Brian Mansfield is a writer for USA Today and was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 48. Brian chronicles his life with cancer in a series of articles called, “My Semicolon Life.” Today, I want to share with you one example of Brian’s caregiving wisdom on what to say to a cancer patient:
Brian asks: “What’s the very best thing you can hear from a friend when you’ve got cancer?”
Brian’s Answer: “I’m coming over. What can I bring?”
Brian says, “My friend Ed calls me every week and asks me this. Ed is bigger than me and louder than me, and he puts me at ease because I know I’ll never have to worry about talking too much around him.
When Ed thinks I haven’t asked for enough, he comes up with his own ideas. The first time Ed came over, I asked him to track down a nutritional-shake powder at Whole Foods that people had recommended. Ed not only figured out what I was talking about, he also brought yogurt and smoothies and the very first copy of his new album. When I couldn’t think of anything the next week, he showed up with a box of bagels, a couple of Bruce Springsteen bootlegs and an autographed album from JD Souther. Everybody should have a friend like Ed.”
Thank you, Brian, for sharing your caregiving wisdom.
So often we say to people who are going through a tough time. “Call me if I can help in any way,” or “What can I do for you?” and they usually say, “Oh nothing, I’m doing fine” which is usually a lie. We need to be like Ed and state, “I am coming over (add a day and time, if you wish) what may I bring you?” Then if your suffering friend can’t think of anything, use your imagination. What are their interests or hobbies? Still need some ideas, check out, Simple Ways to Show You Care. Here actual people tell some of their favorite ways in which others cared for them.
Remember the words, “I’m coming over. What may I bring you?”