I am stepping out of my comfort zone here to write about something I am not particularly qualified to write about, but I am hoping that love will lead the direction.
Yesterday I was stopped dead in my tracks when a letter arrived in my mailbox.
It was a thank you card. A deeply personal and profound thank you card that carried more raw emotion and honesty than I have ever been witness to. This woman is a friend, but not a particularly close friend, so I felt privileged that she felt close enough to me to let her heart pour out, and to be heard.
Last year her sister was diagnosed with cancer. It came very suddenly and out of the blue. Without missing a beat, my friend sprung into action, and was by her side. She coordinated fundraising campaigns, doctor visits and provided her sister with a crash course in mind/body healing.
From afar, I was impressed with her unwavering ability to get things done. Her strength, both mentally and physically would put Superman to shame. Rather than illicit pity, her Facebook page was a daily dose of inspiration. Stories of love and healing prevailed.
I sent her sister a years’ worth of my best creme to soothe her skin, and kept tabs on them both via Facebook and texts. The thing is, she made care taking look so easy. So when her thank you note arrived, it took my by surprise.
“Your Christmas card was the only one I received in two years. When you are caring for someone with cancer, you are invisible. Your life, your comforts, needs and desires are forgotten completely. The attention is always placed on the patient, as it should be, but it becomes very difficult to survive exhaustion, loneliness, and sorrow. No one wraps their arms around you, no one says I see you in this moment of darkness, your pain is dismissed and the last thing you want to do is complain. You find out very quickly who your friends are, relationships fracture, friends disappear not knowing what to say, even within your immediate family, and sometimes that includes the patient. Nerves are frayed, tempers flare, and not enough gratitude is expressed. I was away from home for almost six out of twelve months during which I had to find and leave two jobs. I willing gave up my dreams I had for myself in 2015, depleted my finances, and lived out of a box with a zipper, slept on a sofa or chair more nights than I can count. My body is sore, my mind is numb, and I don’t know how I will come back from this, but I would gladly do it all over again. I am so grateful to have my sister for as much time as her soul and body will allow. She feels every bit of kindness directed towards her and dare I say I do too. During these times of uncertainty, kindness is brilliantly highlighted.”
I sat there and began to cry. I had no idea. But, I was so happy that my handwritten words provided her with a little bit of comfort.
This made me want to do more for her. I know that fundraising campaigns are important, but I also believe that care packages and letters can provide love in a way that cash cannot. A letter can be held, cried upon, saved, and pulled out when you need to hear those words again.
I sent a letter to all of my friends asking them to send her a letter, a post card, draw a picture..really anything that would lift her spirits. It would only cost some time and the price of a stamp and it would mean so much to her. I envision all of that love energy surrounding her when she opens her mailbox, and that makes me very, very happy.
It got me thinking, how many caregivers are there that need this expression of love too? This is an idea that you can implement in your own life. Ask your circle of friends and family to support someone that needs it, and if you are called upon to send a love letter, consider it the best way to pay-it-forward.
Here are some other unique ways to support care givers:
- Send a gift certificate for a massage
- Arrange to have (or make) meals or raw juices delivered for a weekend
- Send a Himalayan salt lamp
- Make an aromatherapy hand lotion or massage oil
- Send a coloring book. My favorite is Enjoy the Journey by Mike Dooley
- Send a handkerchief to dry her tears
- Send an aromatherapy diffuser
From this day forward, I am cultivating my angel network, to call upon to do good deeds for those in need, and I will become someone’s angel too.
Thank you, my friend for opening my eyes, you will Always be seen…