way to get a cup of coffee or a sandwich when it’s needed most – usually between appointments.

8. Be there to listen.

Or not. This is probably one of the hardest things to do. Sometimes we want to talk, cry, and work things out and need someone to just listen. Sometimes we’re tired of talking, but we don’t want to be alone. Be there for whatever they need.

9. Take no offense.

Never stop showing that you care. Corresponding on social media, sending a card or a text, or making a phone call to say you’re thinking of someone is always appreciated. Just don’t be upset if you don’t hear back. Know that they saw and appreciated your kind words. Send them again another day. You never know if that will be the day they need them the most.

Lastly, remember this one thing: anything you do out of genuine caring and kindness is never wrong. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

[adrotate banner=”82″]


So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow is a wife and mom to four teenage boys and one beautiful angel in Heaven, lost to cancer. Most days you can find her under a pile of laundry ordering take-out. She writes about what life is REALLY like after all your dreams come true. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Good Housekeeping, and Mamalode; but Her View From Home is her favorite place to be. Her blog is at www.lifewiththefrog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at Kissing the Frog.

I Loved You to the End

In: Grief, Living
Dog on outdoor chair, color photo

As your time on this earth came close to the end, I pondered if I had given you the best life. I pondered if more treatment would be beneficial or harmful. I pondered if you knew how much you were loved and cherished As the day to say goodbye grew closer, I thought about all the good times we had. I remembered how much you loved to travel. I remembered how many times you were there for me in my times of darkness. You would just lay right next to me on the days I could not get out of...

Keep Reading

I Hate What the Drugs Have Done but I Love You

In: Grief, Living
Black and white image of woman sitting on floor looking away with arms covering her face

Sister, we haven’t talked in a while. We both know the reason why. Yet again, you had a choice between your family and drugs, and you chose the latter. I want you to know I still don’t hate you. What I do hate is the drugs you always seem to go back to once things get too hard for you. RELATED: Love the Addict So Hard it Hurts Speaking of hard, I won’t sugarcoat the fact that being around you when you’re actively using is so hard. Your anger, your manipulation, and your deceit are too much for me (or anyone around you) to...

Keep Reading

Giving Voice to the Babies We Bury

In: Grief, Loss
Woman looking up to the sky, silhouette at sunset

In the 1940s, between my grandmother’s fourth child and my father, she experienced the premature birth of a baby. Family history doesn’t say how far along she was, just that my grandfather buried the baby in the basement of the house I would later grow up in. This was never something I heard my grandmother talk about, and it was a shock to most of us when we read her history. However, I think it’s indicative of what women for generations have done. We have buried our grief and not talked about the losses we have experienced in losing children through...

Keep Reading

I Asked the Questions and Mother Had the Answers. Now What?

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Older woman smiling at wedding table, black-and-white photo

No one is really ever prepared for loss. Moreover, there is no tutorial on all that comes with it. Whether you’ve lost an earring, a job, a relationship, your mind, or a relative, there is one common truth to loss. Whatever you may have lost . . . is gone. While I was pregnant with my oldest son, my mother would rub my belly with her trembling hands and answer all my questions. She had all the answers, and I listened to every single one of them. This deviated from the norm in our relationship. My mother was a stern...

Keep Reading

A Friend Gone Too Soon Leaves a Hole in Your Heart

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Two women hugging, color older photo

The last living memory I have of my best friend before she died was centered around a Scrabble board. One letter at a time, we searched for those seven letters that would bring us victory. Placing our last words to each other, tallying up points we didn’t know the meaning of at the time. Sharing laughter we didn’t know we’d never share again. Back in those days, we didn’t have Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat or whatever other things teenagers sneak onto their phones to capture the moments. So the memory is a bit hazy. Not because it was way...

Keep Reading

Grief Lingers in Hospital Walls

In: Grief, Loss
Hospital hallway

We drive by a hospital. It’s not the one my mother was in, but it still brings the same sting and reminders. It brings pain just looking in the windows, knowing what’s inside. Sickness. Death. Dying. Probably other things too, but my mind doesn’t know those. It knows the devastation of test results, and surgeries, and cancer—my mother’s cancer. It only took 10 seconds to pass that hospital as we drove on the interstate, but the feeling of that view is still sitting with me, just like grief has done since the moment my mother passed. RELATED: The Day She Dies It’s ironic...

Keep Reading

I Hope Heaven Looks like 3128 Harper Road

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Marriage
Husband and wife, posed older color photo

Jeannine Ann Eddings Morris grew up in western Kentucky as the oldest daughter of hard-working parents, who both worked at the Merritt Clothing factory. Jeannine was the oldest of 23 grandchildren who proudly belonged to John B. and Celeste Hardeman. John B. was a well-known preacher who traveled all over the South to share the gospel. Life as a child was as humble as one might expect for the 1940s. Jeannine was the oldest of four children, spanning a 13-year age range. To hear her talk, her childhood and teenage memories consisted of mostly reading every book she could find...

Keep Reading

I Didn’t Know Anxiety until I Knew Grief

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Woman crouched on ground by waterfront

If you had known me for the first 45 years of my life, you would say I was an extrovert. I loved going places, meeting new people, and striking up conversations with all ages. I talk a lot, often sharing too much in the way of being transparent. It’s been said that I have never met a stranger. Yes, I will admit, I am that woman you see in the grocery store line starting up conversations with the people around me. A few years ago, my life started changing, and I struggled with becoming introverted. Though I had once loved...

Keep Reading

Mom Showed Me What It Means to Be a Caregiver

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss
Grown woman with her mother smiling, color photo

My mother is an extraordinary woman. She inspires me to be a better person. She has spent seven years selflessly caring for my father after a horrific battle with Stage IV tongue cancer. During this time she would laugh with me, cry with me, and express her fears and frustrations with me. My mother is the definition of strength and courage while surrounded by heartbreak and human suffering. During the time my mother was taking care of my father she had her own health issues. Her colon perforated in 2012 making her critically ill. It’s nothing short of a miracle...

Keep Reading

Mom May Never See Our Home, but Her Love Lives Here

In: Grief, Loss
Cute and quaint house, color photo

To the average person, it was a typical Wisconsin Friday in October—wet, dreary, and a bit nippy. To my wife and me, it was a day of both elation and sadness. We put in an offer on a house we both loved. My wife spotted it a few days beforehand; we toured it alongside a couple of other options, and just knew it was the one. And we did it without our mothers. Her mother died seven and a half years before. At the end of October was the three-year anniversary of my mother’s death. There’s something to be said...

Keep Reading