It is with so much sadness, that I share what’s happened in my personal life over the past week. My brother-in-law had a sudden heart attack and died, leaving behind my sister (& best friend) and her three kids, aged 9, 14 and 17. This is them last summer.
I have never written a post like this before, but through the process of loss, there have been a few things that have come up that I thought might be helpful to share.
Take SO many photos (& videos):
My sister is a photographer and if there is anything she feels grateful for right now, it is for the hundreds of photos she has of her husband and her family. Her kids have photos to tell stories about, pour over in their darkest hours and memories to hold forever. She has had family photoshoots taken by professional photographers and these sessions are valued beyond belief. Videos capture voice and personality in an even greater way. So, get our your cameras and snap away making sure you and your partner are in the shots too.
Having important documents labelled and organized helps those around you at all times of life, even when you are no longer here. When systems are clear and in place, it makes the inevitable process of form completion and documentation so much easier throughout the most challenging times. Digital organization is just as important as paper-based.
Food is a fabulous love language:
Within hours of the tragic news, close friends dropped off a block freezer and started filling it with food. Hot meals, freezer meals, general groceries and fresh food platters started to arrive. In that moment, I realized, food is the most logical (and such an appreciated!) way to show love. It is so helpful. If you have a friend or family member going through a heartbreaking time, dropping off a meal that can be enjoyed now or used later is such a great way to give.
While each child copes differently and processes at different times, play is a beautiful way to connect. With younger kids, reach out and set up play dates. With older ones, invite them for a movie date. Any distraction that can allow a break for the mind is a welcome way to show kids that you care and a great way for them to connect with their friends.
Think longer term:
While the initial outpouring of love is amazing, I can’t help but think of ways that will be helpful longer term. Set a reminder once a month over the next 24 months to drop off a meal or have a grocery gift card or gift certificate to a local restaurant mailed to the family every 3 or 6 months.
Most importantly of all, just be. Be you - the sibling, parent, child, or friend you are. Your friendship is what is most valuable of all.
In search of ways to help, I’ve set up a GoFundMe page for my sister and her family. Thank you to those who have already reached out. Your kindness and generosity is so very much appreciated.