These past few years have been very stressful for most of us. With COVID causing such an uproar in our communities, many other illnesses have been less in the public focus. However, cancer is not one of those. Cancer can strike at any age. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2022, an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed, and 609,360 cancer deaths will occur in the United States.
This year alone, I have had several very close friends diagnosed with different types of cancer. As we get older, it seems we see more and more of our friends struggling with a diagnosis. Maybe we have more friends, or perhaps it’s just more prevalent. Whatever the case, I would love to see a cure. Surely someone can come up with a cure.
In the meantime, you may wonder what you should do. You might want to help in some way or think about stopping by for a visit or sending a gift. Or maybe you simply feel at a loss for what to do or what to say. Here are a few tips to consider.
Ask before you visit your friend. Whether in the hospital or home, understand that they may not feel well enough to have a visitor. If they are up for a visit, don’t overstay your visit. Ask if they would like for you to stay longer or need to rest.
It may be difficult for your friend to ask for help, but some of the most beneficial things you can do are to offer to assist with everyday errands. Make a list of tasks you’re willing to do and ask your friend where you can help. If you’re going out to the store for your family, give your friend a call and see if there’s anything else you can pick up.
Listen to your friend. Let them talk and tell you what they need to share. You don’t have to be the only person with something to say. Sometimes they need to speak to someone they love and trust.
Think about what your friend may need. What about cleaning their house? Perhaps a thoughtful way to help is to purchase a few easy things to prepare. Or maybe hire a housekeeper occasionally to clean the house. Think of things they aren’t able to do easily and make that a priority. Remember that it’s not always at the beginning of an illness that people need support. Find out who is willing to assist in providing support and organize a group to help regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day, but as needed.
Check on your friend often. Sometimes just a text message saying that you are thinking about your friend and praying for them will improve their day.
It’s so hard to know that someone you love is struggling. Help them by being a friend they can count on. Let them know you are there, no matter how small the request is. Just be there.
May God bless you and yours,