Saturday, July 26, 2014

Illustrator unknown
I packed a lot of lives with me when we left MD Anderson, along with hope for their recovery and remission...When I check their blogs or CaringBridge sites, I am quick to check the comments from others. What kind of support are they receiving? Words tell a lot. 
I cringe when I read about Aunt Susie's horrible side effects or see a link to some alternative treatment.
I hurt for my friends; they need love, not comments that will increase their anxiety, diminish their doctors' treatment plan and drain energy needed for their own beast.
As a result of her own cancer experience, Susan Silk developed a simple way to relate to others in crisis. The Ring Theory has served me well while comforting friends. 
Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, "Life is unfair" and "Why me?" That's the one payoff for being in the center ring.
Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.
When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you're going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn't, don't say it. Don't, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don't need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, "I'm sorry" or "This must really be hard for you" or "Can I bring you a pot roast?" Don't say, "You should hear what happened to me" or "Here's what I would do if I were you." And don't say, "This is really bringing me down." 
Susan Silk and Barry Goldman    For more info
Now for written comments...
Keep them short! Remember, you aren't the only one leaving a message and it takes great energy to read each one. 
If you are praying, share a few of the specifics.
If you want to help in a tangible way, ask about that one thing you know you can provide. "Let me know what I can do" forces your already exhausted friend to think!  
Never begin any communication with "I need." It becomes about you and heaps unnecessary guilt. "But I need to do something." "I need to hug your neck." Think them, just don't write them. Surely, there is a friend in a larger circle to whom you can share your needs.
Never begin a message with "You should." Again, don't give advice!
Keep your words positive, but don't promise something you can't guarantee, like "You'll beat this!" Statements like"You've got to fight this" sound encouraging, but ask yourself if you are the captain of this ship.   It's usually better to refrain offering comments about after-life. Period!
Yikes,after all that, should I write at all?  YES!  Our friends need to hear our love you's  and that they are present in our hearts and prayers. We just need to pour comfort in and dump far away from them.

No comments: