Throughout this whole process or testing, surgery, diagnosis, and now starting treatment, I have really been blown away by how kind and thoughtful people are. My friends have all rallied and done kind and helpful things both big and small. People sent flowers and candy and brought my family food. People helped out with my kids. People called me and sent me texts and emails to see how we are doing. When I couldn’t run, people met me at my house to walk very slowly with me. They brought and sent me books. The kindness of my fellow human beings has enveloped me in love and friendship over the last couple of months. I can never express how grateful I feel for the support I have received.
This post really is not about my particular situation. It applies to anyone who is going through something traumatic. The subject has come up a number of times in conversations between my friends and I: What do you say to someone going through a really difficult time? Sometimes people don’t say anything at all, often because they just don’t know what to say. Or sometimes people worry they will say the wrong thing. If you don’t know what to say, just say, “I am really sorry. That really sucks”. If you know the person fairly well, you could always throw in a, “how can I help?” I can guarantee no one expects you to fix their problems, but I know that people will welcome those who reach out to them. People who are struggling with something want to feel like they are cared for and are not alone. Acknowledging the situation and admitting that it is crappy is good. We KNOW we are in a crappy situation, so do don’t worry about exposing the elephant in the room. Acknowledging the elephant in the room validates the experience and the feelings of the person who lives with the elephant. People in need will welcome the fact that you have taken time out of your life to reach out to them. Even if it seems like a small deal to you, it is a huge deal to your struggling friend.
We will all face adversity in life, whether it be an illness, death of a loved one, job loss, divorce, etc. If you know someone who is dealing with a great difficulty, take a moment to reach out to them. Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. Just let that person know you are aware of his or her struggles. The recipient of your concern will be very happy to hear from you. A kindness is never forgotten.