It’s happened again. After the earthquake of my heart catheter infection and the two additional surgeries it took to get things back on track again, the emotional tsunami came about a week later (my emotions are perpetually late to this part of the party).
Even with a successful surgery for a new (uninfected) catheter, another round of Provenge finished (two down, one to go), and 10 days of infection-free living under my belt, my emotions have caught up with all of this chaos and have washed me out to sea.
I’m sad, depressed, exhausted, and worn out – and I have bad days, as well. Plus, my numbers are climbing again and I’m having new pain and numbness in my back (a MRI is scheduled for this week – can’t wait!).
We all wish we could fix the things that overwhelm us and others in this life (if you can, contact me immediately), but when we can’t, comfort becomes the next great gift we can give. Let’s call it “Southern Comfort” in honor of the American liqueur created in New Orleans (where else?) in 1874. I have received an abundance of late.
As you have opportunity to comfort others in your life, here are some things that have been done for Betsy and I that have kept us upright and sane lately. Ok, yeah, let’s just go with upright for now:
- Permission to be real – I received this from a fellow cancer-fighter this week: “Personally, it actually encourages me when other people share their weaknesses and sorrows since it helps me to feel not so alone and also helps me to think of sorrow as something to be expected and “normal” in this broken world . . . . You may understandably not feel comfortable sharing all your sorrows on your blog, but please feel comfortable sharing them with me – I’m a good listener.” I simply cannot overstate the value of this invitation.
- Quick Connections – “Just checking in on you.” “Was thinking of you.” “You were on my heart.” These are all simple, warm sentences that make me feel less alone. I think these statements are why God created text messaging. They’re quick, easy, and so very supportive.
- Cards – I used to think these were “old-fashioned” and lame. No longer. You guys have great taste in cards and some of you have a wicked sense of humor. I loved this one:
- Gifts – a Nordstrom package arrived this past week. A gift from my youngest sister. But not just any gift. One that reminds me of her love and makes my tear up every time I walk by it on our mantle:
- Words from your heart – some of us don’t have a lot to say. But we all have hearts that hopefully care for others. I urge you to put that care into words when someone is suffering. Write it out if you can’t say it. Or find someone else who’s said it and steal it from them. I am the glad recipient of hundreds of encouraging notes and comments. They strengthen me when I am depressed and are a great gift in these hard times (yes, I reread them to remind myself of what is good and true in this world). Here’s one I received that I really like:
- Touch – we all have varying comfort levels with regard to touch. At the very least, a squeeze on the shoulder or a brief hug provides human contact which is so vital to someone struggling. Or you can be like our dear friend, Patty, who just came to see us from Africa. She is fighting her own battle with Parkinson’s disease and is a wonderful comforter. If you like to be hugged and kissed and loved on, Patty’s your girl. This is her with our UPS driver (I’m kidding!).
- Food – our neighborhood got wind that I was down for the count and decided to give Betsy a break from cooking (I don’t cook; I only eat, so I’m not sure what changed). For over a week now, we have had incredible food delivered to our door. Last night, our neighbor from across the street brought this plate of just caught (by him!) Wild Sockeye Alaskan Salmon hot off the grill to us:
Comfort makes suffering tolerable. It’s about finding a corner of someone else’s darkness, rolling up our sleeves, and helping to push it back.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
Thank you for doing this for Betsy and I,
P.S. Two weeks to go with no infection so far. You guys are awesome. Keep praying!