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Posts Tagged ‘guidelines for caring’

We live in a broken world.  Inside us there beats a heart that has been broken more times than we’d care to remember, but there will always be someone to help us pick up the shattered pieces and begin the process of repair.  Sometimes with glue, sometimes with love, sometimes with miracles.  Always with God.

~Naomi Levy Hope will Find You  (p.152)

Washington DC skies following a storm.

My son is sick.  And it could be very simple or not.  We don’t know, but we are navigating the both modern medicine and alternative medicine. That’s what we do.  For over three months, he has been plagued by pain; the last 6 weeks have been out of control.  In my heart, I believe that all will be good; the journey might be difficult, but we are handling the current reality.

Last night, as I sat in a circle of new and loving friends, I felt caged; I had to get away.  Everyone was asking questions, sharing the curiosity, and offering insight.  All I wanted to do was dodge the conversation not because I didn’t want to share per se, but because sharing makes me re-live the pain and sadness again and again.

Throughout our lives all of us will experience periods of mental and physical challenges and periods of mental and physical health.  This is reality.  Personally, I have been blessed with both and my guess is that you have too.

In my reality, I have faced critical illness multiple times for my children.  Life threatening and ultimate survival has been our experience.  For the most part these experiences have taken years to recover both the physical and emotional trauma.

Being a friend to someone who is experiencing ill health is not easy.  And each family being challenged or plagued with chronic illness deals differently.  The one thing that I know is that words have power, so saying less and asking less is often what I need from others.  I want to know you care, but I don’t want to share each day, each ache, or my fears.  Once I share, the realities loom in front and the emotions flow; what I need is to navigate the realities and to stay focused on what I hope will be the end result – HEALING.

With that in mind, I wanted to give some guidelines that help many of us that have experienced serious illness. Regardless of the outcome, these guidelines offer insight into what I need:

  1. Trust that I will share the details if I want to share the details; don’t ask.  When my older son was ill, everyone wanted to know his prognosis.  There was a chance he might die and I didn’t want to say those words.  If there is something you need to know the grapevine will ultimately work by design.
  2. Each experience is unique, don’t share your experiences with a similar illness.  If I need your insight, I will ask.  Unsolicited experiences lead to fear mongering.
  3. Trust that I am getting medical help and if I need help finding a different practitioner, I will ask for guidance.
  4. Smiles and hugs make a huge difference in how we walk through the day.
  5. You can ask how we are, but don’t dig for answers.  I will share when it feels right.  Remember I don’t want to feed the energy of illness.
  6. Offer food or hanging out opportunities.  Having someone who doesn’t feel good in the house takes a lot of energy.
  7. Don’t judge how individuals are handling their journey.
  8. Don’t hold abruptness or grumpiness against the ill people or their care takers.
  9. Pray and vision for good health.  And when health looks depleted, pray for  those that are being challenged to find balance or peace within the storm.

Caring is a form of art; what works for you isn’t what will work for me.  Saying less will allow those in need of healing to maneuver their journey.  While the journey can be long, it is what it is.

Hang on for the ride.

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