#70. Fly or Drive For a Visit

Do not put off going to see people you love when they are struggling. If they are in a phase of the illness or grief that they are up for visit … GO. Plan on staying in a hotel and being self-sufficient so it is no extra stress on them, but JUST GO. Make it a short trip and take care of everything while you are there that you can think of. A five-hour drive, just for lunch, is worth it during times like this.

#69. Help with Holiday Decorations

After 9/11, it felt impossible for my sister to decorate her house for any of the holidays, but we wanted to keep things as “normal” as possible for her kids. Offer to help put up and take down decorations (inside and outside). If you pass by the house in December and the pumpkins are still outside the house, send a text saying, “I’m going to grab your pumpkins and replace with a wreath this afternoon.”

#68. Drop Off Lunch at School

If a parent or sibling is sick, this takes one thing off mom’s plate and gives the kid something to look forward to. You can organize people to drop off lunches at school one day or several days a week so the parent knows lunch is taken care of.

#67. Do the Essential shopping

Send a quick text before you go to the food store or department store and ask what you can pick up for them. Sometimes it helps to say, “I’m going to Target. What can I grab for you?” rather than, “I’m going to Target. Do you need anything?”

#66. Keep it Simple (Stupid)

So often we do nothing because we get overwhelmed trying to be creative. There is a saying in 12-step programs, “KISS”, which means “Keep it Simple Stupid.” So here are simple, small items you can drop off with great love:

– A chocolate bar/movie-sized box of candy

– A bottle of seltzer A cup of coffee/hot chocolate

– A box of doughnut holes

– A plate of fruit

– Homemade banana bread

– A six pack of seasonal beer

#65. Treats for After a Show/Game

School talent show/play/evening game? Drop off desserts at their house so they have something to look forward to when they get home. Parents may not feel like dealing with the crowds at Dairy Queen for the post-game celebration, so this way they can have people they are comfortable with over afterward instead of being in town with the masses.

#64. Think One Meal Ahead

If you are going to see someone from the family at a morning dance class or soccer game, bring them lunch to leave with and eat when they get home. When people are struggling with grief and illness so often they are operating one hour or event at a time. If you see them at your 6 am yoga class, bring coffee and bagels for them to bring home (you get the idea) and don’t forget pretty paper plates and delicious cookies for dessert.

#63. Knit or Crochet and Pray

If you are feeling disconnected and chomping at the bit to do something, learn to knit or crochet and pray with every stitch. This way, when you are done, it will be FILLED with prayers. Send a blanket, hats, mittens or scarves for the whole family. You can add a note saying, “I didn’t know what else to do, so I knitted (or crocheted) for you. I prayed with every stitch and I hope you feel them when you wear it.”

#62. “Bestie PJs” for You Both to Wear

The morning I left for a trip during a particularly painful time in my life, my sister gave me matching pajamas so that every night we would be wearing the same ones. It comforted me and helped us feel connected across the time zones.

Add a note explaining that although you can’t be together, you are wearing the same jammies at night. This is a great thing to do with a bestie, sibling, or group of friends. What’s better than all your sorority friends, spread all over the country, wearing the same jammies to bed each night?! This can also be done with other “matching” items:

-perfume (How about “Baby Soft” from 6th grade or your favorite Este Lauder you shared in college, or your new grown-up favorite!)

– Matching shoe laces to work out in

– Jewelry (remember how it felt to wear half a heart and your bestie had the other half?!)

– winter hats (Loveyourmelon.com is great)

– mittens

– t-shirts

– socks

#61. Hire a Handyman for a Day

Or send over one of your friends who is handy to fix the little things being neglected in the house. A broken drawer on a good day is no big deal, but a broken drawer, burned out light bulb, or loose table leg can be maddening after spending a day, week, or month at the hospital.