This one’s for caregivers, friends, and family of someone facing cancer.
Bottom line. SHOW UP.
Show up to support the person you care about in a way that is meaningful to them. I realize it's awkward, and uncomfortable at times. You may not know what to say or have no clue how to support the person you care about. You’re unsure of what exactly you can do to be helpful. So instead of reaching out in fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, you do nothing.
Sometimes we are at capacity and it is easy to avoid or ignore. But this can leave us feeling awful inside, lead to resentment and isn’t a healthy way to deal with emotional issues. If you are unsure, ask the person what they need. Open, honest communication can go a long way for both of you.
But just imagine how you would feel if you were the one facing it and you didn’t hear from those that are important to you. You’d be left feeling alone and that no one cared. What would you find helpful? What would caring look like to you? How would you know you mattered and were important?
Do what is right, not what is easy. Pretty key advice in life really.
Reach out. Whether it's a thoughtful note, a prepared meal, a book to distract, a gift card for a massage, childcare so they can have time for self care, a drive to an appointment or better yet, sitting waiting during an appointment, there are many ways to demonstrate support. Maybe it’s just sitting quietly and not talking about cancer at all. So even if you don’t have the words, that’s ok, take a different route, talk to them about how you can show up. Just don’t be silent and ghost the person.
For those living with cancer, I encourage you to show up for yourself. Implement self care strategies to balance your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Seek support and ask for what you need - sometimes people want to help and need guidance on how to support you. Listen to your body. Do what is best for you, whatever that looks like.
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