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  • Jodi Lee

4 Tips to help ease the burden of those going through something traumatic

This content was originally published & posted on The Facebook page of Jodi Lee Nicholes

September 23, 2016

(UPDATED with photos November 29th, 2018)

Do any of you remember this talk from Sister Burton "I WAS A STRANGER" It's been on my mind the last few months as I've watched my dear friend, Val, pick up the pieces after her husband's death. At the end of Rob's life, he became like a small infant in need of constant care. My heart hurts when I think of Val, lifting her husband to Bathe and change him. She did this day in and day out, all while caring for her 3 baby girls.

Val, is no stranger to being strong, she carried the load with the children as her husband went through medical school, then residency. (Her husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a few months after he started practicing medicine) However, she is the first to tell you, there is no comparing the death of a husband to a husband who works long hours or a husband out on the road for days or weeks. There is no text, no I love you, no I will be home soon. Over the last few weeks, I've watched her work her way through piles of bills and Bank statements. Each day meets her with a Long list of To-do's. She doesn't have time to sit, cry or feel sorry for herself, she's too busy figuring out how to best care for herself and her 3 baby girls financially, emotionally, and spiritually.

What if this were my story? Would I be brave like Val? Would I be clear-minded enough to take advice from mental health professionals and not make any big decisions for the first year?Would I be able to pull myself out of bed to get the car checked because it's making a funny sound, go grocery shopping, call several different banks to close accounts, pick up my kids from school, come home make dinner, and do this all while processing the death of my husband? I'm not sure how strong I would be. Ask yourself, What would you do if your best friend, your safe place, the love of your life was gone?

I've learned countless life lessons from this experience, along with the death of my sister. Here are 4 tips I feel we as friends, neighbors, and family can do to help ease the burden of those going through something traumatic

1- Be dependable

The actual death of a loved one is not the hardest part of this ongoing process. I experienced this after the death of my sister. Your life stops, yet the world keeps on moving. The hardest part is the aftermath, 3, 6, 12 months after when reality washes over you. Do your best to move your schedule and make yourself available to help. If it's important to you, you'll find a way. This is a tender time that requires extra attention. Be consistent in helping them. They will need you more than ever at this point. Do what you say, and say what you do. Have integrity and keep your word, whether it's bringing dinner or helping out with kids.

2- Be aware

When you are out and about running errands......Costco, the grocery store, it doesn't matter. Send a text and ask if there is anything you can grab for them while you're out. You would be surprised how something as simple as getting a gallon of milk is helpful.

3-What if this were my story

Ask yourself, what would I want help with if this were my story. Text them daily or weekly and ask the following question: "Is there anything I can help you with today?" This could include helping with children, laundry, dinner, dishes or even going for a soda run while having a long heartfelt cry together

4-Show LOVE

I always tell my children. God's love is the best medicine, Share it & Show it! God's love is the purest. He doesn't measure his love nor love you on Monday and not Friday! His love is constant. He doesn't extend his love only when it's convenient. We can learn from his example and give pure, selfless LOVE! Genuine love is shown through action. Sometimes, all we can give is a Hug and a few words of encouragement. If the act of love is pure, no matter how small, it will have enough power to move mountains. Be a Light Giver!

With Love, Jodi

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