It was last year this time when, after Oak’s surgery, the reality of my community kind of hit me. The little and large ways they showed up, the tools they gave me, and how they just let me know I’d be okay.
Years before that, it was the same when I lost a baby. And before that, it was when I lost my father. There has been major and micro things in-between, but nothing I feel worth sharing. But through it all, and all the unimaginable health scares and deaths with friends and family adjacent to me, I think I learned four things when someone is going through a crisis…
- Don’t ask, how you can help. Figure it out and just help. In times of need, it is hard to see what you may need or not. It is amazing if that friend finds time to delegate. If not, find clear ways. Whether it is buying groceries, babysitting a child, saying what day you’ll come over to clean the fridge, or even raising money to offset some of the financial stress.
- Send a thoughtful note. Don’t expect a response. Handwritten notes are beautiful. So are emails, and if you are close enough, texts and voicemails. But, expecting anyone to respond to you isn’t helpful. Take the burden off of your friend or family, by not requiring them to engage with you. Just let them know you’re thinking of them.
- Watch what you say. This is hard for so many. But whether it is saying “I know” when you don’t know. Or a well-intentioned compliment that actually isn’t friendly, it is so important to be very careful. No, if they aren’t eating and look as if they’ve lost a lot of weight, don’t say it. Feed them. If they look tired, don’t say it. Create a situation where they can go to sleep. Be positive. Be the light they need. Learn how to listen.
- Don’t be a savior. Savior complex is real, and many people are affected. But your family or friend’s crisis isn’t a time for you to flex that you may be able to fix it all. Everyone wants to take someone’s pain away, but it is useless if you don’t know how to do it properly while putting your own ego to the side.
I felt I needed to share this because my dear friend Alexa’s 6-year-old son Lou (Alexa has written for this site before) was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain cancer once again this spring. He had already been in remission for 4 years. Alexa, Ian, West (Lou’s identical twin), and Lou are warriors, that have blown me away over the last three months. I am helping gather love, light, and any finacial help to offset the incredible expense and burden of pediatric cancer that has split their family in half. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit their Go Fund Me page. If you have the means to donate, please do. If you can share, please do that as well. You can donate directly right here.
Anything else I missed for the list? Please share.
Hold those you love.
This is so on point. So many people have a reflex reaction to make someone else’s event or challenge about themselves because that’s the only way they have ever learned to relate to the world.
Exactly! It’s so important (learning from experience) not to. To put your self to the side in an. honest way is a grand act of love.
This is beautiful and very wise. ❤️
Thank you so much, Rebecca
I just went through knee replacement surgery and was at home alone for many weeks. The nicest things were:
1. getting cards in the US Mail–brightened my day!
2. the neighbors who just brought me meals. Didn’t ask,just did it.
3. the neighbor who left a gigantic eggplant parm on my doorstep right before I got home from the hospital. I am still eating that thing! (I put it in the freezer cut into single portions)
Charlotte! I hope you’re recovering well. I just spoke with a friend who had knee replacement surgery as well, and he said the recovery was iNTENSE, but also he just surrendered to being at home and that helped.
I am so happy you had others show up for you. And I really love all the ways they did. it’s so funny, how it’s so easy, yet so grand. And we often forget how sweet mail is and how food goes such a long way.