After my son was stillborn, I remember many community-based efforts to help me. The kindness of strangers and near-strangers moves me to this day. We got a lot of food. This gesture was so lovely. I understood that food was love – and that love was sustaining.
The problem? I was not hungry. I could not eat anything except miso soup. So the food sat in my refrigerator and then migrated to my freezer.
If I am being honest, as I can be most completely on this site, I, like others, felt alone. Looking back, the isolation I felt was something similar to the isolation those who loved me felt. It was the flip side of the same coin. After my son died, there was this yawning chasm. It swallowed up so much of me – so much of those who wanted to love me and love my husband. Each beautiful bouquet expressed a wish to connect. Each card was a signpost in the desert.
It was awkward to witness how little guidance there was for those to offer effective support. I knew they wanted to. I wanted to accept it. But neither one of us seemed to know how. A then-friend-and-now-no-longer said, “I do not know how to reach you.” I sat on my bed hunched over in anxiety and thought something along the lines of me neither.
Enter Give InKind, a crowd-caring site designed to educate, assist, and empower.
Helping after loss is so difficult. It is so hard to know what to say. Loss stops so many more conversations than it starts.
When I was offered the chance to work for Give InKind founder Laura Malcolm, I immediately said yes. Laura and her husband James Kocsis are loss parents and Give InKind is inspired by their daughter Layla, who was stillborn in 2013. The site grows from baby loss, but goes far beyond to arm people with effective tools for support in any circumstance.
Give InKind offers a custom calendar designed to offer assistance – meals, home care, childcare (if there are living siblings) and more. This calendar can be shared with support systems both near and far. Meals can be signed up for and then food sent. There are curated giving guides for families in need. Wishlists of items suggested by those who have been there can be built. So too are there articles so that those who may not know what to do or say can learn more about loss and how to help. Parenting topics range from loss at any gestational stage to pregnancy and parenting after loss.
The site touches on many topics. But the beating heart at the center of it all is beautiful Layla who lived for only a short time, but whose legacy is changing lives.
Please consider building a page for a bereaved or a bereaved/expectant family. Give InKind welcomes content and product suggestions. What helped you? Please reach out if we can help in any way. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or visit Give InKind.