July 2010 IssueVol 2, Issue 1


I Did Not Know 

What To Say  



WELCOME EVERYONE!  Our online community is growing and we are honored to have you be a part of the journey.


I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and are staying cool.  I have been enjoying my outdoor swimming to keep me focused and relaxed.


I recently came across an article by Tamar Fox that I found to be delightfully insightful.  Tips for Feeding Grieving Friends offers helpful hints on the does and don'ts of bringing food to a grieving friend. Tamar Fox has graciously agreed to allow us to reprint her article to share with you this month.  I hope you enjoy her article as much as I did.


Keeping with the food theme, this month's Inspiration features my family's journey of paying tribute to our mother through creating Mom's Best Recipes cookbook. We invite you to share your family tributes with our readers.

Each month our newsletter will feature a new article giving you a different perspective on how to assist your friends and family through the grieving process. Please feel free to pass our newsletter on to anyone that may benefit from our articles and inspirational messages.
Have a suggestion or a story you would like to share? We would love to hear from you.

With Love & Gratitude,



A real friend never gets in your way -- unless you happen to be on the way down. ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

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Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts
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Featured Article of the Month

Tips for Feeding Grieving Friends

By Tamar Fox

I'm an avid cook, but I think in the past three months I've probably made a total of four meals. Menu planning, grocery shopping, and cooking elaborate meals-all activities I love-have been out of the question since March, when my mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. We have spent so little time in the kitchen since the diagnosis that my mom, an enthusiastic and innovative chef in her own right, recently joked she had probably forgotten how to use a measuring cup.

Though I miss cooking and baking, spending time with my mom is my top priority these days, so I'm glad that our community has stepped in and set up an extensive network of people to bring us food so we don't have to spend all day in the kitchen. We have gotten some truly amazing and delicious meals. Still, there have also been some pretty substantial bumps in the road.

Here are some tips to take into consideration if you're called on to bring food to a family member or friend who's ill, recovering from surgery, or dealing with a recent lossMom's Best Chili.

Don't Overdo It
The number one issue we've had is with people who make waaaay too much food. There are four people living in my house right now, and someone recently brought us a dinner of two rotisserie chickens, a meatloaf, plus side dishes and soup. That's three dinners, not one. And when everyone brings enough food for a few days of leftovers, it's easy to be completely overwhelmed. Ask before you cook for an army, and if you know you're not the only person bringing food, try making just enough.

Ask About Food Restrictions
Chemotherapy in particular has wacky effects on people's taste buds. Things that my mother used to love-bread, chocolate, fruit-now taste foul to her. For months she found tomatoes to be too acidic, but loved oranges and grapefruits. People on dialysis need to limit their potassium. Diabetics will want low-cal offerings. There are also food allergies to contend with, and vegetarians/vegans to be accommodated. Ask before you buy and prepare anything. If you're feeling really nice, instead of asking what the person in question can't eat, ask what he would like to eat.

Stick to the Program

Often, communities will set up a rotation of people bringing food. If you're assigned to bring food on Monday, bring food on Monday. If you decide to stop by for a visit on Thursday, don't just show up with a pot of mushroom barley soup. People are constantly dropping by to say hello and bringing an unnecessary kugel, loaf of banana bread, or, in one case, an entire turkey. Though we appreciate the thought, we may not have room in the fridge for an entire turkey with no notice.

Tupperware: Friend AND Foe
Tupperware and all of its cousins (Gladware, etc.) are awesome when you're making food for others. Less wasteful than disposable containers, cheap, and microwave safe. That said, when three to five meals are being delivered to one place every week, the Tupperware starts to build up. (We have a garbage bag full of abandoned Tupperware.) If you want your containers back, label them clearly and ask that they be returned. If you don't need the containers returned, mention that, too. Also, if the family you're cooking for keeps kosher, be sure to mark what's dairy and what's meat so nothing gets accidentally used incorrectly.

Skip the Guessing Game

When you bring food, mark everything clearly. If at all possible, provide a list of ingredients for each item so that it's clear what's meat, what's veg-friendly, and what's going to be too spicy for the kids. Bring everything as fully assembled as possible, so that it can go straight in the oven or microwave, and then right to the table. Soup, especially, needs to be specified because lots of soups look alike (minestrone and red lentil soup, for instance, look nearly identical, but if you accidentally combine them, the result is kind of gross).

Call Ahead
When you have the food all ready to go, call its destination to find out if someone is home to receive, and also ask if it's a good time to come and visit. Sometimes, when someone brings dinner they assume it's fine if they hang around and chat for an hour or two. Sometimes it is fine, and sometimes, after a long day of doctor's appointments, physical therapy, and a never-ending string of phone calls, we just want to eat dinner and get in bed. In most cases people will be happy to tell you if it's okay to come in, or if they'd rather you just dropped it off and visited some other time. Personally, I love the people who bring us wonderful meals, give us a quick hug each, and head right back out. We get to eat while the food is still hot, and later we can call and have a lengthy chat about how tasty everything was, and how much we appreciated it.

