I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Posts Tagged ‘thoughtful gifts’

My Friend is Sick: Should I Give Food or Money?

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 12, 2011

Guest Blog
Ethan Austin is the co-founder of GiveForward.com

 

When my mom found out last month that “Mrs. Gorman”, our next door neighbor of twenty-five years was diagnosed with cancer, she immediately jumped into action, preparing a big pot of my grandmother’s famous beef barley soup. She whipped up a batch and brought it over to the family who was thankful for the gesture. On that first day, a home cooked meal was exactly what the Gormans needed. It calmed everyone’s nerves and brought a sense of normalcy into an otherwise very unnormal day.

 
As word spread around the neighborhood about the Gormans, everyone wanted to help, and so the food parade officially began. Soon the Gormans had more comfort food than they knew what to do with — their freezer was overloaded with lasagna and meatloaf galore.But even with all this love and (highly caloric) support coming in from the community, it became obvious very quickly that what the Gormans actually needed was money. The Gormans are middle class folks with full health insurance, but cancer is financially overwhelming for just about anyone, so a little extra money to reduce the added stress of bills and co-pays can go a long way.
 
Sadly, instead of giving money, everyone just kept giving food. Throughout the week it was more food. And more food. And more food. All the neighbors knew that the Gormans could use extra money to get through this difficult period, yet, no one wanted to talk about it. It was the proverbial elephant in the room.
 
Later that week my mom said to me, “I feel so helpless. What else can we do to help?” For me, the answer seemed obvious. Having seen thousands of families in the exact same situation over my years at GiveForward, I said to her, “They need money, right? Set up a GiveForward page for them so friends and family can contribute.”
 
But what was obvious to me, wasn’t so simple for my mom. It made her uncomfortable to bring up the issue of money. ”Won’t they be offended if we set up a page for them?” she asked. ”Possibly,” I answered, “but what’s worse: offending their sense of pride or allowing them to get so stressed out about their finances that they can’t focus on getting better?” My mom agreed with this logic and mustered up the courage to email our neighbor’s daughter-in-law about GiveForward. Instead of being offended, the daughter-in-law thanked my mom profusely. It was exactly what they needed.
 
I am super-proud of my mom for standing up and doing the right thing when no one else would. But sadly, I think the story of the Gormans is all too common and exemplifies how backwards we are in this country when it comes to giving. We’re more than happy to give money in celebratory times like weddings, graduations, and first communions. And we’re also happy to give money to people in far off places whom we have never met. But when our closest friends and family get sick and really need money the most we choose to send lasagna! I suppose lasagna is safer than sending money and by sending it, we don’t risk offending the ones we love and care about. But I don’t think lasagna is enough. It’s absolutely great for one day, but it doesn’t begin to solve any of the bigger problems the family is facing.
  
On the other hand, setting up a fundraiser for a friend is the opposite of sending lasagna. It’s risky and can be a bit scary. What if I bring up the issue and my friends take offense to it? Or what if I set up a fundraiser and nobody gives? Without a doubt, there is a greater chance to fail with a fundraiser than there is with lasagna. If I have learned one thing in my three years at GiveForward, however, it’s that doing the right thing isn’t always comfortable and it’s rarely easy. But it’s worth it! When you open up your heart and do something truly meaningful for another person it becomes infectious and you will want to do it over and over and over. And others will too! So, the next time you find out a friend or loved one is sick, before you jump into the kitchen to prepare some comfort food for them, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself: do they really need any more lasagna?
 
 
Ethan Austin is the co-founder of GiveForward.com, an online fundraising platform that has helped thousands of families raise millions of dollars online for out-of-pocket medical expenses. He has had the great pleasure to work with Jeannett for the past year and feels lucky to be able to call her a friend (even though they have never met in real life). More than anything, he is absolutely thrilled that through their work together, wonderful people like Vanessa and her son Brock have found and benefitted from GiveForward.


For more Thoughtful Gift ideas, visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html

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Posted in Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Less Than Perfect

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 5, 2010

During the holidays we hear a lot about being “perfect”.  We try to make the perfect meal, set the perfect table, find the perfect gift and create the perfect holiday.  Sometimes the perfect gift is not perfect at all.  It is your willingness to look awkward and not know what to say, and yet still show up and be there for a loved one that is grieving. 

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to find the perfect thing to say to one of my friends that unexpectedly lost her husband.  In my search to find the perfect gift and write the perfect note, I have become paralyzed in moving forward with my good intentions.

How often does this happen to all of us?  We miss the opportunity to bring light and joy to an individual that is hurting because we have become stuck in our desire to be “perfect”.   Our need to be perfect is often combined with our fear of saying the wrong thing or not wanting to face our own fears about death.  It is our willingness to move past these fears that makes all the difference. 

