Sharing the Pain, Sharing the Joy
When my daughter, Crista, was four months old, her pediatrician found a lump on the right side of her abdomen. The first indication of the blood tests, ultrasound, and needle biopsy was that the tumor was malignant. For two and a half weeks we waited anxiously, yet with the peaceful knowledge that God was in control.
The people around us showed their love and care in many wonderful ways. We felt their prayers give us strength every day. People brought dinner. One friend brought us a basket filled with fruit, bagels, juice, crackers, and cheese – all healthy snacks that were appreciated because many times we did not feel like eating big meals, and the last thing on my mind was a trip to the grocery store. One of the most helpful things was a couple of friends volunteering to make phone calls. After exhausting days full of tests and waiting in doctors’ offices, we did not feel like making many phone calls, yet we felt it necessary to update all the concerned people. Another friend brought over a gift, an outfit for our daughter. The great thing about the outfit was that it was something that Crista would wear the following summer. The outfit symbolized the hope that Crista would get through this and would grow up. It helped me to focus on that hope.
The above demonstrations of compassion stick out in my memory. But I do not want to underestimate the hundreds of cards we received. Our days were brightened when we could come home and open cards that relayed thoughts, hopes, and prayers.
After those two and a half weeks we found out that Crista’s tumor was benign and would disappear on its own. What a miracle! The same people who shared our pain, shared in our celebration. We received “joy” cards, flower arrangements, and many hugs. These gestures were appreciated just as much as the ones we received during the time of crisis. They showed just how sincerely other had felt our anxiety. -Kim (Crista’s mom)
Wisdom for the Caregiver (from Kim and Michael, Crista’s dad)
- Please encourage children to “care for” others. One of the most touching notes we received was the following one from Renee, a ten-year-old girl:
I hope you get better fast. I really hope that everything goes fine and Crista is a healthy baby. You are a cute baby. I hope the doctors can cure what she has. When she gets better I will be so happy. I am praying for Crista and I know that a lot of others are praying to.
- I really appreciated it when people who I didn’t even know sent us cards. You expect certain people to send cards when you go through a difficult time, but when someone you do not know sends a card, it is very moving.
- Very meaningful was knowing that there were many prayer chains in many geographical areas praying for Crista and us.
- I appreciated people who helped in special ways: One person sent $20 for gas money for the trips to the hospital. Another sent a coupon for long distance calls. Another very practical gift (and a symbol of hope) was a year’s supply of baby formula.
For Additional Wisdom for the Caregiver: Illness of Young Child
For additional caregiving advice, refer to the following category on this website: “Caregiving Basics.”
The above advice is from The Compassionate Congregation, pages 142-145.