Friday, October 19, 2012

Some Thoughts on Helping Those Who Have Lost…


One of the things we hear a lot lately is “let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” It’s really nice to know that people are available. While I know that no one else really knows what I am going through in the same sense that I don’t know what my husband is going through, it’s encouraging to be reminded that others are available.  But the question always run into is “available for what?” I don’t think there is anything anyone can do that will make things better.  I mean, sure, I love seeing friends. That is one of the most helpful things is just some quality time with people I love who love me.

So what can you do?

Doc and I were talking about this the other day. There are things that I think people who have experienced any major life change, whether it be loss or something else that is stressful, need to be asked. We ask each other these questions to make sure that we don’t miss anything while being wrapped in our own grief.

Saying “are you ok” or “how are you doing” isn’t really specific enough. People need to have hard questions asked. If someone says “how are you doing?” I don’t know how comfortable they really are with the truth. It’s also really easy for me to say that I’m doing okay, or coping, or making it through each day and avoid talking about anything “real”. You want to make sure someone is really ok? Then ask them these questions.

1.) Are you sleeping at night? – Sleep deprivation leads to crazy. It can make people behave erratically, increase anxiety and depression, cause people to have even more difficulty controlling their emotions and coping with what they feel. If someone isn’t sleeping, this gives you an open door to talk about real issues. “What is making it difficult to sleep? Are you having trouble relaxing? Are you having trouble turning your mind off?” You can talk about things like getting a massage or exercising or even establishing a routine before bed to help them out. Offer your ear if they can’t sleep.

2.) Are you eating enough?/Are you over eating? – Stress eating…man, does junk food make you feel bloated and sleepy and worse? Because it makes me feel that way. When I’m really sad or stressed I forget to eat. Not eating = low energy and grumpiness.  Sometimes a simple reminder that I need to pay attention helps.

3.) Have you thought about hurting yourself? – This is a hard stinking question to ask someone. BUT people need to be asked. What if they are and NO ONE HAS ASKED THEM? I will say that NO ONE but my husband asked me this question. My son died. Someone should ask me this. I think people assume that someone’s friend or someone’s family is paying attention. Don’t assume. Ask. I promise the directness is important. That said…don’t freak out. I haven’t thought about it.

4.) Have you been able to get out of your house much? – For me right now, being reclusive is a defense mechanism. I have to push to make myself get out. It is extremely helpful for me emotionally to spend time with friends or family or to be outside of my home among people. Pulling away from people and wanting some time to yourself aren’t the same thing. It’s nice to be encouraged to remember that I should go take a walk or do something on days it is easier to try to stay in pajamas and watch TV all day instead of getting a move on.

5.) What have you done to take care of yourself? – It’s just important to ask. In my case, I spent so long taking care of someone else that learning how to take care of myself again is a baby step process. I forget that I can do that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Challenge Week 3: Brussels Sprouts


Oh my gosh you guys. Green. Veggie. Heaven.

I kid you not! For a veggie that matched the caliber of broccoli in the school age yuck fest, I CANNOT believe how stinking delicious these teeny tiny baby cabbage are. Seriously, my veggie hating husband requests this dish ALL THE TIME now.

So here it is! sprouts

Preheat oven to 300ish. Slice brussels sprouts in half. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil and then lay the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down. Salt and pepper them lightly.

Stick em in the oven.

In a little bit, like maybe ten minutes or so, flip the brussels sprouts over. Cook until they are lightly brown around the outside edges.

I like to sprinkle them with a little bit of parmesan cheese, but they are fantastic without it.

Eat a lot of them.

SO easy and these little buddies stay fresh in the fridge for several days so they are now a staple at our house. YUM!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Piggies and Paws


When Rowan was on Hospice, I told you guys about the amazing gift we received from Mended Little Hearts of Tulsa. They wanted to grant us a wish for Rowan since he wasn’t old enough for the Make a Wish Foundation. We ended up asking to have a Piggies and Paws artist come do beautiful hand/footprint art for us so that we would have beautiful images of Rowan’s hand and footprints as well as the rest of our families in our home to celebrate his life. We love that we can show them to Evelyn and that she remembers making them.

Doc and I were talking a lot about ways to raise gift cards. And something popped into my mind. What if we did a Piggies and Paws party! I contacted the artist who amazingly came out on short notice to do the artwork for our family. We worked on some scheduling issues and agreed on a date.

On Nov. 13th from 6-8pm we are having a Piggies and Paws party! I’m asking that everyone who comes brings a gift card for “Admission” that we can donate to families this holiday who have children in the hospital and are away from their homes.

The artwork can be rushed to have it ready in time for Christmas if anyone wants to do these for grandparents (it makes a great gift). The actual artwork ranges in price, from $25 and up. Most of them are around $30 or so.

I do need to know if people are planning on coming so the artist can bring an appropriate amount of supplies.

There will be snacks and such provided as well as toys/activities set up in a different room for children when they aren’t doing their prints.

I hope to see you there!

(You can comment if you are coming, text me, email me, etc.)