WFMW: Helping a Grieving Family

This week’s WFMW is a “Greatest Tips” edition, meaning that we link to our best tip ever. This is definitely mine – I get the most Google hits to my blog based on this post. My mom passed away in July, and I wrote this the week after to give people some ideas of ways to help. I hope it’s something that you can use!

Since we’ve just been through this with the death of my mom last week, I thought it would be a good time to share some things that really “worked for us.” And I just couldn’t come up with a decent title for this, so please excuse it’s awkwardness.

There were SO many people who stopped by the house with food – meat trays, fruit trays, casseroles, etc. – and that was so very appreciated. It is such a huge blessing not to have to worry about food when you’re dealing with the death of a loved one. Plus, other family members come and go throughout the week, so it’s nice to have something to offer people when they’re over.

In addition to the food we received, we also got lots of other great stuff to help us out, so I thought I’d pass these ideas along as alternatives to “dinner” food…some of these are food ideas, but maybe different than what you’d usually think to bring. And, maybe everyone else has thought of these ideas but me, but here they are anyway:

*Coolers full of drinks, which was a big help, since there was so much family in and out through the week. We just kept these in the garage, and always had something to offer guests.

*Snacky-type foods, like homemade salsa and chips, and stuff that was easy to pick up and eat like little tortilla wraps and veggie pizza.

*Breakfast food. Always a hit. We had egg casseroles and biscuits and gravy.

*Paper products, including cups, plates, silverware, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, and ziploc bags.

*Stamps. There are so many thank you notes to send, and it’s nice to not have to run directly to the post office to get them. Plus, these slip into a card so easily, so if you live out of town, this is a great way to help!

*My sister-in-law’s sister brought us a gift bag of snack foods for the boys (even Gerber puffs for Jack Henry!) as well as a new DVD for them to watch. It was so thoughtful, and it kept them busy for a little bit while we were taking care of things.

Know what REALLY works for me? People taking care of each other when it’s needed, in whatever form that takes. Taking the time to send flowers or a card, especially one that you’ve written a Bible verse in, or a memory you have of the person who died, can really mean a lot to someone who is hurting.

For more tips, go to We are THAT Family.

20 responses to “WFMW: Helping a Grieving Family

  1. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I’ll pray for comfort for you & your family. Thank you for this wonderful post on how we can reach out to those in need.

  2. What a great post idea. I lost my mom four years ago and my dad in March. So many people want to help, but just don’t know what to do. When someone asks me, I always tell them wait for things to settle down and just call them and check on them or tell them a story about their loved one. The hardest times are when everyone leaves your normal routine is never the same after that loss. You have to create a new normal. God bless you and your family during this dificult time!

  3. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you for taking this time to share with others what works for you. I pray that God gives you and your family comfort. Sounds like He has surrounded you by a wonderful group of caring/helpful friends.

  4. I’m sorry about your Mom.

    Thank you for sharing things that have helped your family. I never know what to do for a friend who is grieving, but now I have some ideas.

  5. Excellent tips here. I never know what to do/what to bring. And I’m just not the type of cook to do the typical casserole-ish thing. Stamps, paper products, snack foods, DVD’s. I can totally handle that.

    And please accept my condolences. I appreciate you sharing this information on the heels of your loss.

  6. i never thought of stamps…that’s a great idea.

  7. What a wonderful post. Every time we have a need to do something for a family in need I’m left wondering what would be most appreciated. Thank you for your insight.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother.

  8. Sorry for your loss. It sounds like you are bless with an extended network of friends and family that wrapped their arms around you and loved you. Thanks for the tips on how to help out in the future.

  9. These are wonderful tips! Thank you for sharing!

  10. If so sorry about your mother. These are great tips you are sharing!

  11. I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. I’ll be keeping you and your family in my prayers. This was helpful. My best friend lost her dad in May and all I can think to do is call her once in a while, but I want to do more. Thank you.

  12. I’m so very sorry for the loss of your mother. It is such a difficult and painful time, I will keep you in my prayers. Take time for yourself and keep her memory alive by talking about her and remembering special time shared.
    May I offer a suggestion to you and your family.
    I am a published author and have written a book titled: “I’ll Love You Forever” It is a true story of my father’s last nine months of life and a miracle that he received before his passing. I wrote his story to help others in their grief and to help them find peace in their hearts. Many readers have told me that they have found renewed faith and peace in their hearts after reading it.
    We are now going through another illness in our family, my husbands father, was just diagnosed with terminal cancer and my own father’s miracle and promise of seeing us again, will definitely bring us peace during the months ahead.
    Thank you for sharing your tips to us. Until you walk in someone’s shoes, a person doesn’t know what it is like and can only give comments and share ideas until they have been through something themselves.
    God bless you and give you the strength you need to get through these trying weeks.

  13. I’m very sorry about your Mom. Thank you for sharing these tips – I am sure they will help other families.
    I really like the idea of bringing something for the kids – that was very thoughtful.

  14. So sorry for your loss. What a week you’ve had. I love that you are able to share your tips so soon. Thanks for reaching back out to the community, people never really know what to do at these times.

  15. Stopped in via the WP front page. Just wanted to offer my condolences on the loss of your mother.

  16. I am so grateful for these ideas. I always wish for an idea that is more practical than sending flowers or food.

  17. Thank you for this wonderful post. I have one idea to add- When my brother passed away, someone from church had asked for volunteers to bring over meals on certain days. That way we were fed and didn’t have to worry about it, but weren’t overwhelmed with more food than we knew what to do with.

  18. great tips! thanks for sharing. sorry to hear about your loss.

  19. I just love this. Thank you. I really did want to know what works for you (anyone) in these circumstances. Thank you so much.

  20. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

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