Monday, 24 January 2011

How To Say Thank You?

Courtesy of
How do you say thank you to someone who was really there for you in your time of need? Someone who went way above and beyond? Someone who stepped into your life and held your hand in a way you never imagined possible? How do you ever thank them enough?

That's the dilemma I'm trying to sort out at the moment and I need some help.

As I have mentioned before, we live in a different country than our family does. Most of the time it's not a huge deal. We email, chat on facebook, and even talk 'face to face' on Skype. But when tragedy strikes, you really feel the distance.

When we got the news that our son had died and I was going to be delivering him 3 weeks early, stillborn, I felt that distance like I never had before. I don't even know what time it was back in California when I had to make the call to my parents to give them the news. I know that I woke them up though. I could hear the sleepy confusion in their voices as I repeated the news a second time. That phone call that none of us ever want to get. Especially in the wee hours of the morning. Especially so many miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Especially when there's nothing we can do at that moment.

If I'd lived in the US I know that my whole family would have hopped into their cars and rushed to my side. I wouldn't have had to spend that last night of my pregnancy with just my husband. I wouldn't have had to make those first phone calls cancelling my nursery furniture delivery which was scheduled for the next day. The day that I would now be delivering my angel.

So I reached out to a friend here in London for help. I've only been in London for 5 years and I've known this particular friend for less than 2. But I made the call because there were things that needed to be done and I didn't have the strength to do them. When I called her I simply asked her to do a couple of things for me. I needed her to call the shop where I bought the nursery furniture and find out if I could cancel the order and get a refund. I also asked if she could call the shop where I got some of the other large items like the baby buggy (stroller) and baby swing and find out if those items could be returned even though I had taken them out of the box and put them together. For me it wasn't so much about the refund as it was about trying to figure out what to do with the items. I figured that if I had that information, then once I got home from the hospital, I could start figuring out what to do with everything else.

What she did next was nothing short of amazing. Not only did she contact the stores for me, but she made arrangements for the items to be both collected from my house and refunded. I addition she organized a few of my friends to go over to my house to box everything up and get it sent back before I got home. She scoured the high street for spare boxes to put the items in and then helped to pack them up. She supervised as my friends combed through my place, removing all traces of baby items. I can't imagine having to come home empty handed to a house full of baby things, so this step was especially welcomed.

She emptied my fridge of unwanted left-overs before they spoiled. She called to cancel my house cleaners, hair appointments, a pedicure, and even my bikini wax. You see, I had made all those appointments in preparation for the birth and to have to cancel them would have been absolute torture for me.

But she didn't stop there. A couple of days after I gave birth, my mother came over to help with my recovery. My wonderful friend also stepped in to help my Mom out. She walked my Mom through the online grocery delivery website, helped her find the hospital that we were staying at, and even called to check in on her from time to time. The two of them took turns waiting on the delivery men to come and take away all the baby gear. But it was my friend who was the driving force behind everything. She stepped in the way a family member would.

And remember, this is someone I've only known for a couple of years. Someone who is a wife and mother of two small boys. Someone who has a very busy life but somehow managed to make time to be there for me when I needed it most.

I thanked her profusely at the time, but now I'm feeling like that wasn't enough. But how to do you properly thank someone for doing something so amazing? Is it possible to thank her enough? Nothing I could ever say would ever express how much what she did meant to me and my family. But I want to do something. So here's what I've come up with and I'd love your input.

My Ideas 
Send her flowers
Gift Certificate to a lovely restaurant
Gift Certificate at a local cinema
Gift Certificate for a spa day

Or are those things all to ordinary? It's not really about spending a lot of money or not a lot of money, I just want to do something special for her. Something that shows her how much I appreciate what she did for me this past summer. 

As I said, I welcome your input and suggestions. Thanks in advance.


  1. What an amazing friend, I'm glad you had her by your side! All of the ideas you listed are lovely, I would include a nice card where you can write out some of what you posted on here about how much all that she did for you meant.

