Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How to Help When you Don't Know How

It's so unfair.

Over and over in my head I hear, "It's so unfair." It is no fair that kids who have not had a chance to live their lives are fighting for their lives. Our children's cancer is not a result of a poor lifestyle choice or exposure to chemicals, no, it is only a result of a sin filled world. Again I say, not fair.

We picked up a sword to fight a new tumor just recently. We have been in and out of Stanford trying to decide on the next course of action on an inoperable brain tumor for a child who has an anaphylaxis response to the typical chemo protocol for that type of cancer. Yesterday was one of these appointments. I came home and put my feet up to check up on our friend family. One of my cancer mom friends who has been at our sides also fighting posted an update, they were also getting routine tests performed.

She relapsed.

No...I kept reading.

Three tumors...


months to live...NOT FAIR.

I knew this news would bring tears. Ugly tears. Before the news really sank in far I decided to ask our community to help me put together a care box for Ari's family. She is heading back to St. Jude on Tuesday for a month long inpatient chemo stay. Friends and community members all started jumping on the bandwagon to shower this family with love. This sweet Mama friend of mine often discusses with me the ins and outs of being a cancer mom. It made me reflect on help and how people think they are helping, how often there are no words so sometimes unthoughtful words escape. I know they mean well but they have no idea what our lives are like and how we feel. Here are my thoughts...

Not Helpful
"God never gives you more than you can handle."
- First off, that is not Biblical at all. Second, if that were true people would not commit suicide or need antidepressants / anxiety meds or die of a broken heart.

"I am praying for you."

Most Appreciated
"Can I pray for you right now?"
- A genuine prayer means the world!

Not Helpful
"Why do you need to fundraise MORE?"
- Would you like to see my stack of medical bills? Do I need to explain how my sick kid is a full time job?

"What do you need me to do?" or "What do you need?"

Most Appreciated
"Check your email, I sent you a gift card for gas / dinner / coffee."

Not Helpful
"Be strong" or "Hang in there"
- We already feel so much pressure put there by ourselves to be strong for our children.

"I admire your strength"

Most Appreciated
"You are not alone, let me help."

Not Helpful
"I know how you feel. My step mother's, second cousin, removed by marriage had skin cancer."
- Unless you are also a cancer mom or fought cancer yourself most Momcologists find this insulting. I just try to tell myself that you are trying to relate to me but honestly it is not helpful.

"This must be so hard on you! Do you need to talk? Or maybe a distraction?"

Most Appreciated
"I cannot imagine how you feel, can I pray with you?"

I hope you all know how much your love and kindness has meant to us. I know it is hard to know what to say or how to say it or how to help without making us feel like a charity case. I want you to know that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this community. The messages of hope, the help, the Christmas gifts have truly lifted our spirits in this hard time. Your extra help with Ari's box is just mind blowing! This post was meant as a window into our hearts so you can continue to love those Momcologists and be God's instruments of love in our lives. Thank you dear friends, we hope you have a Merry Christmas!

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