Through the stress and the rush of the season, I encourage you to take the time to truly connect with your loved ones that are grieving.  Your support will be the gift that they remember for many years to come, even if it is less than perfect.

 And with that in mind, I am off to the Post Office to send my less than perfect gift to my friend and hope that it will bring joy to her this holiday season.

We invite you to share your holiday stories and suggestions with us on our Blog or by email at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special Holiday Sympathy Gift Ideas.

Holiday Memorial Ornaments http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts-memorialornaments.html

Holiday Grief Support Resourceshttp://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/Holiday_Grief_Support.html

© 2009 Lori Pederson, I Did Not Know What To Say
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:  Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website built to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.   If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter !
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Grief Support & Holidays, Holiday Grief Support, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts & Holiday Memorial Ornaments

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 26, 2010

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas

Special Savings for the Holidays on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout December on selected gift items.

 Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special offers and discount codes!

Christian Memorial Gifts
Design Your Own Gift Baskets
Kindnotes
Memorial Gifts
Memorial Ornaments
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Memorial Trees
Military Memorial Gifts
Miscarriage/Stillbirth Memorial Gifts 
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items
Pet Memorials
Remembrance Candles
Spa Gift Certificates
Unique Gift Items
And More…

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter !
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughtful Memorial Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day & Memorial Day!

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 16, 2010

 Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy & Memorial Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for special discounts for Mother’s Day!

Special Mother’s Day Memorial Gift Ideas
Memorial Quilts & Throws
Military Memorial Gifts
Special Keepsake Gifts for a Miscarriage

Design You Own Gift Baskets
Personalized Memorial Frames
Personalized gift items
Pet Memorials
KindNotes to leave throughout the year

Christian Sympathy Cards & Gifts
Unique Gift Items
Inspirational Movies & Books

And More…

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter !
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Loss of a Child, Loss of a Mother, Military Loss, Miscarriage, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Join the Discussion

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on February 27, 2010

We will be posting our discussion topics here on our Blog and on our Facebook page.  We invite you to join in on the discussion on either site.
 
Discussion Topic:
Please post your comments below.
Be sure to visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page for wonderful ideas – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html

Posted in Grief Resources, Inspiration, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter – Sign Up Today!

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 18, 2009

Don’t miss our monthly newsletter featuring tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist a loved one through the journey of restoring balance in their life after a loss.

November 2009-Featured Article:

Be the Gift of Comfort, Joy and Love this Holiday Season
By Lori Pederson

Join us as we explore the many ways you can support your friends and family through the holiday season after the loss of a loved one.   Be the gift they wished for this holiday season.

To read more, Click on the link below to sign up for our Monthly Newsletter:
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas – KindNotes

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 28, 2009

We are very pleased to announce the addition of the KindNotes™  to our Thoughtful Gift Ideas page on our website at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts-unique.html.

About KindNotes

How often do you receive letters from someone in your life (forget about all the bills and advertising pieces that bombard your mail box)? Do you remember it feeling more personal in comparison to a quickly drafted e-mail? Maybe you didn’t notice it then, but the Founder of certainly did and remembers those moments.

The first idea of KindNotes began four years ago as a gift the Founder had made for her then-boyfriend-now-husband. She thought about the pleasant feeling of receiving a personal letter in the mail each day, but soon-after thought the long letters might just scare him away instead! So she wrote 31 short notes onto small pieces of paper, stuffed them into plain miniature envelopes and put them in an embellished jar. Her husband then began each day with a note that made him smile.

Three years later, she and her husband decided to share the idea and make it available to everyone, knowing that people have no time, have trouble thinking of unique gifts, or have a difficult time expressing their thoughts. They want to provide a service that tailors to their customers’ preferences, even if it means investing a good amount of time hand-making each jar of KindNotes. The customization wizard is one of the most important features of KindNotes, giving shoppers an opportunity to add their personal touch to the gift.

People out there are beginning each day with a smile and just thinking of that makes our day!

For more gift ideas, please visit our Thoughtful Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter !
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus

You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Grief Resources, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

What To Say… When You Don’t Know What To Say by Lori Pederson

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 12, 2009

When my mother passed away, I received a card from a friend of mine that touched me so deeply I can still remember it 16 years later.  The card was humorous and the note he wrote was the perfect balance of empathy, humor and reality.  You see Chris had lost his father about a month before I had lost my mom and he knew intimately what I was going through.  This card was the cornerstone to developing the website www.IDidNotKnowWhatToSay.com.   I wanted to encourage people to be thoughtful and supportive of their friends and family when they are going through a great loss.  The topic of death is difficult and many people “freeze” when the subject comes up.  Our website is dedicated to helping you find the words when you don’t know what to say.
 
