One of the biggest challenges about going through struggles is often the feelings of loneliness and isolation that accompany it. It is very important that you show up to offer comfort and hope in a time of need, even if you don’t know what the best methods are.
We turned to the CaringBridge community to shed some insight on how to comfort someone you love, whether it be a friend, loved one or community member who is going through a difficult time in their lives.
Here are nine ways to help a family member, friend, or anyone in need of some comfort:
1. Share a Meal
One way to offer support is to cook for your loved one and share a meal together.
If you know that this person has a favorite food or restaurant, purchasing a gift card can be another way to show you care.
“My husband had lung cancer. A church friend cooked meals for me. It was a wonder. When my husband moved to hospice care, he did not eat much. He would ask for Chick-Fil-A chocolate milkshakes. A friend gave me a Chick-Fil-A gift card and I would get a milkshake for my husband.”
“Members of my Bible study group have been so thoughtful about bringing meals or gift cards for restaurants so I don’t need to cook. Several of my friends from church have driven me to doctor’s appointments when I have been unable to drive. Or that have just come over to visit, they’re such a blessing.”
2. Give Practical, Yet Thoughtful Gifts
Gifts can be anything from a cozy blanket to monetary (especially necessary in health crises). Sometimes, a gift can simply be spending time with that person.
If you would like to give someone a gift, consider something practical that they would find useful or something that reminds them of a wonderful time in their lives.
“I live in Wisconsin, battling brain cancer. A friend who moved to Atlanta sent me a warm fuzzy bathrobe. She didn’t want me to be too cold going through Chemo. It really helped, I thought of her every morning when I got up.”
3. Help Around the House
Sometimes it’s nice to receive help, even if you don’t ask for it. One way that you could comfort someone is to help them around their house, especially if they are dealing with an illness or injury that makes it difficult for them to keep up with day-to-day tasks.
Cleaning or mowing the lawn are two things you can do. Perhaps your loved one is having trouble doing their weekly grocery shopping or laundry. It can be simple tasks that often provide the most comfort.
“My husband was battling brain cancer. We went on a final family trip. My friends (a lot of them) came into my house before we returned and spruced the whole house. New decor in the dining room, bathroom, master bedroom. I will always be grateful for their kindness.”
Nancy I. K.
4. If It’s the Holiday Season, Find a Way to Make It Special
Holidays can be lonely, especially if they recently lost someone important in their lives. Take the initiative to let them know they are not alone – perhaps helping them decorate for the holidays or listening to their favorite songs.
“My dad died right before Christmas. I was out of town at his bedside until he passed. My adult daughter (who had her own home & family) put up my Christmas tree & decorations. My son helped. One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.”
Anne S. O.
5. Lend a Listening Ear
Sometimes all someone needs is for you to listen. Every person going through a hard time will have a different experience. It’s important to let them do the talking, and to let them know that you’ll be there for them – even if they don’t feel like sharing their experience just yet.
Being a good listener can truly strengthen your relationship. Even if you don’t know what to say, knowing that you’re there can provide great comfort to someone in need.
6. Sometimes a Hug Is All You Need
Simply being there to give your loved one or friend a hug or to hold their hand can offer more support than you realize. Such a simple gesture can tell someone that you are there for them, without saying anything at all.
7. Make a Journal
Reminding your loved one of happier times can offer a massive amount of comfort for them. If they’ve lost someone, speak their name and recall happy memories you have of that person.
Creating a memory book or a journal for someone to look back on can bring them joy in the moment, and for years to come.
“My stepdaughters bought and started a journal after my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They tracked meds, visitors, gifts and special memories. How blessed I am. My husband even decided to write a note in it, which I will forever treasure.”
Mary Jane W. F.
8. Find Comfort in Community
Another way to comfort someone is to reach out to a community that you or they are already a part of. Faith communities or social groups are great places to start – they often can even help with household tasks or by cooking meals for said person.
“When my husband was on ECMO, the other “ECMO wives” took me under their wing and not only fed me but informed me and were there to listen and encourage my heart. When my husband passed a few years later (in February), they even came to his Celebration of Life service.”
“When I was in the hospital during one of my many rounds of brain surgery in 2005 and 2006, our family friend that also went to my church came to visit me and he brought the whole church youth group. I cried tears of joy and felt so loved.”
Stephanie Lynn W.
9. Create a CaringBridge Site
Creating a CaringBridge site for you or a loved one can be an incredible support system. Whether it’s used to track progress, share updates or send words of love, our community is here to support you.
“Being able to read about a loved one and their progress helps the person who is taking care of their loved ones and just share on CaringBridge. Others can give encouragement and let them know you care.”
Carleen C. W. D.
“My Nephew Chip had a CaringBridge page, when he battled lung cancer at 47. It was a great support system for him. He coached his son 11 year old son Dylan’s Atlanta Colt football team at Murphy Candler Park. The entire Atlanta Colts team made signs. So when Chip woke up the morning of his first chemo treatment, as he and his wife Michelle pulled out of their garage, the signs of encouragement his Atlanta Colts made were covering his and Michelle’s entire yard. Chip got out and read all the signs. It was so touching! Chip sadly has been gone 8 years now. He was my oldest brothers’ only child. Chip’s son Dylan is in his 2nd year at Alabama! Miss Chip, everyday!”
Maureen K. J.
Comfort Is Caring
Offering comfort to someone in need is one of the most important parts of helping someone through a difficult time. Sometimes all they may need is a hug, or maybe a little help with their day to day.
What (or who) brings you comfort when you’re feeling low? Help out by sharing your comments below.