- Be there. The first 2 weeks, we did not want anyone to be there emotionally. I wanted to cry in my bed every day and have Josh hold me because he was the only person who could possibly understand what I was feeling. But now, it has been helpful to have people just be there and be willing to talk to about Sloane, but also be able to talk about normal, every day life things, too. We are still people.
- Ask questions. Sometimes it is hard to know how to bring up Sloane, but just like any proud mama or papa, I want to share my story and my love. If something is too private or personal, I will let you know, so don't worry about bringing something up that is uncomfortable. No one wants to feel sad and isolated, so it helps to talk, and when others aren't afraid to ask questions, it has helped me to talk.
- Be practical. The first few days after I got home from the hospital, I had friends bring pads, kleenex, stool softener, and cabbage. These were life savers, and things I probably would have dealt with not having, but helped the physical aspect be so much more manageable. People also brought us meals-comfort food took on a whole new meaning. When you are physically taken care of by others, it makes it easier to take care of yourself emotionally.
- Be proactive-find a need and fill it. I am guilty of asking what I can do, and offering my assistance if needed, but I am not good at being proactively helpful. I think this is a talent that some come by naturally and others have to develop over time. When you are trying to get by day to day emotionally, it is hard to think of how someone else can help you, so it was so helpful when someone would just do something.
- Reach out. We have been so touched by the people who have thought to send a card, text message, email, or Facebook message. It is such a small thing, but it means so much to know others are thinking of you, even if we are not very close of friends.
- Remembrances. Because remembering Sloane and making her a part of our life is so important to us, we wanted to surround ourselves with physical reminders of her. The donations people gave helped us do this, and I had sweet friends get me necklaces to help me remember her.
As people have helped, they have often downplayed their service to us, saying it's nothing compared to what we have lost and gone through...but to us, these seemingly small acts of service have been our everything. When our everything was taken, these "small" acts became all we had, and I will be ever grateful for all of those who watched over us, loved us, and cared for us during the worst time.
There are still days, hours, and minutes that everything seems wrong and nothing seems right.. times that missing Sloane is all-consuming. But it is good to think of blessings received, even if it not the blessing we would have chosen or that we want.