'Grief Groceries' to help with a Cancer Diagnosis or the passing of a loved one ....

arpie Member Posts: 7,259
I put this in the 'Carer's Corner' and it was suggested to put it in the main forum as well.

Before I was diagnosed myself, a buddy in Vic was diagnosed with BC - I sent them a cheque for $100, to use at a restaurant of their choice (or anything else of their choice) just to take some pressure off them ... it was hugely appreciated.

After my husband passed away last year, a few of my buddies brought meals over or 'shouted' me for lunch a couple of times ..... the meals in particular were wonderful, as I wasn't really bothering to feed myself very well.  It was hugely appreciated.

Maybe someone has 'gifted you' after your own BC diagnosis .....

The 'gifting' can be ANYTHING - particularly if you know their likes & dislikes .... it can be movie tickets, a gift Voucher for a Beauty Clinic or any local store that you know they frequent or better still, a 'treat' that you know they rarely give themselves  .... It could be Woollies & Coles vouchers (or just organise an online delivery ..... ) or even mowing their lawn if you see it needs it ... My neighbour actually now mows my big front lawn & I only have to do the side & back lawn, which is a huge help!  He just noticed I'd not been doing it very often earlier in the year & just started doing it and still does it.

In the past, I used to have a fortnightly 'vege drop' that had basic selections of a large number of 'in season' fruit & veg & eggs delivered to the door .... it was quite a large box - which meant that I didn't have to factor those goodies into my weekly shopping which (weight-wise alone) was always large .....
When we visited buddies for up to a week, I'd arrange a box of veg to be sent to THEM, to take some of the pressure off their household budget for feeding 2 extra people for a week .... as we all know the cost of meals, which is particularly high when you are travelling ..... 

Here is an interesting take on helping someone out (from the USA) with what they call 'Grief Groceries' .... and why it is so helpful - just in the 'wording' of the gift ..... We all grieve for ourselves when we are first diagnosed with BC (even whilst worrying about our own mortality) so it can be to help someone out in their first 6-12 months of a cancer diagnosis too ....
You are very likely to know someone else who has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease/condition or know someone who has passed away from one, leaving a grieving partner .....

Our brains are never quite the same after our medical diagnosis or the loss of a partner/loved one ...

May be an image of text that says Grief Groceries eries

Grief Groceries!

I saw this letter today- as a funeral director's son, I have been around this for years.

This is some of the best advice I have ever seen.

“Hey there, Thanks for writing. I’m really glad your friend has you in her life.
I get it. Grief is a funny thing. It’s the time in our life when we most need help, and also the time when asking for help is so hard. Not because we are ashamed to ask for help, although that happens sometimes too. But mostly because our brain just sort of shuts down.

When my Dad died, I looked functional. But I wasn’t OK. Not at all. And when the news got out, the ton of people flooding me with calls, texts, and DM’s was overwhelming. I really couldn’t function. I sat on the swing in our yard and just stared into space. People called and asked what they could do to help. I had no idea.
“Well, anything you need at all, let me know, OK?”
They hung up. I stared into space some more.

I had no idea what to do. What I needed. I didn’t even know what to ask for.
Then a friend sent a text. This friend had met Dad once but didn’t really know him. But still, she knew I was hurting. I saw who it was and almost put the phone down without reading the text, but I saw the message and it stopped me:
Will you be home at 8:30 tonight?
What’s weird is this friend lives 12 hours away from me.
Yes, I replied.

10 minutes later, she said, “Instacart will be there at 8:30. Open the door for them.”
“Grief Groceries.!!”
When Instacart showed up, they put two large bags of groceries on my porch. Frozen pizzas. Ice cream. Oreo cookies. Tinned soup. Stouffer’s lasagna. A gallon of milk. Like that. Things I could heat up if I needed a meal, or pig out on if I needed fat and sugar. Sometimes, you just need to eat half a box of Oreos.
Notice she didn’t ask if I needed any food. I would have said no. She just asked if I would be home.

Another friend, who lives out of town, asked Renee to name a restaurant near our house where we like to eat. There is a local chain near our house that is sort of a deli. When we eat supper there, we spend about $25. Renee told her the name of the place.
An hour later, there was a gift card in my inbox for $250. Yes, that is a lot of money, and I understand not everyone can do that. But the wonderful thing was that because it was enough for multiple meals, we didn’t try to save it for “the right time”. We ate there that night, and take out from there several times a week for the next month on nights when I just didn’t have the spoons to cook.

Both of those gift-givers knew something I didn’t know – that when you are grieving, you don’t want to make decisions. No, that’s not quite it: You can’t make decisions. You hit decision fatigue really fast.

So, I guess what I’m saying is, don’t ask grieving people to make big choices or decisions. “How can I help” is a big choice. But “Can I take the kids this afternoon so you can have some time to yourself” is a much smaller one. “Will you be home tonight?” is a small choice. “What restaurant do you like” is a small decision. Just showing up to cut their grass because you noticed it needed cutting is loads better than asking, “Do you want me to cut the grass?” Or, “I’m going to Target. What can I get you while I’m there?” is better than “Can I run any errands for you?”

It won’t always be like this. If you stick around, eventually they will surface and ways to be helpful will make themselves known. But in the first few days, especially, it helps to remove as many decisions from their plate as you can!”

Original Words from: Hugh Hollowell Jr.


  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,438
    Nice idea!  
  • Fufan
    Fufan Member Posts: 117
    That all sounds wonderful, but I had none of that.  We have few friends in our local village.  It was lockdown, and I appreciated calls and texts from our friends elsewhere.  There were flowers, and the occasional masked visit, but only some banana bread (which was an ongoing joke).  I had no breast care nurse, either, so the whole thing was very lonely.  I'm surprised I’ve come through apparently unscathed, psychologically.  
    Of course, I would encourage all to pitch in and help those struggling with their diagnosis. 
    I have a friend quite recently diagnosed, but just too far for me to give her any help except online.  But isn’t she the lucky one?  A chef lives next door, and has regularly been delivering them delicious meals, even before my friend was diagnosed.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,259
    edited July 10
    That is such a shame - I am glad you are going OK tho @Fufan - as it really is a massive upheaval.  As sometimes it is difficult to even make logical decisions as it mucks with your brain even more than your body xx

    Your friend was indeed lucky to have a chef living next door who helped her out with meals!  YUM

    I am currently teaching a local buddy how to catch blackfish - she has been caring for her partner with a brain issue for a couple of years now & needs an 'outlet' and 'me time' ..... and she is enjoying it (tho not too keen on filleting the fish at this point! LOL) ;)