Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How to help a sick friend without putting an effort out.

  This week, I caught a nasty cold that stuffed my sinus', ached my muscles and gave me migraines, and even though I was handling things okay for the most part, I felt bad for my kids. I couldn't do anything for them and we couldn't go out and it was basically just a weekend of tv watching instead of fun trips like I had planned. Boo!  The Olders could entertain themselves by playing with neighbours, but the Youngers still need someone to watch over them (being only 3 and a delayed-6)  I had posted on FB on Saturday asking if someone wanted to take them since they were so restless, but I was prepared to deal with them myself.("Sure, you can watch fifteen more episodes of Dora and Diego!")

It's been said that you find out who your "true friends" are when you ask for help during a sickness, and it's true. Partially.  My parents and mother-in-law wanted to help, but they were also just recovering from colds and didn't want to expose themselves to more sickness. (I was sick, as was Abi. The others were coughing and sneezing with allergies, but didn't get it like we did. Thankfully)

And I get that. I really do.

I did find out who my "true friends" were and it was a nice surprise. My neighbour, Jenny, offered to pick up stuff for me (like groceries or even just chocolate to keep me going!) and sent over some cold medication for me, which was so wonderful. We were close a few years ago, but then our kids hit a stage where they were hanging out with only their friends and it seemed as though they faught every time they were together, so we didn't see much of eachother either. But I am happy to say that things have settled and has been good again and I am so happy! My friend, Rebecca, also offered to pick up groceries or do anything else I needed, and even called to see if she could take the Youngers for me. (it ended up being at dinnertime and I had things sorted out, so it was too late, but she took the time to call and ask and it was genuine, instead of just pretending to call all the while knowing it was probably too late!)

As for my "other friends"...

I do not begrudge any of them for not responding. And maybe I am just too forgiving (if there is such a thing), but seriously...I understand Life and how it gets in the way of doing things for others sometimes. I know how sometimes you can't seem to figure out how you can help out when you already have so much on your plate. Suddenly your day goes by so fast and you realize you didn't get to do all on your own list; how could you possibly add someone else' tasks? 

I understand not wanting to come into a germy house and face the chance of infection. Especially if you have young children at home still.  I get the idea of not feeling comfortable taking on childcare too, if you don't know the children very well, or if it's not your gift. I know how you can feel unsure about even how to help.

These are legitimate worries and concerns. They can also be excuses. Are they real reasons or are you avoiding offering help? Sometimes I have to ask myself that honestly too.

I offer you a guilt-free list of ways to help friends who are sick and you just don't know what to do, or just can't help out since your own To Do List is too long, or you want to put a minimum effort but still make it look good:

1. call them to let them know you are thinking of them. tell them you will pray for them. (*this may not always work. praying doesn't get the kids' dinners made, but depending on the friend, it may make them feel better knowing that you do care about their illness.)

2. give flowers. pick them from the side of the road, or a neighbour's yard, or buy them, it doesn't matter. Flowers always look pretty and are a good pick-me-up. send them through someone else if you aren't able to drop them off.

3. drop off a dinner. even if it is something bought like McDonald's (kids love McD!), or oven-pizza, or those handy roast chickens from the grocery store already cooked. But maybe you don't find it difficult to make up an extra helping or two of dinner while you are making up your own, how wonderful!

4. send a get well card (even one from the dollar store will do...even if you think they may be better by the time it arrives). or email one. or even post on their FB a get well message. It doesn't take a lot of effort.

5. drop off a gift. nothing expensive. chocolate. small toy to keep kids occupied. even a movie of your own for them to watch (include popcorn!) or a book. or bubble bath. (baths are cozy when you are sick)

6. offer to pick up their laundry and wash it at your own home if you don't want to go inside their home. If you aren't worried, do their laundry for them while you visit! (feel free to clean up their laundry room too, and organize it!)

7. offer to clean for them. Maybe not deep clean (but wouldn't that be an extra blessing?) but everyone talks about having to clean the house during a sickness, and oddly enough, sick people don't seem to find the energy to do that, so maybe you could? (you could even offer to do this as they are starting to recover, then there is a chance that they will help you out and so you don't have to work as hard!)

8. send over a get-well pack: tissues, Halls or Ricola, hot water pack, chicken noodle soup, Neo Citron (love that stuff), vaporub... you get the idea. If you don't want to do all of it, or can't afford it, then even one is a sweet gesture.

9. offer to pick up/drop off any healthy children to and from school.  Sick people don't like to leave their house, and school is usually outside of the home and requires driving. Sick people shouldn't drive. Sick people like to sleep instead. This would be such a great thing to do!

10. check in after a few days of their sickness and see how they are faring. Maybe they are better and you can rest easy in not having to do anything at all! But calling (because it is nicer than texting, c'mon!) will definitely lift someone's spirits!

Most of these items don't take a lot of time or effort, and most of them don't even require you to enter a germy sick home (you can leave things at the door), but all of them tell your friend that you care and want to help them out! Sick people appreciate that!

If you ask a friend how you can help, to be honest, most will say that they are okay or answer "nothing", but we all know what it's like to be sick! And we can all think of ways that we'd like to relieved when we're sick! We just need to start applying these when our friends come down with colds and flus. 

Be a blessing!  Be intentional!

**to my "other friends"...I really do get it. But next time, you have no excuse!  ...and now neither do I! So we'll both have to try harder and put this into practice!


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