Friday, December 4, 2015

Care and Comfort

Like most people, I enjoy the holidays, the joy and cheer and good tidings.  All the good things that come from this festive season.  But just because it's December doesn't mean there is a reprieve from bad times and suffering.  That's a constant.  Against the backdrop of the holidays, though, things can sometimes feel all the more intense, even surreal.

I am aware of many people who are hurting this time of year, and that's been on my heart and mind lately.

Two friends have lost important family members in the past couple of days, and I am so sorry for their losses and grief.  Knowing they will have a hole in their hearts and a gap at their tables for the parent or grandparent who is no longer there.

Others are dealing with relationship losses, physical challenges, mental health and addiction issues.  It's hard when you know others are suffering.  One can feel pretty helpless as well.

So what do you do? 

While you can't take away someone's pain, maybe you can lighten the load somehow.  Be present.  Offer a box of tissues and a shoulder to cry on.  If appropriate, crack a well-timed joke.  Go for a ride.  Or just call. Take dinner over.  Or a quilt.  

I came upon this article recently, "Why We Need the Softness of Craft During Hard Times,"  and this quote:
It's during these hard times that we really need the softness of craft. To be wrapped in the embrace of grandmother’s quilt, to feel protected from the elements in a hand knit sweater, to caress a mug thrown by someone else's hand on a potter's wheel. These simple things reconnect us to our humanity and remind us of the goodness and potential of people.
I'd like to believe that's true, but in reality I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all approach.  I think you have to be sensitive to someone's cues and wishes.  People process things in all manner of ways.  When my mom passed away, for the most part I just wanted to walk by myself in the evenings and look at the setting sun in the summer sky.  And talk, as if to her.

So maybe you talk about things with your friend directly, but maybe the better thing to do is go bowling, distract.  I don't know.  I think it all depends on the circumstances.  Maybe you take a seat next to her on the couch and watch something on Netflix.  Or rip on Donald Trump's hair.

Maybe you just ask what she really needs.  And then really listen.

Your thoughts?


Kaja said...

A thoughtful post, thank you. I usually want to be left alone in such moments, but I think you are right: it's about asking what people need and then listening properly to their answers.

Lara B. said...

Even with that one suffering person, their needs vary form moment to moment and you are right, we need to be sensitive to that. I tend to want to hole up under the porch, or pour myself into designing and sewing.

My thoughts are that you are a very beautiful person Paulette. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful things to think about. I really liked what you shared about the softness of craft. it really does seem to be true. Perhaps because crafted things symbolize the caring people pour into making them.

Heidi said...

Golden sentiments, giving us all some things to consider when 'helping' friends!
Regina has shared a cute tutorial today called, How to Soothe an Aching Heart.

Quiltdivajulie said...

What a wonderful, heartfelt, well-written post. Thank you.

Marei said...

Paulette I haven't been on the computer since I left in November and now today I log on and read this. Thank you for thinking of me. I appreciate more than you can know.


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