Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Don't Know What to Say

Yesterday Shannon had a radiation treatment, its purpose being to lessen and hopefully eliminate her blood loss. Today brings with it the typical side effects but her temperature has been normal for two days so that good news offsets the harshness of the radiation. She says she's not in pain, just weak. She always has enough strength for a sweet smile when I need one though. I've burned that look into my mind for the past 31 plus years that we've known each other and carry it with me.

Many times people don't know what to say to folks in a situation like ours. A feeling of inadequacy gnaws at them as they avoid saying anything for fear of saying the wrong thing. That lack of communication then turns to guilt for not talking at all to the sufferers. It's a vicious cycle. If you've ever had this happen to you, allow me to help you out. Say, "I'm sorry," "I'm thinking of you and praying for you," "I love you," "I want you to know how much you mean to me." These are simple, few word statements. After saying the one or ones of your choosing, sit back and listen. Don't probe. Just listen. Let that person lead the conversation. Whether you're talking by phone or in person, you don't have to keep the conversation going for a long time. Just knowing that they are in someone's heart is sufficient for most people dealing with a critical illness.