JUST FOR SUNDAY: 06/10/12

Jun 10th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Illness Strikes Friends

We learned this past week of another friend who was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  This is the second friend in two months with this illness.  Our first response was, “Oh NO!”  The almost automatic denial response most of us experience.

We read about the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan.  We talked about how she was handling the issue on an emotional level.  We shared our support and love for her.  What’s next?

Next is doing what you can to support elderly loved ones through illness.  And support is more than comforting words, although those are very important.  But once your love and support for them is shared, following up with ‘doing’ is the critical part.  That means sharing your time with your loved ones as they progress through the illness and treatment.

Doing What?

Doing means activities like sitting with them for an hour or so (as long as they can handle) on a regular basis – something they can depend on and look forward to.  Doing means taking them out to lunch if they are able; taking them reading material that you know they would enjoy and/or reading to them if they are unable to do so themselves; keeping them supplied with their favorite snacks; doing means sending regular emails or Skypes or phone calls to reassure them of your continuing helpful presence in their lives.

Supporting friends in illness is doing.  And it is also praying, however you do that and however you believe in that process.  For some, praying is to the God of their experience.  For others, it is sending out visions of Light and Love into the Universe, to open doors of healing for loved ones.  We’re not judging here.  We believe there is power in prayer-ful activity, however that is defined and carried out.  Praying for loved ones during illness is both powerful and critical to their healing.

So when your next loved one tells you of her/his illness just diagnosed, be present and prayer-ful for her/him, just as you would want them to be for you.



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