I’m supposed to be doing other things. My list is long and very little of it appeals to me right now. I’m wanting words to finish what is under a deadline and it is slow going. For now, I’m writing what is on my heart. Quite simply, that is what I prefer.
Yesterday a friend messaged asking for my advice. That is always humbling to me. She asked for input on responding to a friend whose cancer has returned a third time. Her friend is likely facing her final battle with cancer. My friend wants to be sensitive to her friend. How I love that she is thinking of her words and actions. What a wonderful reminder to all of us whether we are interacting with cancer patients or a pedestrian we pass. Think before speaking. Think before acting. Think and respond purposefully.
I replayed meaningful words and gestures before responding to the request. My friend wants to avoid hurtful things, knowing that can happen even with good intentions. Those hurtful things were replayed as well, but quickly dismissed.
I began by telling my friend “I am so sorry!” I truly am sorry for what her friend is facing. I’m sorry for all who love her. I am so sorry. Those were words that I appreciated. They are simple, but were powerful in that they acknowledge the pain, the difficulty, and everything that is wrapped up in such a battle. The words don’t try to remedy what is usually out of the responders hands. Simple, but kind.
I also noted that I do not know her friend’s spirit and cannot respond to what she is experiencing. My response is based on my experience. I gave her words and hopefully some insight, based on my spirit.
My experience was and is, that simple kindnesses are important. Finding ways to let a grieving soul, a hurting soul, a battling soul know they are remembered is valuable. I remember:
- the notes sent my way
- the texts that let me know I was in someone’s thoughts
- the flowers that were potted and left on my steps
- the offers to take a short walk
- The simple words and smiles
- the shared tears offered with silence
- the laughter coming after my attempts at humor
- the rallying around my family, knowing others had reached out to them
- the drivers who took me to multiple appointments
- those who donned capes as it was necessary for me
My advice is to keep it simple. Simply be their friend and find ways to do some normal things. Share a cup of coffee if that is normal for you. Grab some ice cream if that is normal for you. Watch a favorite movie together if that is normal for you. I was not needing lofty words or platitudes. I was not needing personal stories of other’s experiences. I wasn’t looking for sermons. I was needing to simply be me, while working to get through the moment.
My final thought is, you don’t need a reason to be kind. Simply be kind!