Friday, April 10, 2009

New Perspective

For so many years I've been at a loss as how to help someone I care about who is suddenly facing
major, life-changing obstacles. I usually let my fear of looking stupid (i.e. showing up on the doorstep with the sixth frozen lasagna they have received in three days), to gradually talk me out of doing anything. With the outpouring of love and concern we've felt this week, I have gained new insight into how I would answer the question "what can we do to help". Hopefully after I take care of my cancer, I will be able to use my new perspective to be a better friend and neighbor. Here are some thoughts I've had and some that I've read (while sitting in waiting rooms, of course).

  • Don't ask, just do. If there is an obvious need, like a filthy car, lawn that needs mowing, a bike with a flat tire in the garage, a garden waiting to be tilled or a deck that was almost done before tragedy struck, just show up with some friends and do it. Asking often puts an unnecessary burden of decision on the recipient.

  • Smaller is better. The less grand the act of kindness is, the better. Some examples are:
  1. A friendly note or email of encouragement
  2. A prayer in someone's behalf, especially on a day of treatment or testing (yes, they WILL feel it).
  3. Taking their child to the orthodontist, basketball practice, youth group, etc.
  4. Loan them a favorite DVD to watch (preferably uplifting, comedy).
  5. Bring a small food gift. Large, full course meals can add up to lots of leftovers. Sometimes appetites are decreased when dealing with stress. A loaf of bread or a fruit salad provides needed nourishment and are a ray of relief anytime.
  6. Be a good listener and confidante. Everyone says that one of the biggest blessings is someone trustworthy and caring to talk to.
  7. Distract the spouse or children once in while with something fun like flying kites, going to the dollar show, or overnight camping (contingent on how long the patient can be left alone). They will appreciate a break from the "world of the oppressed" and any reminder that life will be normal again someday.
  8. Don’t be a messenger of doom and gloom. Okay you had a cousin that had the same condition and passed away as a result. This is not the time to share this story. Instead be positive and encouraging no matter the situation.
  9. Don't take it personally if your phone calls are not returned. Sometimes it's hard to reciprocate when you're emotionally tapped out. The consistent friend, even when it seems to turn into a one-way relationship, is the true friend.

We will never forget all that has been done, said, and sacrificed for us already. Everything has helped. Everything.


  1. i was just remembering when i first really met you and your family. it was such a sweet time. for me it was like we had been friends already, kindred spirits. i really love that. i love you and your wonderful family. ~xxoo beth

  2. I am truly sorry. I have nothing but love for you. You are so incredible and I am glad to call you a friend. You are such an example to others, so good to others, and I am glad you are receiving the love! You deserve it!

    You are definitely in my prayers and my family's! I like the blog idea. It will be much easier to tell everyone what is going on in your live instead of having to tell the same story 100x on the phone.

    If you could send me your address, that would be great. - I might come wash your dishes or something. : )

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    love, t

  3. Thanks for this post--I've been stewing over some way to show our concern and love for you without looking like a dork (for all the reasons you mentioned above...). :) Our thoughts and prayers are with you, as well as any driving you need done for your kiddos 'cuz I'm around during the day!

  4. Don't ask, just do applies to all but #3.
    Sometimes we won't know your needs, so please
    ask when someone needs a ride, or have your kids call. And if the kids need a place to hang,
    Sara, Will and Yvonne love your kids! Send them
    over. Rachel can play with Yvonne and Emily.
    Phoebe has her choice...Sara & Kate or Nic and Will...we will keep our eyes & ears open, but if we miss something please let us know how we can help.

  5. Rosemary, I had no idea you were going through this. You are in my prayers, and I know that you will fight this thing and get through it. You are Relief Society President -- you can do anything!! Please don't hesitate to let me know if I can do anything for you.