“When Mom Needs Help,” Ensign, Oct. 1988, 63
Have you ever wondered whether the family whose mother is confined to bed recovering from an illness, an accident, or surgery could use some help? The answer is definitely yes—although family members may insist that they are doing fine. Here are some suggestions to make a difficult time more pleasant for the family and to help lift some of the burden from the father and older children.
Dinner is always appreciated at the end of a hectic day. Ask if there is a family favorite that they would like you to prepare or if there is anything that family members cannot eat. If at all possible, take the meal in disposable containers, such as foil pans and paper plates, to minimize cleanup time. If you take the meal in dishes that you want returned, mark your name clearly on them and mention that you will drop by in a couple of days to pick them up. An extra special treat, especially if there are young children in the home, is to take cookie dough or cake batter and bake it on the scene, filling the air with delicious aromas.
Meals are not the only way to help. Give children rides to school or activities, mow the lawn on a Saturday morning, or hold a young child during church services. Have your family spend an hour or so at their home dusting, vacuuming, and doing other household chores. As a special treat to the parents, take their children away for a couple of hours on a Friday or Saturday evening so that they can have a “date” at home.
You can also do many things to boost the sister’s spirits during her long hours in bed. Take small gifts that will double as productive time-fillers: mini jigsaw puzzles, small needlework projects, or stationery. Pick up a favorite library book or two, drop off an interesting article, or help her get rid of the “bedridden look” by bringing her makeup, curlers, and nail polish to her bedside, then putting them away when she has finished with them. If you take her treats, be sure to take small portions since pounds and inches accumulate quickly when she is not able to exercise. The best gift is simply a visit, but be careful not to stay too long, since she will probably tire easily.
Giving this kind of service may not always be easy or convenient—especially if the family is hesitant to accept at first. But the burdens that will be lifted and the joy that will be shared make even the smallest efforts, given with love, greatly appreciated and long remembered.—Carrie Ludlow, Modesto, California