Not your average to-do list

I wrote this guest post recently and have been asked several times to repost the list portion.

This list is what I wish another person had sit down and explained to all my friends and family….the things I would have told everyone if I’d understood at diagnosis. The things that could have saved friendships and made it easier for loved ones to reach out to us.

  • Don’t feel guilty because it’s not you; don’t think that we would ever want you to be in our shoes.
  • We may be sad and under a heavy burden of fear and anxiety, but we also need to laugh and be silly. It’s OK to make jokes and share the same friendship we always have.
  • We still want to hear about your life. Don’t feel like you have to compare whatever problems you have on a scale with what we’re going through. We GET that we have it bad. We don’t need to hear words like “but it’s nothing like what you’re dealing with”. It’s not fun to be the crap-meter by which everyone else measures the misery in their lives.
  • It’s OK to not know what to say. There are times that we don’t want to hear platitudes or quaint phrases. Feel free to hug, offer your prayers, and just be there.
  • Ask your questions. If you understand what’s going on, you are going to be able to grasp what’s going on in our lives more fully and you’ll be a better friend for it.
  • If we have other kids, take the time to ask how they are doing as well. If they are present, remember to talk to them too. They are so often going to be shuffled to the background; their needs are going to go unmet. Gifts or cards or simple attention are going to be treasured reminders that they are loved as well.
  • If you want to do something to help, just DO IT. Asking what you can do to help, reminding us to ask for help is useless. We can’t think that far ahead. We don’t plan. We can’t remember what we ate for lunch, let alone think about what we’re going to make for dinner. Asking for help is humbling and very hard.

Here’s a list of things people did for us while we were still reeling:

* Scheduled for us to have meals
* Mowed our lawn
* Took our laundry home to wash it and deliver it back clean
* Came over and fed our dog and let her out
* Set up a schedule to pick up our other kids
* Took our other kids out for dinners and fun events to help them cope with the sudden upheaval
* Provided gift cards for gas, groceries, meals at the hospital
* Came to visit, especially when we felt like the world was avoiding us

Please add to the list. Make it more comprehensive, give your advice for a newly diagnosed parent, what pearls of wisdom you’d share.

You can also find me at Hope4Peyton, you come by, it’s nice…we have cookies! Feel free to email me at Anissa.Mayhew (at) gmail (dot )com.

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