It's Not Personal, It's Cancer/Heart Disease/Diabetes/Grief

Sometimes, even the best food from the closest friends doesn't help. Sometimes things just suck and people feel awful despite all of the love coming their way. If you don't get the thank you you think you deserve, or if the food doesn't stay down, or if things somehow go wrong, don't take it personally. One of those horrible-but-true clichés comes to mind: it really is the thought that counts.

Tamar Fox is an associate editor at MyJewishLearning.com. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Vanderbilt University, and a BA from the University of Iowa. She has worked as the editor of the religion blog at Jewcy.com, and is on the Editorial Board at The Jew and the Carrot. She spent a summer as a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar, and was a Senior Apprentice Artist for four years at Gallery 37 in Chicago.


This article originally appeared on The Jew & The Carrot and is reprinted with permission.  Tamar Fox's piece has also been featured on Beliefnet.com.

This Month's Inspiration - Mom's Best Recipes ~ A Tribute
Mom's Best RecipesIn loving memory of our mother Judy, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 1993, my sister and I decided to create a cookbook as a tribute to her passion for cooking.  Cooking and entertaining brought her great joy and she blessed so many friends and family with her special gift.


Creating a tribute to honor a loved one can bring up many emotions as my sister Michelle Pederson-Tomes has so eloquently expressed in her dedication in our cookbook Mom's Best Recipes...


"This hasn't been an easy process.  I have shed many tears over the loss of my mother and that she isn't here to see what we have created in her honor.  I really did not understand the magnitude of who she was until we started this book.  Many people that knew her have responded very favorable to our cookbook.  She was at her best when she was cooking and planning parties.  It was her passion.  Her friends and family were extremely lucky to have had her to bring us all together through her generous spirit."


Through sharing our cookbook Mom's Best Recipes with others, our mother continues to touch us all through the love she put into each of her recipes.


To read more about Mom's Best Recipes, go to www.momsbestrecipes.com.


How do you remember your loved ones after they have passed away?  We invite you to share your family traditions and tributes.  Email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

Discussion Topics
We invite you to join our on-going discussions on our Facebook page.  Not on Facebook?  We have also posted our discussion topics on our Blog.  Current topics include: 
Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas
Visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page for sympathy gifts ideas for your loved ones. 
We hope the thoughtful gifts listed on our website inspire you to give warmth and joy to your friends and family in their time of need.
Visit our website for special discounts from our Thoughtful Sympathy Gift vendors.
Viritual Interviews 
Posted on June 28, 2010 - Author, Lori A. Moore - Missing Andy
Posted on November 8, 2009 - Author, Jean Reagan
- Always My Brother 
Posted on December 1, 2009 - Author, Marcy Kelly - From Sorrow to Dancing
Posted on December 10, 2009 - Sally Wagner, Organized Peace - Professional Organizer
If you are an author or an expert in the grief recovery field and would like to be interviewed, please contact us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

To order these books and preview other inspirational books, be sure to visit our Helpful Books page.
About I Did Not Know What To Say.com & Lori Pederson
LoriLori Pederson created I Did Not Know What To Say in April 2009 as a platform to inspire and provide resources to people that wanted to help their friends and family through the grieving process. 
Lori's expertise comes from those experiences that only life can provide.  Over the past twenty years, Lori has lost many family members, including her mother to ovarian cancer, as well as many friends, colleagues and pets.  She is no stranger to loss and the grieving process.
Throughout her life she has been blessed with many friends and relatives that were there for her as she experienced these great losses. She understands that although people want to help, they often don't know where to start.  I Did Not Know What To Say.com was created out of Lori's desire to assist people find the words when they don't know what to say or do.
You can learn more about Lori and her organization by visiting www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com, reading her personal Blog or contacting her at:
Lori Pederson
Each week we will be adding new inspirational stories and resources to our website and Blog.   Help us reach our goal of providing inspiration and insight to the world by sharing your story or resource with our online community.  We would love to hear from you! 
Please email us your inspirational stories, letters/cards that have reached your heart, a favorite quote, an unforgettable adventure, a thoughtful gift idea, a book that touched your life, or a suggestion for our website or newsletter to info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.
If you are an author or expert in the field of grief recovery, we would love to interview you for our Blog and/or one of our upcoming newsletters.

If you have a website, Blog or newsletter, we ask that you consider including our information on your site.  Here is the link:
I Did Not Know What To Say
IDidNotKnowWhatToSay.com is a website designed to inspire and provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.
With Love & Gratitude, 
Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say
Copyright 2010' I Didn't Know What To Say(TM) Newsletter.  All Rights Reserved.