When someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer, you have a natural desire to help them. However, you may not know what to or where to begin.
The first step is deciding to walk with your loved one during their journey with cancer. Showing up for that person is invaluable to them and and their family.
Although your loved one may want to keep many aspects of their fight with cancer private, there may be some things they want you to understand. Although your loved one may have trouble verbally expressing their needs, if you pay attention and carefully listen, you may pick up clues about things they are leaving unsaid. Make sure to ask about how you can best offer your love and support without hovering or assuming you know what the person wants.
Keep in mind that although you want to help, it may become overwhelming at times for your loved one. Talk with them about setting boundaries so that things do not get out of hand and feelings do not get hurt.
Remember that people who are used to being self-sufficient may have a hard time asking for help. Give your loved one time to learn to let go and accept help when needed. Keep in mind that everyone has different gifts and that your form of help may be needed on some days more than others. Whether you are able to let your loved one cry on your shoulder or want to help in more practical ways, know that your gifts are valued and appreciated.
Be present but not overbearing when you’re with your loved one. They know they aren’t suffering alone.
Respect time limits with them, especially when their energy level is low.
Let your loved one talk. They need to express their emotions and be accepted at face value rather than have you try to fix them.
Avoid always talking about the person’s health. Focus on other questions about their life, your life, and what’s going on in the world.
Provide encouragement for your loved one’s family. They don’t know what to expect and need support as well. Cards, phone calls, letters of encouragement, visits, meal preparation, and gift cards for favorite restaurants are very helpful.
If you or someone you know is fighting cancer, contact Chix 4 a Cause. Learn more about our Gifts of Love program at chix4acause.org today.