I have been the receiver of a lot of love and support as of late. I was thinking that it might be helpful to list the things that have been helpful, touching, appreciated, fun, needed, etc. Maybe someone will Google “How to help someone with cancer” and this will be useful. that being said…here are a few of my favorite things:
Prayer. Seriously. We (I and much of my crew) believe in God, who heals, who is with us, who comforts us. Pray for me, but pray because connecting with the Creator is good for YOU, too.
Food. It is hard to cook. Surgery takes a toll. So will chemo. I have a couple of freezer meals from kind people – it’s a relief to know they are there.
Checking in on my husband. He is strong. But he needs community, too. The man is my hero. Buy him a 6-pack of Guinness or just tell him he’s doing a great job.
Offers of close friends/fam to shuffle my child off to do fun stuff. Take her, please. I love being near her. But. She’s an extrovert like me – she likes to go out and do stuff or hang with a cool loved one. I can’t be super awesome to her right now. So when you are, it rocks.
Texts to start the day with an encouraging word. Morning after a tough night can bring hope but sometimes it’s just so blindingly bright and glaring and looks like a big uphill climb. Under the covers, its warm and dark and quiet. my heart has simply been unwilling to start the day sometimes. Your words (you know who you are) are the “oomph” I’ve needed many times.
Cards. Holy moly, the cards. I know how hard it is to get to the store, find a card that doesn’t suck, buy the card, locate a stamp, find the address. Remember to mail it. I get lost halfway most of the time. So every card…I appreciate the full follow through. You put me to shame!
Gift cards – so handy. So generous. I’ve also gotten some lovely personal gifts and I sincerely primarily appreciate the thought that goes into that. I am amazed by how thoughtful and kind people are! Gifts are never, ever expected – I have everything I need, really. But your generosity has blown me away. I feel so loved.
Actually coming over and doing a chore or two. This one is weird. See. It is basically impossible for me to call you and ask you to clean my house or do my laundry. That’s tacky! This whole experience is humbling me but I still can’t quite do that. It’s also so…vulnerable. A couple of times, close, wonderful people have basically gone ahead and done stuff and it has been hard for me to be ok with it, but also…amazing. There may be no greater expression of love than cheerfully cleaning someone’s toilet. Not just anyone can wash my skivvies or scrub my kitchen floor. But those in that tiny inner circle – you are awesome. My advice is: everyone needs a few of those people…don’t hesitate to be that person for someone if you can.
Screen communication – immediately post surgery I had an appointed “PR” person. This was so helpful. She updated people and fielded questions. I highly recommend this practice. One less thing to worry about!
Asking me constantly what I need. It changes! Daily! I am not going to call you and say “bring me some tea bags!” But someone was wise enough to ask me constantly. And…I really needed that tea. 🙂
Visits. It makes me feel fantastic when you are kind enough to offer to visit me. Hanging in my PJs, sharing a soy latte or coffee with a funny friend – the best way to spend an hour or two. My two 60-something uncles stopped by one afternoon and we had such a great conversation. Just text first so I’m not haggard. That is stressful.
Music. A couple people made me playlists. It’s a really creative, fun way to show the love.
Make me laugh. Let me make you laugh. I’ve got some pretty good tales of hospital mishaps and bathroom incidents if you’re up for them.
Stay positive. I feel positive. It’s wonderful to hear positive stories and why you know I’ll kick this things butt. I love being reminded of the goodness of God. I appreciate hearing that I have encouraged someone. These are all helpful.
I share these thoughts not so anyone would feel compelled to do anything for me. But to share my appreciation for all that has been done, and to provide insight into what might be helpful to others who are sick or recovering. I know that in the past, I have often not known what to do. I know better now – so I thought I’d pass that along.