Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thank You

C.S. Lewis wrote "no one ever told me about the laziness of grief." I feel that. I intend to write thank you cards everyday. I think, today I will make myself sit down and write 5 notes, or today I will make a list of people to thank, and then I find myself so overwhelmed by the task that I can hardly put pen to paper. There are just too many people. I am amazed by the kind, generous, thoughtful, immediate, and continued acts of kindness that have flooded our family. It has made me wonder, would I have done the same if our roles were reversed?

It is hard to know what to do for someone who has experienced loss. I have often stopped myself from reaching out to someone because of fear of imposing, offending, not knowing what to say, or not knowing what to expect. Now I would say it is always better to act, to do something, and that we are given the urge to help for a reason. Here are some of things that people have done for me that I have loved.

Notice: The morning after Jonah died people began ringing our doorbell. Most came with food, some came with words of comfort, some tried to offer explanation, some didn't know what to say, but each came because they noticed that someone who was so important to us was gone. When you lose someone it seems as though the whole world should stop and notice, but people continue driving, shopping, laughing... I was so grateful for the people that stopped their lives for a moment to tell us they noticed our loss. I cried with each new person that came until I ran out of tears, and then they cried for me.

Service: Almost every person that came to our home asked "Is there anything we can do?" I think everyone feels helpless when tragedy strikes, and it is our impulse to do something. Our dear friends told us that as soon as they heard about Jonah they started making cookies because they didn't know what else to do. I love that. Our family, friends, and neighbors were left to their own devices to find ways of helping us and healing us. Here are a few beautiful things they have done for us...
  • shined Jordan's shoes for the funeral
  • shared books that helped them during their own loss or grief
  • brought beautiful flowers
  • gave me personalized jewelry to remember Jonah
  • wrote down tender memories of Jonah
  • arranged meals for my family
  • set-up a bank account to help with funeral and medical expenses
  • gave us gift cards, so Jordan and I could spend time alone together
  • donated money
  • helped me get ready the morning of the funeral
  • brought me waterproof mascara
  • sent me pictures of Jonah
  • called all of Jonah's doctors and specialists
  • brought healthy drinks, because I couldn't eat anything for days
  • traveled great distances for the funeral and to be with us
  • created beautiful art to remember Jonah
  • asked me to go walking in the morning
  • arranged the food for the funeral
  • continued to invite me to lunch (even though I didn't feel like going for awhile)
  • brought a Costco pack of Kleenex, and Tupperware for leftovers
  • called me
  • brought soothing music
  • put Jonah's pictures into a beautiful photo album
  • took beautiful pictures of the funeral
  • made cookies, bread, and other comfort food
  • put all of my videos of Jonah on a DVD
  • visited Jonah's grave
  • helped me shop for a dress and shoes to wear to the funeral
  • took care of my other family members that were struggling
  • prayed and fasted for us
  • helped me clean my house
  • helped me plant bulbs to brighten my yard in the spring
  • offered legal advice to help with insurance
  • arranged to have balloons at Jonah's grave
  • wept with me
  • donated picture frames to use at the funeral
Love: I have had a lot of people tell me that they are impressed by my strength in dealing with Jonah's death. Honestly I too am astonished by the strength I feel. The day Jonah died I never thought I would feel strong again. The only explanation I can give is that I have been lifted and strengthened by the selfless Christ-like love that people have shown to me. In his talk, You are My Hands, Dieter F. Ucthdorf wrote,

When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him with hands outstretched, reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love. And He always talked with, never down to, people. He loved the humble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them and offering hope and salvation...As we emulate His perfect example, our hands can become His hands; our eyes, His eyes; our heart, His heart.

I don't know when I will be able to send you a proper personal thank you note, but I hope until then this note will do. Thank you!


  1. Thank you for blogging your experiences. I just found you on a link from the Hypnobirthing page and started reading. I just had a teenage cousin pass away just 34 days ago. I ache for my aunt, who has lost her precious little girl and I wonder, if even my life has changed since she passed away, how could she ever even find the strength to get up out of bed, or go to bed, or anything else. I pray for you and for her and for all the mothers in this world who mourn the loss of their precious child.

  2. It is so important to act isn't it. And it is so easy to serve someone as kind and tender as you. I treasure our friendship so much. You have been teaching me so much through these past several years. I love you.

  3. I say skip the notes. This is just fine.

  4. Thank you for helping others know what to do. My sweet sister is dealing with losing a baby and my heart aches for her. And I love her. And I don't know what to do. Thank you for sharing this list. Thank you for posting this blog. I think it will mean a lot to her.

    My prayers go out to you, and all who love you as well. God bless.