By nature, I believe we as humans are caring and kind. We like to help and be there for others when they celebrate and when they go through tragedy. For example, we buy gifts when people have babies, get married, retire and reach other various milestones. And we bring food when others suffer the loss of a loved one or lose everything in a natural disaster. We sit close to those who are suffering from a terrible disease like cancer, in the midst of grief or going through a divorce. That’s how we love, comfort, support, and uplift.
Loving and caring for others who continue to face many of life’s celebrations and trials has become difficult since the pandemic. Our hearts begin to hurt because of the weddings we miss and the families we can’t mourn alongside. We grieve over the showers we can’t attend and the relief efforts we are limited in assisting after natural disasters.
The core of our humanity seems to be stripped away from us because of the need to quarantine and stay safe and healthy. Sometimes, if you’re like me, you begin to wonder, is it worth it? Is what I’m giving up to “stay healthy” worth it? What’s the point of being a friend when you can’t do all those things that friends do? I don’t want to miss the birth of my cousin’s baby or the funeral of my neighbor’s son. What do I do?
How to Check In
That’s where we have to be creative. Here are some ideas to support, encourage and love those that are facing life-altering events during this time of quarantine.
- Arrange for meal delivery and share virtual meals—We love to take food to those who are experiencing life-changing events. Instead, have the food delivered to them. Then, use a video app to eat together while you share in their grief or their excitement.
- Virtual Photo Albums—Simply going through digital photos to walk down memory lane and using the “share screen” function that many video apps have promotes the bonding and connectedness we desire.
- Drive-By Parade—Gather some of your friends safely. In your own cars, parade in front of their home with signs of celebration.
- Gift-Giving Through Online Registry—Help loved ones set up online gift registries and purchase the gifts electronically. (Don’t assume everyone, such as your soon to be 70-year-old grandmother, knows how to set up an online registry.)
- Electronic Greeting Cards—Find a ready-made one or design your own. You can send these directly to their smartphone. A sympathy card or one of celebration can offer timely words of encouragement.
- Prepare A Virtual Trivia Game Night—Create trivia facts centered around the person being celebrated (TriviaMaker is a good app).
- Mail a Handwritten Letter or Card—There’s still something that makes me feel special when I receive a letter. Knowing that someone took the time to handwrite something themselves—everything about that says that I am important. Emails or texts can’t match the feeling of a handwritten letter.
- Attend Events Virtually—Knowing that you took the time to attend an event, whether it’s a wedding, funeral, or party, tells your loved one that you won’t let social distancing stop you from sharing in their moment.
- Leave comments on their social media feed when appropriate. We know what it feels like to read our social media comments and feel the love and support of those who couldn’t be with us physically. It uplifts the spirit.
- Call. But Use Video Calls As Often As Possible—Be available to listen. Allow those you love to vent, blow off steam and complain. You may not be needed to fix anything. Just being a listening ear goes a long way.
- Note: When someone crosses your mind, call them then. Don’t wait—I can’t tell you how many times someone has called me at the perfect time when I was dealing with something. And they often started with, “I was just thinking about you and thought I’d call to see how you were.”
- Record And Electronically Deliver A Special Video Message—You may be providing a keepsake that your loved ones will treasure forever.
Encouraging, loving and supporting others does make us feel good. It uplifts us and helps us feel meaningful and full of purpose. Ultimately, we have to remember that it’s not about you—it’s about the person on the receiving end.
A virtual meal or handwritten letter may not feel as satisfying to give right now. However, it can still help your loved one’s big life moments bring them the joy and peace they may need. That’s one of the special perks of having you in their life.