Whew - these last two weeks have been a blur and one of the things that happened was my cousin taking her little daughter off life support and the subsequent funeral.
All of that really made me think about what we do as a family to comfort the grieving.
We've experienced so many losses ourselves in the now 12 1/2 years we've been married - 3 grandparents, 4 uncles, 6 cousins, and numerous friends and further flung family.
What have I appreciated during those times? What have I not appreciated? What was necessary? What was nice but ultimately not necessary? What was helpful?
My short list of things that I really and truly appreciated and were comforted by was this:
None of these things need to cost money, only time.
Attending the funeral of the mother of some dear friends of ours and stopping, calling or emailing to see who they were was far more appreciated by the friends than the dinner we brought over (the dinner was a nice extra).
Calling my aunts on their daughter's birthdays and saying "I'm thinking of you and wondering how you're doing." was more appreciated than the sympathy cards I'd written at the time of the funeral. Making sure someone stops in to see my Uncle on his son's birthday is also appreciated (he lives well out of town or I'd go myself and he's now deaf so I can't call him).
Note cards saying I'm thinking of you and praying are cheap and so is postage. An email would work and be free of cost too.
I've realized through the last several years that companionship and the knowledge that others care and understand that you are hurting is far more important than impressive flower displays, monetary donations, and funeral attendance.
Meals so I didn't have to cook, the dear 14-year-old neighbor boy who brought over Halloween candy so my children wouldn't miss Halloween one year, and lovely plants are all nice and very much appreciated. What I appreciated more was the knowledge the someone cared enough to bring them or send them.
Comforting someone who is grieving doesn't have to be expensive, it only has to come from the heart and take a little time.
For more Frugal Friday, check out Life as Mom.