While my husband was going through treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I learned so much from those around me about how to help people.
I’ve compiled a list of 7 things that were helpful when my husband was battling cancer. I had never thought about how to help someone in this situation before, but I have tried very hard to do these things since that difficult time. The truth is, I am in awe of all those people (some were friends and some were practically strangers) who really stepped up to help a young mother who needed the help.
7. Always make concrete offers of help
Don’t suggest to someone that they call you if they need anything.
When my husband was going through treatment, I could barely remember to change my underwear, let alone remember who had offered to run errands for me. Running errands often became overwhelming – not just the act, but the planning too.
Instead send them a text to say, “I’m heading to Costco tomorrow. Send me your list and the best time to drop the stuff off.” If they need something there, that will jog their memory and they may actually take you up on your offer.
6. Bring over food
Don’t ask if you can make them dinner.
Instead, bring over an easy dinner, already warm for them to serve right away. Or better yet, set up a Meal Train so that they have scheduled meals coming to them. The day and week of treatments are often the most essential, but ask what days would be best for them. Days can always be added to the M
5. Call and text
Don’t be scared to reach out.
Instead, call and text to make sure that they have as much normalcy in their lives as possible. So many people are worried about what to say, so they avoid calling. If the world is avoiding you, you feel like shit. When you feel like your friends aren’t scared of the dirty stuff, you know that you can share the good days with them too.
4. Make time for coffee
Don’t assume that there is no time for the small things.
Instead, invite them for coffee. The one-on-one time with a friend is a great therapy at a difficult time.
3. Get them hooked on a great book or book series
Don’t assume that they won’t have time
Instead, share a great book series with them that can help keep their mind busy. Sitting around during treatments is nothing BUT time.
I still think my obsession with Twilight was mainly a form of escapism, along with the social aspect of connecting with a bunch of friends about something that had nothing to do with cancer and chemo.
2. Help them out around the house
Don’t come over to be entertained.
Instead, be the friend that you know you would need at a time like this. Send them to shower or nap while you watch the kids, or do the dishes, or fold the laundry. Don’t be scared to get your hands dirty.
1. Keep it up
Don’t assume that everything is ok once the treatment is done.
Instead, keep in touch and be around to celebrate when they have good things to celebrate too!
And let me say, thank goodness for friends like you!