  2. I was in a similar situation with a friend, she didn't buy me anything but she sat me down and we had a heartfelt little chat about how much it meant to her and you know, that was enough. I really appreciate that she took the time to do that, even though I know it was painful for her to bring that time up.

    Your friend sounds lovely and I don't think she would expect anything and if so, something very very small. She will have done it because she cares, about you and your wellbeing. I know that probably isn't much help, all I can say is that I did it for my friend because I cared and thank you really was more than enough and I would do it in all again tomorrow without any gift coming my way.


  3. Your friend sounds wonderful, I'm so glad you had her there.
    All of those gifts sound lovely, and like Jen, I bet she doesn't need any of them, and was just glad to help you out.
    I think though, that if you want to gift her something, then that's really nice. Not knowing her it's hard to say what,but maybe a little ornament/keepsake type thing,something small and beautiful to treasure? Maybe that's no help.
    I'm sure whatever you choose will be appreciated.x

  4. What an amazing woman your friend is. I doubt she expects anything at all, and any gesture will be appreciated. I can only speak for myself, but I would treasure more something I could keep forever, a trinket to make me think of my friend and smile. Or if she enjoys something like a spa day, make it one with you where you can make a new happy memory. Just suggestions.

    What a blessing to have an amazing friend, and I am glad you shated on my page!

  5. She is a hero!

    If it's not too much for you, will give her that's all in your list (although she won't mind at all). God bless her heart! I think her greatest reward is your friendship to her.

    Following your lovely blog. I am also inviting you to add this at - a mommy blogger directory and more, where you can also meet more mom bloggers like you and get connected with them by visiting your profile after registration.

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  6. Hi sweet mamma.. your friend sounds like a ray of light in a dark time. I will be honest with my response ( no reason to filter right?). I don't think any of those things are necessary.. I think she did what she did because she valued your friendship and wanted to support someone she cares about. It doesn't matter if you know someone for a week or several decades, friendship is a valuable piece of 'everything' in this world.
    I think that going out to lunch or tea just to tell her how much you value her friendship would mean more than any tangible item. On the sentimental side of me though I would gift her something really special if you felt so inclined. To one of my friends I gave a journal. To another a memory ring (worn on the knuckle) and to another I have had made a silver disc (to be worn on a necklace). it is stamped with this phrase:
    "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." I haven't given it to her yet, but I will soon......

    Just my 2 pence....Love and light...

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  8. Following you from the Mom Blog Monday Blog Hop! Happy Monday!

  9. I like the heart felt chat idea,and maybe one of the items on your list.

    I think just to know that what you've done is appreciated is gift enough.

    What an amazing friend x

  10. If it was me I'd do as others have suggested,take her for lunch or afternoon tea and tell her how much her kindness has meant to you. Perhaps buy her a small personal gift,an inscribed book, or small piece of jewelry.
    You can never pay her back, but you will be able to pay it forward.
    One day there will be someone in your life who needs help and support and you'll be there to give it - that will be the best thank you can give your friend.
    Being there for each other is the greatest gift any of us can give. Good luck!

  11. I have been where you were. This post brought me to tears... First thing I would do is show her this blog as a public thank you recognizing all she has done for you. I am sure that is more than enough. If you want, take to her to lunch and scedule a spa day.

    But I do believe if she saw this post, she would know your heart.

    Stopping by on the Mom Blog Monday Blog Hop, a day late, but I am here!!!!

    Anna, The Pilot's Wife

  12. Thanks for all the input. I really like the idea of some kind of keepsake jewelry. Or maybe I can do some kind of photo frame? Or maybe I should just tell her how I feel, although I'm not usually very good at that. But I can try right?

  13. Friends like that are hard to come by. I can completely understand why'd you would struggle with how to thank her. Your ideas are great - and it doesn't matter if they seem ordinary - because it's not even about the gift, it's he message that goes with it. Even a simple letter, would probably do the trick. People just like to know that they are appreciated.

  14. Only just found you and so sorry for your loss.

    I'm sure you don't need the suggestions at this late date, but such a generous spirit likely doesn't need a tangible gift. A heartfelt note of thanks would probably be enough. The best gift would be for you to be there for her should she ever need you.