Supporting Families in Crisis

May 7, 2021

Recently I read a blog that shared how families that have a loved one with a disability are just waiting for the next battle to happen.  That life seems to be going well and then the rain begins and the storm moves in.  This blog written by the mother of a child with a developmental disability resonated with me.  Even in the good times, it seems like that storm or battle could come at any time.  It swoops in and changes our perspective and our priorities.  At that moment, nothing else matters except winning that battle and coming out on the other side of the storm. 

I have seen the good times.  The sunny days with rainbows, sunshine, and butterflies nesting on newly blossomed flowers.  I have seen the bad.  The days that seem so dark and dreary with a thickness in the air.  Then the thunder begins to bellow and the winds and rains begin to blow and beat upon the life you've been living.  I have had this experience recently and you could say that I am still going through it.  What got me through was the check ins and calls of others, reaching out, like a calm in the madness, making sure I didn't slip in too deep. 

So, what can we do when a part of our interdisciplinary team is going through hard times?  When a family's anchor doesn't hold and they need extra support.  It really is quite simple.  Just remind them that you are there.  You may feel like you are being a bother in the midst of their chaos, but that isn't so.  You are reminding them that they are loved, needed, and will get through this stretch of the journey.

  • Take the time to send a card.  You can send it through snail mail or through an e-card to their email.  There are many options available.
  • Make that call.  They may not be able to answer, but they will listen and appreciate hearing your voice when they have a moment. 
  • Send that message.  Whether it is text messaging, Facebook Messenger, GroupMe, or any other messaging service you have with that person, use it.  That text could be a timely reminder that you are rooting for them. 
  • Of course, meals can be bought, money can be provided, and your help can be given.  Gifts of these kind are appreciated, but above all, just knowing you are thinking of them in a difficult time is enough. 

I encourage you to not be silent when someone is struggling.  Reach out to them.  Tell them that they are on your mind and in your thoughts.  Please don't leave them in this battle alone.  Be that voice that reminds them they will overcome and see sunshine and rainbows again.

By Wendy Spoon, OKLEND Intern