So, I’m putting this out there early: I’m totally weirded out writing this post.

This past year, a number of my friends have faced personal and family challenges. And, each time, I found myself asking — no, BEGGING — to help them. My friends who have experienced hardship and tragedy are all brave, strong, independent women who not only can’t ask for help, they don’t realize they even want the help. Yeah, I’m one of them.

So, I’m gonna write the two obvious things here: 1) ways you can help during surgery time (if you want to), and 2) ways that I, yes, I, will need help.

With six weeks before surgery (yikeeeess!!), I’m planning everything I can possibly plan. If you know me, you know that I already have a check list, a time line, and events penned into my calendar of who/what/where/when. I’m buying diapers, doing a huge grocery run, cleaning, laundry, putting away fall clothes and taking out the winter clothes, notifying teachers, coordinating with family members, and taking care of all of my responsibilities at work. I got this.

There, of course, are things I will not be able to do. So, I’ll break this down into “stuff local folks can do” (if you want) and “stuff far away friends can do” (if you want). So, I gotta say this again — this is super weird for me to write all this. This is also at the request of my gal pals (those same brave, independent ones) who said I must do this! I fear them; so, this post is for them. 🙂

If you’re local, if you have 10-15 minutes, or you’re already out… these following tasks would help my awesome Jorge, who can handle everything, but this would just help to ease the work!

  • I’m not one for visitors while on painkillers, and God knows I hate being an ineffective host. So, please don’t be offended if I refuse visitors for a while. If I can’t be a good host (which means baking cookies, cleaning the house, etc), I don’t want to be one.
  • I’m obsessed with vacuuming my home. With a dog and three kids, I vacuum every single day. If you have 10 minutes and happen to be in my neighborhood, and if you don’t think it’s weird, a quick visit to run the vacuum would help with my clean-obsession…..
  • Same goes for any dishes that make their way to my sink. Jorge will likely be running around taking care of the kids, so this would be a big help for him (and me).
  • If you are at the grocery store, we tend to run out of milk quickly. Maybe grab a gallon while you’re out for our house?
  • Any meals would be very appreciated. Anything easy. Again, it’ll be Jorge with the kids and doing the Mommy duties, so this would be a huge help! Pizza, of course, is a big family favorite!
  • Is it Wednesday afternoon? Our garbage cans and recyclable can need to be brought to the curb. I usually do this, but won’t be able to venture outside (nor pull anything heavy).
  • I’m praying it doesn’t snow.. at all. If it does, Jorge will be outside shoveling, which means I’ll somehow have to look after the kids. If you’re free (though, you’re probably shoveling, too!), perhaps come to watch the kids for an hour?
  • Heading to work around 8:30am? It would be a treat if you could bring one of the kids to school! That gives Jorge one (or two?) less drop offs to do!
  • Ditto for pick up — in the area around 5pm? It would be helpful if you picked up one of the kids (we’d need to call the school to notify them ahead of time).
  • Got 10 minutes and want to take a walk? Our puppy is likely going to be seriously neglected during those weeks. This would be a huge treat for everyone!

If you’re a far- away friend, here are some great ways to help!

  • Cards, emails, and notes are welcome!! In fact, a really fun way to help would be to write notes of encouragement to Jorge and the kids. This is going to be a tough time for them, and everyone loves mail 🙂
  • My mastectomy friends tell me to expect some unexpected bills. While we’ve planned for this (as much as you can plan for the unexpected!), any little bit helps to ease the burden. But, do what you feel comfortable — for my gals who have struggled this year, I’ve sent grocery gift cards ($10-25) as a way to help out financially. The money they would have spent on groceries could then go to medical bills.
  • If you also want to help another way financially and FUN, the kids will likely need a pick-me-up. A fun way to help would be to send an iTunes gift card good for 1 movie ($9.99, usually). It would be a nice treat for them, if that’s what you’d like to do!
  • I’m going to be heading into Boston back and forth, and gas cards are always welcome.

Okay, a quick note from me — as you can imagine, that was all really awful to write. I’ve had to walk away from the computer a few times, take a deep breath, and just force myself to write those bullet points down. I had to keep reminding myself that my friends have asked for this list. But, please know that PRAYERS PRAYERS AND PRAYERS are really all I’m asking for! (Y’all have asked for this material stuff list!). Please, please, please don’t feel you need to do any of this!

Seriously, a prayer a day will do the most work for us!

I hope this lists helps with some ideas, friends! Shout out, too, to my mastectomy friends who have given me the ideas for the items on this bullet list. And, thanks to my pals who made me actually write it…!

Peace, love, and prayers,


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10 Responses to HOW TO HELP

  1. lisa says:

    You said it perfectly!!

  2. Olivia says:

    Dude, I am so all over this list. I WISH I was closer to come hang out with the kids! This was very brave of you to write; I hate asking for help too. You married an amazing man, and you have such a fantastic support system, and it’s all because…we love you! You’re going to kick this thing in the shin, and this will all be a blip in the past so soon! oxox Olivia (and Jenny)

  3. Mari-Chris says:

    Hey Liza,
    It would be helpful to know where to send things. I just realized I don’t even know where you call home these days.
    Thinking of you and you are already in our daily thoughts and prayers.

  4. Aleta Plouffe says:

    Hi Liza,

    I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that was to write. I remember the offers of help after both boys were born and just not taking people up on it, I am strong, I can do it.

    I want you to know, as small as it is, consider the garbage and recycling taken care of. As long as we are home, we will bring it out for you guys.

    Praying for you,

  5. Becky says:

    I know I am on that list of people you helped this past year. I can never repay you for all of the love and support you have given me, but thank you for having the courage to ask for help! Yet again my dear, YOU ROCK!!!

    • Liza says:

      Oh Becky! It felt good to be supportive and be there for you and the kids! What we all did was so little compared to what you were going through. You inspire me with your strength, courage, faithfulness, and your own awareness of taking care of yourself, too.

  6. Margot Garofalo says:

    Liza, Can you email me with your address? I think of you often and want to help. Thanks for being brave enough to post this! –Margot

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