Put your heart into it.  There are many ways to express your deep concern and support for a friend or family member when they have lost a loved one.  I have found that when you put your heart into what you write it makes all the difference.  One of the cards I received simply said, “I just wanted you to know that I have been thinking about you all week, and I will keep you in my prayers.”  It was from a friend’s mother that I did not know very well, but I was so touched that she would take the time to send a card.  I could feel the love and sincerity in the note and it made a lasting impression on me.

Know your audience.  People have many belief systems when it comes to death, grief and the burial process.  Religion, culture, family experiences, personality, the age of the person and their gender can all impact how they handle the grieving process.  It is important to take these factors into consideration and not diminish the person’s feelings or beliefs.  This is not a time to “preach” to someone.  It is a time to reach out and open your heart.
 
Offer your support.  The most fundamental thing you can offer someone in grief is your support.   My friend Michele sent me this note after my mom passed away,“We will be there to do those things you are not able to” and she really was.  She helped make phone calls to my family the night my mom passed away, she was there at the memorial service, and was there through all the ups and downs as I recovered from this great loss.
 
I have found that most people appreciate knowing you care and that you are there to support them. A simple note of encouragement like this one can make all the difference: “Please know that I’m willing to help you out in any way you might need me to during this difficult time. I’d love to bring your family dinner or take you out for coffee if you ever need to talk.”

My old roommate used to send me cards on my mom’s birthday as a reminder that she was thinking of me. My aunt sends her sister-in-law a card on the anniversary of her son’s death just to let her know that she is not alone.  
 
I am deeply appreciative of all the love and encouragement I have received from my friends and family through the many losses in my life.  My greatest hope is that everyone receives that kind of deep support when they are going through a loss.
 
 
© 2009 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:  Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website built to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.   If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.
 
 

Posted in Grief Resources, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas – The Comfort Company

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 8, 2009

We are very pleased to announce the addition of the The Comfort Company Sympathy Gifts to our Thoughtful Gift Ideas page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html.

The mission of The Comfort Company is to simplify the difficult process of expressing sympathy by offering a meaningful selection of non-traditional gifts designed to acknowledge loss rather than to minimize it. Words of sympathy do not come easily and comforting sympathy gifts are difficult to find. With this in mind, The Comfort Company has carefully selected or custom designed a meaningful collection of sympathy poems and cards, bereavement and condolence gift ideas with the hope of bringing comfort and remembrance to those who are grieving.

Special Savings for the Holidays – Visit our website for more details.

 For more gift ideas, please visit our Thoughtful Gifts page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for our Free Monthly Newsletter !
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

FLOWERS, FLOWERS, FLOWERS…What To Do With All The Flowers?

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on August 17, 2009

First let me say that I love flowers. I love fresh cut flowers, planted flowers and pictures of flowers. I love receiving flowers and planting them in my garden.

The only time in my life when I did not enjoy flowers was after my mother passed away. For anyone that has lost an immediate family member they know that the first thing people think to do is send flowers. This is a lovely gesture. People think “a beautiful boutique of flowers” will brighten their day. However, in some circumstances, having an overwhelming amount of flower arrangements can become hard to manage for the family.

After my mother passed away, I found that the flowers that were beautiful the first few days started to make me sad as they began to fade. It was a reminder of the death I just experienced. When I returned home I felt this overwhelming need to plant flowers that would last, a need to bring new life into my home.

Why Flowers May Not Be the Perfect Gift

• If the funeral service is held in another city, it leaves the family with the burden of taking care of flowers that will die while they are out of town.

• If the person has been cremated, an overwhelming number of flower arrangements can become hard to manage if there is not a burial site to place them on.

• Cut flowers die rather quickly and to watch flowers dying all around can be depressing after the loss of a loved one.

What to Do With All the Flowers?

After my aunt passed away my uncle’s dinning room was filled with flowers. They were nice for a few days but my aunt was cremated and there was no grave site to place them on. Instead of allowing the flowers to go to waste, they donated them to a local hospital to bring joy to the patients.

A Different Way to Send Flowers

• Purchase a plant or flower that can be planted and offer to help them set-up a memorial garden for their loved one in their home or backyard.

• Coordinate with the family to help them buy one or two nice floral arrangements for the funeral or memorial service.

• Have a few flowers incased in a decorative frame along with a picture of the person that has passed away as a memorial to the person.

• If the funeral is out of town, consider sending flowers directly to the funeral home or church where the service will be held.

• For more ideas, visit our Thoughtful Gifts page at http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html.

If you have a suggestion, we would love to hear from you. If you are a Florist’s we would love to hear your suggestions as well. Please email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

© 2009 Lori Pederson

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website built to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our Free Newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

 Please visit our Thoughtful Gift Ideas page on our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/gifts.html for more gift ideas.

Posted in Inspiration, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »