I am a member of a group called Momcology and there the Cancer Mom's of the world kibitz and the smiles are less prominent because we don't have to make everyone okay with the fact our children are so so sick and often die. The group grows every day and every day there is a bit of hope, a lot of despair and hopelessness. It is a real representation of Childhood Cancer. Moms that are just starting, Mom's ending, Mom's with kids that have relapsed and died. It is not a happy happy place but It made me wonder why ti seems such a good place to hang out.
Many supportive friends have helped us all through this difficult process. We have been the beneficiaries of much giving, both time and money and practical actions. Much prayer, encouragement and cheerful wishes.
I was reading something about a woman in an emergency room and another patient looked at her and said: "Everything happens for a reason." The writer wanted to yank the woman's hair out. I am a bit more forgiving. As Cancer Mom's we don't even know how to respond to the words that swirl around us. Things like Chemo Therapy, Radiation, 40% chance of survival are common words in our vocabulary. We no longer live in mainstream universe. We are off somewhere in a place that looks like our world but with a heavy dose of Twilight Zone set dressing.
So here are some ideas the next time someone posts their kid is having a rough time or you hear about a family that is going to be dealing with long term health issues, don't just respond with "I am praying for you." While that is nice an all, send them a gift card, no amount is too small. Go the the blood bank and donate blood. If you live in the same town, go and promise to take out their garbage every week. Rake their leaves. Organize a meal train for the family not in the hospital. Make the child or parent a really soft pillow case from all that fabric you have in the basement. Connect. The kids love I-Tunes, Target, Victoria Secret gift cards. Cash in your miles so a family member can travel.
Trust me it does not take much. As the blogger pointed out today:
if you want to help someone in distress, buy her a cup of coffee or a cocktail. Tell her you have experience something similar and you feel much better now. Tell her you understand how she feels, how unfair her circumstance is and how much it can hurt when fortune frowns on you. Smile. Tell her you are sorry she had some bad luck.