How can we help?(18 Posts)
My neighbour's little one has an inoperable brain stem tumour. It's looking like it won't be long now as her condition is deteriorating I was wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation who could suggest some practical ways (or anything else which you think you'd have liked/think would help) in which dh and I could help out when the sad time comes? She knows she can call on us anytime if she needs anything, but I'd like to be able to think of things that would help her out however small they may seem. She has other children so we've always said from day 1 we'd look after them whenever needed, but I'm not sure how best else we can help. Having recently become a new mum myself its heartbreaking and can't imagine what she and her family must be going through. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Haven't got any advice sorry, but you sound a lovely caring neighbour.
Hopefully someone will be along soon
Tell her she can ring you anytime - not to hesitate if it's 2am (as long as you are OK with that).
Cook for her - find out if there are any dietary issues or great dislikes & take round a chilli or lasagne or cottage pie. Preferably in a dish that can be binned after use.
Posted too soon - I also think you sound like a lovely neighbour.
How wonderful you Are. Sometimes it is hard to ask for help even when it has been offered. The little things can mean so much. Pop over to do the washing or take the ironing home. Leaving meals is also wonderful. Doing this not just at the time but over a longer period will be appreciated as people do need to get on with their lives and you can feel so alone in times of need and everyone has resumed their normal activities. Grief for me is a constant cycle and I go round and round the same things. I particularly am impacted by my hormones so every month get hit with a low which is hard. I know people are there yo help but I find it so hard to ask. If someone just did things for me I would be so appreciative. That can be tricky if someone thinks you are interfering but I think if you have an open conversation now about you just getting on and doing things for them without being asked so they know why and also giving them the ability to ask you to stop at anytime is good. They will have family and friends pitch in a lot to start with so just do a little at the beginning but slightly pick up the pace after the first six weeks. Again how wonderful you are considering you have your own family to care for too.
Thank you for everyone's advice. Cooking is a great idea, I can do that! As with other household chores, easy to do but like you suggested its the simple things can be most appreciated. I think you're right in saying that we don't want to appear to be interfering, just that we're available should she need us (and absolutely on calling anytime, we're often up with our little one anyway!). Good point on picking up the pace once family and friends help have tailed off.
mojito an un-mn hug coming your way, you sound like you speak from very sad experience.
Food I'm sure will be very welcome, also things like putting their bin out, if you have a driveway offering space for visitors, dropping a bag of 'basics' (bread, milk, biscuits) round.
Mostly I would say the time you will be able to help the most is in the weeks and months after when everyone else drifts away. Offering help then will be as appreciated.
One word of caution, they may find your child is too 'difficult' immediately after the loss of theirs so if offers of popping over for coffee are turned down then don't take it personally.
Thank you for being so thoughtful.
Oh yes bins are a good idea, and dropping round the essentials for the non stop flurry of visitors in the early days. We did think she may find our little one difficult afterwards, so we'll play that one by ear, I'm not easily offended so wouldn't think anything of it if she didn't want to see him/us. Thank you for replying
A friends husband died and we got together and got her a big hamper of food bits from m&s
Long shelf life but meant that she'd have bits in even if she could t be bothered to shop
I would agree with dropping round basics and some meals if you can as well x
Maybe take the other dc out as well, park, walk, soft play
I know children have to grieve as well but it might not be great for them to be around all the time
Could you offer to walk her other DC to school once a week?
More good ideas, thank you. I'm going back to work in a few weeks so I wouldn't be able to take her dc to school, but dh might be able to depending on his work (he works from home).
Just suggesting this because my friend at work lost her DH a few years ago and she has said since what a huge help it was for her. Unfortunately it wasn't me who did it though, I lived too far away.
It's a really good idea and if I could be off work for longer I'd definitely do it. I'll ask dh if he thinks he might be able to do it.
I think it's great that you have offered to help her any time. For me, it helped though if people were actually specific, eg, would your son like to come to the ball pit with us at 3pm on Saturday I will pick him up and drop him back. Everyone said that I could call them anytime or call if I needed anything but I couldn't get myself together enough to be able to do that, and did much better if people just told me what they were doing. Even if they said I am coming to visit you this afternoon, it meant that I didn't have to organise it myself.
The cooking thing is a really big help too. People just left stuff on my doorstep, and I didn't know who it was sometimes. Not sure if they have a young child but I had a baby, and people puréed loads of food for me and froze it as he was just weaning.
I found seeing children of the same age really really hard. Or hearing anything about what they were doing. I still try and avoid it as much as possible and its been nearly 2 years. My friends sound a lot like you, and they were brilliant about it. I know they try and not discuss things like birthday parties, school with me, and I really appreciate it.
Thanks twinkle it sounds like you had a great support network at a very sad time for you. That's a good point on being specific, I've been in situations before where people have offered me help but I never actually managed to call on them, and it would have been easier if someone had organised me. I just don't want her to think I'm interfering. Her dcs aren't babies, but how lovely that someone thought to make purees for you.
Thank you to everyone for your replies, especially as a lot of you seem to have drawn on your own sad experiences, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me. I'll definitely be trying to do all of these things and hoping it will take a little pressure off.
I just want to say again moon you are an absolute treasure and will be just what your neighbour needs during this very tough time.
Thank you its the very least I can do, it hardly seems enough. Breaks my heart to watch them every day and knowing soon it will all change.
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