Receiving Help When its Being Given
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, we received some very good advice. When someone offers to help, let them. That was not our standard process. We were very capable of taking care of things and this wasn’t going to be any different… Oh, yes it was.
I was the one diagnosed with breast cancer, but my wife, My Julie, was going to be the one to take care of me. Immediately that meant that she would have to do twice the work because after my first surgery I was very limited in what I could do. We deliberately put that advice to work immediately. When two close friends called to say, “Is there anything we can do for you?” My Julie asked if they would mind going to the grocery store for us. My Julie had tried to go to the grocery store while I was waiting at home alone. Her mind was so much on whether I was okay at home by myself, she came home with 5 boxes of cereal, a few bags of potato chips, and a gallon of ice cream. She cried through the whole store. What we really needed was toilet paper.
Our friends were delighted to go to the store for us, especially after hearing about My Julie’s trip to the store. Not only did they pick up the things on our list, they bought other things like flowers and goodies they thought would be helpful to us. They also bought the 2 biggest packs of toilet paper we had ever seen.
Another close friend agreed to set up and coordinate a dinner schedule for us online. We gave her the details and dates and times for bringing the meals and she set it up and sent it out. That was extremely helpful! She handled the questions or the calls and if anyone did contact us, we simply referred them back to her.
Another good friend promised to bring food every Friday night until we were done with everything or until we got sick of his food. (That would never happen. He’s a gourmet chef and former caterer.) We were overwhelmed with his commitment to go through this with us. This was not going to be a short adventure and he committed to go through it all the way with us.
And then there was the help we didn’t even ask for, but got anyway. A good friend of ours brought pizza and bread sticks and hot dogs to the waiting room for the kids and My Julie during my second surgery. She also did a lot of research on breast cancer. She brought us all kinds of things to help us through our everyday living. Her daughter even held a secret fund raiser for us and then sent us the money saying she wanted to help since she could not be here in person.
The best way we found to genuinely receive all these kindnesses was to send thank you cards to each person, every time they did something for us. They thought of us and took the time to do something for us, we took the time to send a thank you. Gratitude was our best way to show each person they are a special part of our healing.