I’m just starting to drop a bombshell on my family and friends. The news of another surgery, and possibly cancer, seems to bring out many words of encouragement from those I love. However, instead of preparing myself for this surgery in a few weeks, my mind and heart are somewhere else.
News struck my family hard the other day when we found out a friend died tragically. We were just beginning to get to know this man and his wife. A young couple, kindred spirits and full of love, are now separated by death. It’s still hard to wrap our minds around it and it’s been just a few days. I could only imagine how shattered his wife is feeling at this time.
When I experienced my cancer, I had more friends than I can count ask, “What can I do for you?” This is often their way to help. However, when you’re in a struggling situation you really don’t know what you need help with. And when you do need help, there’s a chance you don’t want to admit it. I learned what to do after that experience.
When my sister had her cancer, I jumped at the chance to support her. Even two mountain passes couldn’t keep me away from helping in one way or another. I researched numerous articles, exercise classes, and support groups, to see what she might need after her surgery. She may not have wanted that information at that time, but for me, that was my way to say, “Look, I have your back. Anything you need, I got you covered.” That was just the beginning. I helped set up a meal train for her and her family. I knew how much you are affected physically after a mastectomy and cooking would be the last thing on their list. Many friends contacted us to sign up and all we had to do was arrange the dates and delivery times. I knew this was one less thing my sister needed to worry about.
After hearing the news of our friend’s death just last week, I took what I learned from our cancer. I knew that I couldn’t just sit still. When a loved one dies, you are distraught, stressed, and depressed. You have a hundred things to do in a small amount of time, many times leaving you to skip meals. I knew setting up a meal train would be a way I could help. I immediately set out to make that happen. She will have numerous delicious meals waiting for her on a daily basis. From the couple of days I brought her the food, I know how much it is appreciated.
I sat down with my husband the other day. He said, “Angela, you’re a good person.” It took me by surprise. His reasoning was that not many people would step up the way I have. I agree; I’ve seen it. However, my only thought and response was, “Why wouldn’t I?” Because of my experiences, I have learned to take initiative. I don’t often ask how I can help. I have started to say this is what I’m doing for you. It’s easy to turn down and ignore people when others ask what they can do for you. It’s a lot harder to ignore the ones who go out of their way to be there and get things done.
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