How to Comfort a Grieving Neighbor
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Posted By: Adina Bailey and Karen Whetzel, on Oct 13, 2017

How to Comfort a Grieving Neighbor
 

Last week, a friend was visiting and she said in passing that her neighbor's husband had recently died.

I mentioned to my friend, Karen, that as neighbors we can have a significant role in the lives of our grieving neighbors because we can see them in the yard and easily check in with them just as a result of our homes being close to one another. This casual, but meaningful, contact after a loss can be more difficult for friends and family who may live a few miles away or even further in many cases. Karen nodded as I spoke.

I remember how hard it was to be in Virginia when my dad died and the helpless feeling I had when my mom (a few hours away) had a practical need. I am grateful for the way that my mom's neighbors watched out for her and I want to do the same for my own neighbors.

As is typical with my friends, Karen was already 10 steps ahead of me. She was aware that in a few weeks, people would go back to normal life and her neighbor would be faced with a deeper sense of loss. Then, she told me about the Comfort Basket she had already made for her neighbor, but was saving for just the right time - a few weeks out from her loss.

Karen sent me this lovely description of the Comfort Basket and even sent me a photo. This is what she said:

After a month, friends and relatives have returned to their jobs and routines and you are left sitting in the quiet house alone. Then, there is a knock on the door. It is your neighbor from across the street bearing a warm smile and a beautiful basket. After expressing her heartfelt condolences, you invite her in and discover that she has brought you a Comfort Basket.

She said the purpose of the basket and it contents is to give you comfort in the days ahead. Like a child opening a gift on Christmas morning, you peel back the fabric layers of the fleece throw to find colorful treasures: cans of hearty soup, jam filled cookies, Colombian coffee, and a bright blue mug filled with chocolate candies.

The neighbor drapes the amethyst and charcoal woven throw around your shoulders, gives you a hug and says, "I wanted to bring you warmth, comfort, love, and cheer. May I heat up some soup for us to share as we sit together and reminisce about your husband and share funny stories about our times at the neighborhood picnics and holiday gatherings?"

How to Comfort a Grieving Neighbor

I love thinking of the Comfort Basket from the perspective of the recipient. Many thanks to Karen for not only sharing her Comfort Basket idea, but reminding us of how a simple gesture can be such a meaningful and loving gift to our neighbors.

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