The following “truism” is one of my favorites. We have all been guilty of telling someone else “let me know if there is anything you need”. Many of us have also been on the receiving end of this comment. My friend and fellow grieving dads sent me this one. Please let me know what you think.
5. People will often offer to do “anything that you need”: Although this offer is well-intentioned, it really isn’t all that helpful. When my daughter was ill, it was too difficult to think of what people could do for us. What we appreciated and what I try to offer now is something specific: “Do you want a ride?” “I’ll shovel your sidewalk whenever it snows, so don’t worry about that.” “I’m going to bring over dinner. How is tomorrow?” These specific offers are wonderful gestures because they don’t require the person to have to think and they demonstrate genuine care. I remember vividly how my sister-in-law and mother-in-law came over to our house and organized our linen closet and cleaned our kitchen while we were spending so much time at the hospital. Concrete actions and deliveries of food helped the most.