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How To Respond When Someone Dies

My husband’s mother recently died and, although they were not close, it had an impact on him.

Sadness crept in and a sense of wondering what to do. We had gone to visit her in another state a month earlier as she had started hospice and we knew the end was near.

People who know my husband know he is a quiet and reserved person, so most chose to send him a text and he responded to each one.

But what else can people do when they aren’t sure exactly how to respond when someone dies?

I have five very simple suggestions:

  1. Call them. Instead of texting, which seems to be more common these days, people need to hear the voice of others saying “we heard your mother died, how are you doing?” Allow the person to talk if they have something to say. You can also share a memory of the person if you have one ~ but, if you don’t have a memory to share, it’s okay to have the conversation be short. It’s not about length of time on the phone but more about checking in to let them know you care and are aware of the situation.
  2. Send flowers. I would wait a couple days or even a week or two to send flowers. This shows you have not forgotten that they are going through a time of grieving. We received the bouquet below and it lasted almost two weeks and served as a reminder that we were thought of.
Sympathy Flowers

3. Send a card. My husband received many of his cards 1-2 weeks after his mother died and they are still on display. Again, a reminder that someone thought of him and cared to send a message.

Sympathy Cards

4. Deliver food or have it delivered. I know this sounds strange to some, but we had a cousin send us a delivery from a company called Wolferman’s which included breakfast muffins and a frozen quiche. Every time we have breakfast we think of the thoughtfulness of that cousin.

5. A year later ~ do one of the above. Although the person has been dead for a year the anniversary of a person’s death is fresh in a person’s mind. I have a friend who, 10 years after his wife has died, still grieves for her so I call him on that day and we share memories of her.

Some feel awkward to call or send something, but small kindnesses really help a person who is grieving.

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Assisted Living Quilts

My husband’s stepmother and her sister live in an assisted living facility in a suburb of Chicago.

Not too long ago she mentioned that they could use new bedspreads for their bed. I stayed silent as I had already started quilts for them and it was supposed to be a surprise.

On our next visit with them, we presented them with the quilts. I had made a quilt with butterfly fabric for his stepmother and a quilt with cat fabric for her sister.

Cat Fabric Quilt

Cat Fabric Quilt

I made the back of the cat fabric quilt all one color with the except of adding strips of fabric from the front. It came out quite nice.

Cat Fabric Quilt

To my surprise, the stepmother claimed the cat quilt. She simply loved the fabric on it and told her sister that “the blue one is a better match for you.”

Butterfly Fabric Quilt

Butterfly Fabric Quilt

I found it comical as they are always debating back and forth on things in a sisterly kind of way.

For the cat fabric quilt, I made up a pattern ~ just measured how much I would need for a twin bed and decided on how to cut the fabric.

The butterfly quilt was a pattern that I had used a long time ago and is really easy to make as you can use fabric scraps. Unfortunately I don’t have the a link to share with you on where I found it.

I have made nursing home quilts and have found that the easier the better. The people in nursing homes aren’t picky with what they get, but they are thankful.

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A Prayer at Sunset

Sunset at South Ridge Park, Hoffman Estates

Lord Jesus ~ continue to remind me that You are in control.

I can trust You when things around me fall apart.

Help me to fix my eyes on You the One who has sustained me and given me strength. Help me to love those who are called unloveable and to reach my hand out to them as You have so often reached Your hand out to me.

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Of Neighbors and Good Deeds

Have you ever … eaten a crepe cake?

The neighbor across the street from us, who loves to bake, brought two slices over the other day from a cake she had made. It was light and delicious.

The cake is made by making very thin crepes then layering them with “frosting” which was made with very little sugar. Later she brought the recipe over and I must say, it looks like it’s very easy to make. A search on the internet also shows many recipes.

We have very sweet neighbors.

Crepe Cake

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Mago Grill Review

We recently were looking for a place to eat in Arlington Heights, Illinois and came across the Mago Grill restaurant.

When we arrived they were still setting tables up outside, but we were seated immediately.

Our waiter came and poured water for us and took our drink and dinner selections.

The outdoor ambience was really nice while we were there but the sky was blue and the imminent rain shower that threatened drifted by.

This is not your “typical” Mexican restaurant as we soon found out. The menu is clear on what you get though.

My friend ordered the Arroz Con Pollo which is baked in a flaky pastry. It is much different than what I grew up with. Different but delicious.

Arroz Con Pollo In Pastry Puff

The dish I ordered, which was also quite delicious, was the Fillete Churrasco. I had asked for it to be cooked well done and most times it comes either burnt or overcooked. This time I was pleasantly surprised as it was well done and juicy.

Fillete Churrasco

Since I didn’t want the mashed potatoes, I asked if I could substitute them for the sweet plantains ~ I was accommodated with no extra charge.

We will definitely return to dine here again. Both service and food were great!

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God and Beauty

Deep Purple Hyacinth

Spring! I enjoy watching as the flowers come up from the ground. Such a beautiful dark purple hyacinth color ~ they look so majestic.

“In the beginning, God created … “

With all the turmoil in the world, I love how God puts me in the path of beauty that brings hope and gratitude to my heart.

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Brokenness and Hope

Sunset

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to look at our broken world and wonder if there’s any hope. But it starts with us ~ each one reaching one.

This quote resonated with me:

“When you’re overcome with the weight of the world’s brokenness, do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. For one, you can love, serve, and walk alongside to wholeness, freedom, and health. For one, you can raise a banner of respect, hope, and justice.” Wisdom by the Vineyard.

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Loving Shallowly

Mount Pilchuck, Washington

I recently received an email with an offer to order a new book written by Francis Chan. The book is called Until Unity.

One of the quotes mentioned by Chan in this email was:

We divide easily because we love shallowly.

Isn’t that the truth? If our love weren’t so shallow our division would be, could I say, non existent.

Yet as humans we wallow around looking at each other and pointing in judgment at all the things someone says or does.

Have we as Christians not spent enough time with Jesus to know how we should treat each other?

I pray that we are able to show God’s love to others ~

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Of Geese and Hope

As the geese wait for the ice to melt, so the world waits for the COVID virus to “melt” away. Yet ~ how much work is still be necessary.

Geese On Icy Lake

Grief ~ sometimes unrecognized ~ has set in to so many people’s hearts.Grief of time lost with loved ones, lack of human touch, physical and emotional death. Even spiritual death in some cases as questions of “where was/is God in all of this?” have arisen.I have seen people who I thought were level headed turn into angry and sometimes act, do I dare say it, nuts? Lack of reasoning sometimes looks like reasoning in our turbulent world.

I look forward to a time where we can empathize and sympathize in more tangible ways for, let’s face it, we have not walked in each other’s shoes. It is only as we “rub” shoulders with people that we can have any understanding of why they think/act as they do.

As society “opens up” this will hopefully be less difficult for us to do. Let’s choose to allow ourselves to become vulnerable ~ to see people and love them as Jesus did and perhaps, yes, perhaps there is hope for us.Let us be what has been called “balcony” people. Cheering and affirming each other on instead of “basement” people, drawing people downwards with criticism and judgments. I’m excited to see how people have changed in this pandemic and am ready to do my part in helping us all move forward in hope, compassion and love.

How about you?

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