Thursday, October 21, 2010

Write Pink! Bigger Picture Moment: Awkward or Not...Here I Come

For as willing as I am to talk -- at length and without provocation -- about some of my favorite touchy topics with friends (natural childbirth! breastfeeding!), I'm a little surprised at how unqualified I feel to broach the topic of breast cancer.  It's too serious.  It's too frightening. 

Even more so when I find myself faced with the disease in person.  I feel completely lost.  I'm one of those incredibly awkward types who can't seem to form a cohesive sentence around a sick person, like there's a giant tumor-covered elephant in the room around which to navigate.  (See?  I make tasteless jokes in my awkwardness.)  And that bothers me. 

I want to be supportive and helpful -- honestly!  Despite my stammering and small-talking, I'd be your most willing caretaker or confidant.  IF I could get past the unknown of how to go about doing that.  And since my most trusted way of working through issues like this is with practice, I fear that when it matters, I won't know what to do simply because I haven't been surrounded by sick loved ones.  (Something I'm grateful for.) 

What then, can I do to figure out how to be a supporter during illnesses such as breast cancer? 

Most basically, but probably most encouragingly, I can do research.  There are all sorts of people in the blogosphere alone who have written about ways to support a cancer patient.  What to say and what to avoid.  How to behave and how to help.

Here are some things I've found that might help any fellow, clueless would-be supporters out there:

Jill writes about Things to say (and not to say) to a cancer patient.

WhyMommy has compiled an extensive list of posts about how to help.  (And this quote from her really strikes me as fantastic to remember: "Every woman who battles cancer is a survivor from the day of her diagnosis. Help your friend by seeing her as such — not a patient, but a survivor.")

Megan wrote for Write Pink! about supporting her friend through breast cancer, and had some fantastic advice.

The American Cancer Society has a list of articles for caregivers to cancer patients.

But beyond all of these tips and tricks, I think the most important thing for someone like me to remember is this: my loved-one will still be my loved-one.  The simple act of showing my love through words and contact will probably mean something to them.

I just have to step outside my reservations.  Make myself forget the awkwardness, and remember the person

Share your thoughts on breast cancer support today for Bigger Picture Moments today at Peanut Butter in my Hair and you'll automatically be entered into an awesome giveaway -- a Gift Certificate from {So}Sartina!  Not to mention the general sense of satisfaction that will be yours from Writing Pink...


  1. Really, Sarah, we must be cut from the same cloth: I am a stammering, unsure mess around people who are sick too. Thanks for all the links; I will definitely be checking them out.

  2. Even I don't always know what to say, and I've been in their shoes! I think just being there is the most important thing of all.

  3. I love your honesty, your sincerity, Sarah. No one has the perfect words all of the time, but like you said, when we love someone, it shines through words. That's the best support -- loving them.


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?