Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What to say to people who are struggling

I read a blog by Shannon this morning that can be found HERE. It really hit home to me.  She was writing about the isolation that you often feel when dealing with a chronic disease or a child with a chronic disease. In the beginning of the journey, people try to say things but many don't even then because they aren't sure of the "right" thing to say. I agree with Shannon. There is no "right or "wrong" thing to say. Just be there. Say something. Most likely the one who is sick or caring for someone who is sick doesn't know the "right" thing to say either!

Especially, this paragraph was great.

"So for those of you out there who are struggling with what to say, just say hi. Send a quick note letting the person know you are thinking of them. Give them a hug when you see them. Leave some flowers at their door. Call and say, I don't know how to help but I want you to know that I am here for you. Those small gestures mean a lot to someone who feels so isolated by their circumstances."

This really hit me because of the isolation that comes over time. There are so many people that I used to talk to regularly that I haven't talked to in months or even a year. I sometimes wonder if I aggravated them with fundraising, talking about JM, not being able to attend their birthday party or happy hour or other event. But, most of the time, I realize that we are all just so busy in today's world that they probably are just busy and either forgot or just don't know what to say.

I have been a caregiver for the last (almost) three years for my daughter, and recently I have had my own health challenges as I was diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer. I haven't really talked to many people about it, but two of my friends have been there every single step of the way and always let me know that they are there for me. They know to just say anything. One day, they left a card at the door. One day, they brought lunch. They drove me home from a procedure. They dropped by at dinner just to say hi and give a hug. But, most importantly, they just said "we are thinking of you" with their texts, calls, and all the wonderful kind actions. What fantastic friends. Love you Carmen and Jen! 

So, Shannon said it so well. Just say anything. :)