Home Lifestyle What can I do to help my friend going through a difficult time?

What can I do to help my friend going through a difficult time?


What can I do to help my friend going through a difficult time?

About 2 months ago, I started going to a medical center approx. 3hrs from where I live for medical treatment.  To start with, I would travel down twice a week on my days off from work.  A typical two weeks would consist of two days of work followed by two days of treatments, three days of work, two days of treatments, and two days of work before having three days off at home.  A number of friends asked my DH and I what do we need and how can they help.  As a paramedic, I’m used to being the one who helps those who need it and not being the one asking for help.  Friends stepped up and helped with the driving back and forth and others have helped with meals and with our two children.

Two weeks ago, I stopped working and now spend my weeks down at the medical center and my weekends at home.  Friends and family have continued to ask how to help and to let them know if we need anything.  If you know me, you know I don’t ask.  If I can do it – I will do it.  I am stubborn – been told that a time or two!  Truth is there is nothing harder and more humbling than to ask for help and, although there are things you wish people would do, it’s easier to just push on and do it rather than ask.

I know I’m not alone in this.  Out of all the people I have told “Please, let me know if there is anything I can do,” I have not been asked once to do something.  Does this mean they didn’t need anything – no.  They just didn’t want to ask – and sometimes they were so overwhelmed they didn’t know what they needed.  So, here are 10 things – from my experience as someone who is going through a challenging time and as someone who has tried to help others – that you can do for someone who is going through a difficult time.

10 Things that can help…


      • OBSERVE AND DO – don’t ask!  If you see something that needs to be done – just do it.  However, please be careful you don’t ‘take over’ or ‘control’ the person or situation.  While help is appreciated, being ‘controlled’ is not.  If in doubt, ask if you can go ahead and do something that you think will be helpful.

      • THINK – about what you would want if it were you.  Everyone is different – some prefer space, others prefer someone to talk to and lean on.  However, everyone needs to know they are thought of and not alone.

      • COMMUNICATE – Send texts, emails and/or fb messages and posts etc.  Don’t forget about “snail mail” – a card, a letter – something tangible to read or look at and be reminded over and over that someone is with you and thought about you.  Some people like a phone call or video chat (such as Skype) too – get a feel for what your friend prefers or just ask them if you don’t know

      • MEALS – frozen meals work well if time seems to be a crunch and can be dropped off anytime.  If it isn’t needed that night, it will be available when it is most needed.  If you do a fresh meal – make sure the family do know ahead of time.  www.takethemameal.com is great for organizing this.

      • GIFT CARDS – These are another great way to help out a family – I didn’t realize how much until these past few weeks.

      • CHILDREN – If there are children – invite them over for playdates, trips to the park etc.  Pick a day and plan it – like you would a regular play date.  Even “watch” them at their own home so that the parent/s can get other things done around the house or take a nap, etc.

      • FINANCIAL – If there is a lot of expense involved in treatment, etc. a gofundme account, or something similar, is a great way to help.  Financial help is probably one of the hardest things to accept – certainly has been for us.

      • SOMETHING SPECIAL – If it is something that is ongoing – a loss of a loved one, an accident with a long recovery or a chronic illness, etc. – remember that the battle is still ongoing after the first weeks and that, as life goes on for everyone else, theirs is still focused on the loss, the rehab, the “new life” with sickness and doctor’s appointments etc.  A spontaneous “steal away” for coffee, lunch, or something will mean a lot to many.

      • LISTEN – with and without advice – sometimes being able to express how you feel without feeling judged or wrong for the feelings can bring great relief.

      • PRAY – Lastly, and most importantly, if you say you are going to pray – DO PRAY.  Purposeful prayer can do wonders.  I don’t know how many times I have received a text or message that simply said “I just prayed for you”.  It has usually been at one of my lowest moments or when being faced with a difficult decision to make.


“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40

What are some things you have found helpful – or you would find helpful if it were offered?  Please leave your comments below as a way to share with others and give ideas to those who would like to help. Don’t forget our Facebook group for further discussion as well.


Joy Kirk Joy is a Bible Believing, Christian wife and mother of two gorgeous children - a boy (7) and a girl (4). She is also a paramedic and she loves her job where she gets to help people at a time when they're in great need. Along with her job and looking after her family, she deals with chronic illness in the form of MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) as well as another underlying condition that's still under investigation. She blogs at http://www.savouringthemomentdaily.com/. Fun Facts - Joy loves cookie dough and reading - especially by a wood burning fire place with some hot chocolate.



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