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Friday, November 6, 2015

What to DO for someone .......?????

Yesterday I started by telling you what NOT to say, so today I will go to a positive and tell what you can do when trying to console someone who has just been diagnosed (or re-diagnosed ) with cancer.

Day 2 - What CAN you do.

Often when people are sick we like to find something tangible to send them in order that they know we are thinking of them    I received a lot of flowers when I was in the hospital, to the point that at times I felt like I was in a florist shop.   I also received plants .    Some of those plants I still have in my house over 14 years later and they remind me of the time that has passed.    So if you are bound and determined to give something alive, I would suggest plants.   But simple ones not really hard to grow ones that might die....that can be seen as a superstitious omen lol.   Another great gift is a book....not about cancer, healthy diets, or new natural cures...something funny and uplifting.   Short stories are great and funny books , especially with pictures,   Remember, concentration is not a strong point during this time so keep it easy and simple.

There was something even more important that was given to me while I was at my worst which held more value and meant more to me than I can express.....that was people's time.    They would just come and sit with me during chemotherapy, or the days after, and just knit or read.   Sometimes we wouldn't even talk, and most times I would sleep.    Knowing someone else was around was the most wonderful feeling, I slept more soundly on those days than any other time.   It was as if someone else was looking after the world while I slept and I didn't have to be aware of anything.

We under value our simple presence.    To be present to someone in a quiet, simple manner can be the best gift of all.    Now, if you asked me if I wanted you to come and sit I probably would have said "no its ok" because I wouldn't have wanted to put you out.   There were those who just showed up, sometimes with a snack, soup or a book to give me and then just said, "I'll just sit here for awhile you go to sleep".   This happened so many times in the hospital, at home, during chemo that I can't count the number.  One friend, arranged for her Mom who had free time to come and just sit in my family room and knit while I slept.    I can't emphasis how much this meant to me and to my daughter.  
On the days that she knew someone would be coming by during the day, she said it was much easier for her to not worry about me while she was at school.    It was on those days too that I would usually be more rested and more likely to spend some time with her over supper or in the evening because I had rested so well earlier.

So, when you are trying to figure out what to DO for someone who needs more than you could ever offer, remember that giving your time may be the best gift of all.    And never feel like you can't pick up a broom and sweep, or put in a load of laundry while you are there.....I mean who is going to argue with someone who also does housework !!!!!!

 

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