If you are like most people, you may have already taken some time to write out your New Year’s resolutions, possibly mulling over the ones you didn’t complete last year. I’m sure that the goal to give back is somewhere on your list. But what happens if you are a busy working mom of four or a dad balancing two jobs just to support your family. That probably doesn’t leave you with much time to give back, but you still want to make a difference. There are people hurting all around us and all it takes is one kind gesture to change a person’s life.
Here at The WARM Place we get a lot of calls from people who know someone who is grieving and they just want to figure out how to help. Most of them refer their loved ones to our agency, but there are some who are out of the area and may not have a local grief support center near them. If you know someone like this, there is a way to help. You may not be able to volunteer five hours a week, but you can take the resources below and share them with a person who has experienced a recent death loss.
Here are some practical ways you can help.
1. Visit childrengrieve.org and click on “find support” to help locate a grief support center in their area. Stress can be overwhelming for someone who is grieving, so doing a search for them and calling to find out details can make things easier.
2. Offer a listening ear if they want to talk about their loved ones or the struggles that have happened after the death. Be sure that when you respond it is free from judgment or trying to “fix” things. Often, someone who is grieving just needs to express their emotions freely.
3. Offer a service. Ask the person if you can have a meal delivered or help pick up their children for the evening. Be sure to ask and not assume what their needs are. Every person’s grief journey is different and what may be comforting to one person may be cumbersome to the next.
4. Visit the resources page on our website to learn more about how children grieve, common questions they have, and recommended reading lists. Pass these links along to your loved one highlighting the information that would suit them best.
5. Remind them that self-care is important. During a loss, it is easy to worry about everyone else and their needs. You can remind your friend or family member to make sure they are valuing their health as a top priority. They can visit mindbodygreen.com to learn more about the steps to self-care.
Helping others in need doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. We hope these suggestions inspire you to give back in even the smallest of ways.
-Maria Montes, Volunteer Coordinator