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Old 05-18-2016, 03:24 PM
1,794 posts, read 4,582,317 times
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Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
I am so sorry. This is just devastating, I know. I hope you have a supportive community around you. My prayers go out to you.
It's surprising who has been supportive and who not. You find out who your REAL friends are going through a terminal illness with a loved one and needing not only emotional support but also help with picking up groceries, meds, car problems, and hauling water out here in rural America. One woman called me, said "you don't know me, but a mutual friend told me what you're going through. I lost my husband to cancer 5 mos. ago and know exactly what's you are experiencing. Please feel free to call me anytime day or night if you need talk or have me come over." Wow. The real surprise? My own sisters are silent.
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Old 05-18-2016, 04:14 PM
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I think it isn't always about who is a good friend. Sometimes I think people feel inadequate to to task. They feel they will do something wrong, or they don't think they are strong enough. (They forget that NONE of us feel strong enough for this, but some are thrust into it anyway.) Sometimes I think it does boil down to self indulgence, like they just don't want that unpleasantness in their life. But I don't think that is always the case. Some people are actually concerned and worry that they haven't been able to say anything. They may not have learned that it is infinitely better to say "I care, but I don't know what to say" than to say nothing.

When my husband was first diagnosed, I called an organization called "Cancer Cares" and they assigned a woman to me who was about my same age and whose son had died of the same cancer my husband had. For over 3 years, we met every month or two to talk. My church was a huge help. Especially when there were crises, they brought over food, offered to do things for me (although I seldom took them up on that) and were just generally there for me. And all this even though I was new in town, and had no established friends. If you do attend church, this might be a place to start. At my church, I had only been attending for a few weeks, and was not a member when my husband was diagnosed. On the second day of his hospitalization, I just called the office and said "I need help" and I had a minister there at the hospital with me that same day. And believe me, the friends I made at that church during his illness were a major sustenance to me after he died. I am very grateful for them.

I encourage you to use the people who volunteer. They often have no idea what you may need. It was hard for me to do this, as I had always been the helper, not the helped. But I did learn to do this. And I would encourage you to reach out to your sisters. Of course, I know not a thing about your relationships. But it might be helpful to call each one and acknowledge that is hard to know what to say in these situations and perhaps you could get together for lunch or a cup of tea, or go on a short walk, etc. I think sometimes people feel that they have been negligent in reaching out, then feel embarrassed, and it becomes sort of self-reinforcing. They become stuck in doing nothing and often feel terrible about it. If you break that stalemate by being the first to make contact, it may be a really good thing for you and you might be a wonderful example to them of making loving contact, despite the terrible things that are happening, and despite the barriers.

I imagine you might feel really alone right now, but there is love in the world, and it is there for you and your husband. Blessings. Please feel free to send me a personal message any time.
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