The Best #WaysToSupport in Grief

Click through to read about grief for people and relationships.

Two weeks ago my family suffered a sudden and tremendous loss. My only aunt died while mowing her yard one Saturday morning. That day, phone calls from members of my family, text messages and the simple words, “I love you” took on new meaning. My kids lost a great-aunt who was the epitome of southern hospitality. My mother lost her only sister. My three first cousins lost their mom. The mom that each of them had spoken to the day before, only to realize they would never speak to her again.

From time to time I’ve written about my cousins, because as an only child, they have been everything to me. I wrote a poem for them that was recited at my wedding, I say the term like a badge of honor, and when they hurt, I hurt. All of them. Even though there are hundreds, I believe they all hung the moon. If there is such thing as cousin hierarchy though, my three first cousins sit at the top of the food chain. On sibling day, I celebrate them. My kids refer to them as their uncles and aunts, and since I’m the youngest, there is not a problem in the world that they can’t solve. When I had cancer, we held a conference call to talk about my treatment options and prognosis. I trust them.

Because they hung the moon. And people who hung the moon can do anything.  Continue reading “The Best #WaysToSupport in Grief”

2015: People Over Things

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The last quarter of the year is good for reflection on the current year and setting goals for the coming year. We only have about 10 weeks left in 2015, and I’m now considering my phrase for this year. People over things.

I feel the need to dig a little deeper to let you know the the People Over Things concept wasn’t easy for me to come by. I only selected it after wrestling with the idea that I couldn’t select one word to guide my year.

You see in past years I found  one word to set the tone. For 2013 and 2014, I  used inspire and unfiltered. This year, I wasn’t quite as brief and I had a hard time coming up with one word.

Just one word.

I kind of thought that maybe my word this year should have been verbose. Seeing as how I struggled with the one word task.

And you know, my lack of one word has stressed me out the entire month of January.

And all I could come up with was a phrase.

People, over things.

This year, I planned to improve the quality of my relationships with others. I want the people in my circle to know that I love them unconditionally. I want my children to know that it’s the quality of our relationships that matter. And most importantly, when I go to sleep every night, I want to my heart to to fill full of memories with those within my circle and who I pray for diligently.

When I pray each morning and set my intentions for the day, the week, or whatever, I want to ask God to show me ways I can be of service to the people around me…especially my family. Especially the three people who call me mom, the same three people whose hormones are raging, who argue constantly, and who think I am old-fashioned.

In my own praying and journaling about this, I’ve discovered that sometimes, just sometimes, my outreach to the world is plenty, but in my own household is filled with exhaustion, complaining, and demanding.

So this year, I did it, People Over Things. Here are some of the things I’ve changed in my own life as a result:

  1. I sent thinking of you cards to family members via U.S. snail mail.
  2. I committed to being available to picking my kids up from school every day.
  3. I keep a stack of greeting cards I’ve received near my bed and say special prayers each day for those who sent them.
  4. I thought really hard, and even prayed over it, every time I bought a gift for someone else. I asked God to guide me in the selection of said gift and happiness it would bring the receiver.
  5. If there was someone who “I had been meaning to….” I would do it. Make the telephone call, buy a gift for the baby that was born three years ago, offer to babysit for the friend who had an unreasonably busy schedule.
  6. Designate a time each day to catch up via telephone with my friends. For me, it happens about 8 am right after I drop the kids off at school. My calls are intentional and there’s no shade if I don’t get to talk to someone. I simply move on to the next person I’m thinking about and make the call. It’s just that simple. Every morning at 8:00 am.

And the biggest, perhaps best thing I can related to People Over Thngs, is continue to do it next year, increase the things I do and encourage others to do the same.

Welcome to my new, free email course.

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So that’s how I continue this. I continue what I’m doing in 2015, I find new things that can be done in 2016, and I teach others how to do it along the way.

People over things.