Last week I asked the question:
When you've been hurting, what do you find most comforting?
I received several emails back, most with heavy things. After all, hard things happen to all of us, and comfort is what helps us through.
Below are some really touching things that members of our community emailed me back.
When my adult brother died, my parents were paralyzed with grief. I had to make the calls to family friends.
Most people said “let us know what we can do”. Not one couple who were casual friends of my folks. They just said how sorry they were.
And 2 hours later (they lived an hour away) they showed up at our house with 3 bags of groceries. Cold cuts, breads, desserts, salads. They didn’t stay long. But that visit brought us more comfort than anything else.
In 2015 after we unexpectedly had to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Bella, a good friend hosted an intimate dinner with my closest friends and favorite people. The comfort of everyone coming together to support us really touched my heart.
Our 22-year-old son, a university student, was the victim of criminal violence. The tragedy and its aftermath caused me to use up all of my accrued leave at work.
It was so hard for family and friends to know how to help at a time like this. Nothing anyone could do would bring our son back. When it came time for court events and more time required for me to be absent from work, my co-workers donated some of their accrued paid time off (PTO) to me. The company we worked for was not generous with PTO so this was a big deal. It made me cry to know they thought of something to do for me that would genuinely help.
At a time when no one could ease my broken heart, this gift from my co-workers of their own hard-earned PTO was so comforting and was a genuine gesture of caring.
In the midst of Covid, my beloved grandfather was a day away from passing away but I knew it was imminent.
One of my best friends, who was extremely cautious during that period of time, knocked on my door, while wearing a mask handed me a bouquet of flowers, and said “Know that I love you and I wish I could hug you”. It was so touching and brought me to tears.
Many years ago my husband died unexpectedly. When I got the news, I was living on the East Coast and my husband was in Colorado on business.
To say that I was in shock is an understatement--I felt like the world had stopped spinning. I headed to the Midwest where my family was living and together, in love and support, we took care of everything as best we could.
After a couple of months, I headed back to the East Coast and resumed my life. While I had a lot of friends and support, I felt terribly alone.
But there was this one friend, this bright and shining star, who "brought balm to my soul". What did she do? She called me every single day for MONTHS after my husband had passed. Every single day she picked up the phone and called me. It was usually a short conversation but it made all the difference to me--just knowing that someone was thinking of me and took the time to call me, talk to me, and show me that she cared.
Today, whenever someone in my life has lost a loved one, I try to do the same for them. As you know, a simple call (or card) CAN make all the difference to someone who's suffered a painful loss.
Sitting with dog stroking his back and neck (Baxter has the world's softest neck)
When my father passed away 10 months ago, people sent gift cards for food delivery.
That was so helpful. I also schedule a monthly massage, in my home, to help relieve stress and back pain. It is so healing and brings me comfort.
Sources of comfort:
- When a dear friend washed my hair in my hospital bed when I was very sick and felt really gross at the same time.
- A warm rice bag
- Flannel sheets just out of the dryer
- Being greeted by wiggly dog when I get home
- The sight/sound/smell/feel of the ocean
Stepping in with a note from Tiny/Leah: The first bullet point made me think about this:
A dear family friend gave me a haircut when I was in the ICU 5 years ago, and it was a BEAUTIFUL experience. We were both crying, and holding each others faces. It was an incredibly healing thing.
I was thinking last night about how important physical touch is. When people held my hands in the ICU, it was the times that I most needed that comfort to encourage me to keep holding on.
If you thought of anything while you read this list, please leave a comment! When we think about things that we could do to bring comfort, we are more likely to know what to do when people in our life are hurting.
Thanks to everyone who shared with us this week. I love learning from all of you. ❤️