Wrap-Up: How To Support a Friend

Sorry this post is so late in going up… but it’s going up today! So hoorah.

Last Thursday we had Lindsay’s mom, Sherri Hildebrandt, share with us about her experience with breast cancer. It’s not fun to think about, but her story and her tips on how to be a good support to someone going through a difficult time (like cancer, or any other physically or emotionally challenging period) were extremely valuable.

To summarize, she said that friends can help by:

  • giving a few words of encouragement and a GENTLE hug – someone going through cancer, surgery, or another physical illness is going to be very sensitive and you don’t want to hurt them
  • instead of asking what you can do to help, make suggestions, or if you know it will be well-received, just do it. It can be too overwhelming to think of ideas. Also, be sensitive that little things like cooking smells in their home could be overwhelming. Help in ways that will make their lives easier.
  • stop, relax, and think. Try to be tactful; don’t tell horror stories; offering encouragement that comes from the heart is more than enough.
  • unless you are very close to them, consider emailing or messaging on facebook instead of phoning. That way, they can respond when they feel up to it, instead of having to give the same answers to the same questions.
  • Sherri received an encouragement book filled with prayers, verses, song lyrics, and notes from her friends and family that helped her feel loved and cared for – it was like a eulogy, but she got to read it.
  • praying isn’t a cop-out. It can be too hard to pray during treatment or emotional upheaval and knowing that others are praying can make all the difference. Sherri said she could feel everyone’s prayers for their family and it made a world of difference.

If you’d still like to buy a copy of Sherri’s book, it’s available through her website or our local bookstores.

What were your reactions to the session? Do you have any tips on getting through rough times, either from personal experience or someone you know? Comment away!

~Annemarie

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