Friday, August 16, 2013

Ways to help loved ones

One thing that annoys me more than anything about this whole thing is seeing my loved ones worry.  Just cr*p.  

So I thought I would dedicated a post to how you can help loved ones, split into 2 sections:

1. Helping loved ones when YOU have an illness (i.e. what I am trying to do)
2. Helping loved ones when THEY have an illness (i.e. what my family and friends are dong for me)

1. Helping loved ones when YOU have an illness

Scenario - you have been diagnosed with something, or are living with some sort of illness.  After going through the 'telling them' stage you see your closest family members (parents/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend etc.) are worried.  What can you do?  Well I am a proactive kinda person so I wanted to make sure they could take their minds off it somehow. 

I really believe that the best way for them to cope is to have a creative outlet or project (which is also very helpful for you too BTW, but that will come in another post).

I may be the one who has the unexpected visitor, but they too should have a way of managing and rather than spend their time on negative thoughts or energy, why not help them focus on a project? 

Ideas for them:
What are they into?  What are their hobbies?  What is their passion?  If you don't know, ask!  (You may be surprised at their answer and learn something:).

Get them focussed on that, encourage them and, if you can, help give them more resources to do their project.

I am happy to say that Mr V is expanding his RC range and is now building his 4th Remote Control (built to scale) car from scratch (which he is making for me to drive, awesomeness) and my stepfather has started writing and blogging about his life stories (check out his funny blog here).  I'm still working on a project for mum, but as a self confessed "Faffer" (I seriously laughed out loud when I read that description) I know that she is happy faffing and just doing her wonderful thing, as well as being an avid Pinterester and gardener.
Now, curious kid is too young to fully understand exactly what is going on (apart from knowing mom is going in for an operation and will get a "really big plaster"), but we are spending such fun times together building Lego cars (believe me there is therapy in Lego!), playing iPad video games (the scores currently stand at: Curious Kid 12 - Mom 10 for Beach Buggy Blitz), drawing and coloring, playing Eye Spy, reading, watching music videos etc.

When I see their minds are busy with something else (rather than worry) that makes me happy, so it's a win-win situation :)

2. Helping loved ones when THEY have an illness

I am blessed to have such awesome friends and family, seriously they rock my world.  (I will never know how to repay the love and support I have received from them apart from say 2 words - thank you.)  

So what can you do for those who have been diagnosed with something (whatever it may be), or those who are already living with something?

*Disclaimer* I must add this is based on my opinion, but I am sure others may feel the same (if not, blame it on 'a blog you read on the internet' haha).

  • Don't dwell on the 'illness' or situation.  In my case I will easily answer any questions people have and talk openly about it, but I don't feel it's the only topic of discussion.  It is something that has happened, but there are far more interesting things going on :)
  • Try not to feel sad, sorry, bad or pity.  Unless you want to dedicate time, money and/or energy to finding a way to control or cure an illness, there is nothing you can do apart from support your loved one.  This is a tough one and one I wrestled with when my gran was diagnosed.  When she told me I cried but she said "Don't cry", which I just didn't understand.  How else am I supposed to react?  Now I totally get it, I really do.  So if you feel sad or have any negative emotions just let them go - it won't help you feel any better and it certainly won't help your loved one.  Be happy instead, you and your loved one are here so be thankful for that.   
  • Provide entertainment - we all like to have times when we can take our minds into another world and I am so grateful to friends who have sent movies, comedy shows, links to YouTube videos and music - you have no idea how awesome (and necessary) it is and I am sure others will feel the same.  What better way to pass the time waiting for surgery or results, recovering and healing! 
  • If you are thinking about sending an email or message, in the words of Nike... Just Do It.  However big or small - be it encouraging words, a photo, a card, an emoticon, a sentence, a funny screenshot, a recipe, an article, a video, a Pin, a 'quotivation', a song, a story of hope that you think the person would appreciate.  Think of what your loved one enjoys, what they like and what their passions are.  I guarantee these will mean so much to them.  I am so grateful to have received the support that I have, seriously speechless actually.  I am positive others in my situation would feel exactly the same, no matter how big or small the message is, it will matter to your loved one.
  • Be happy around them.  The best piece of advice I received from a friend when my gran was diagnosed.  Instead of me moping about the house (which I probably would have done if I didnt get her advice) we enjoyed the time we had together, shared stories, I gave her a facial and pampered her.  She loved it and I cherish those memories. 

Let's also remember that an illness does not define a person.  It is not what a person is, it's something that has happened to them.  Your friend, relative, loved one, or acquaintance is still the person they were so do the things you would normally do, or talk about the things you would normally talk about. Just be you and they can just be them ;)  They will appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

JMac passed on the link to your blog - I have only met you a few times but your personality is wonderfully reflected in your writing. Fun, creative, smart and original. Thanks for letting us share this with you. PS if anyone can kick cancer's butt it is you.
from the Dunns

LVos said...

Hi Dunns,
Thank you for those wonderful and kind words, I really appreciate that!
Sending lots of love to you 4.

JMac said...

This is so true!! Much to Andy's bewilderment I'm am focusing my attention on buying new, unnecessary diaper bags! That's a hobby right? Haha. I bought a cute Tokidoki one! I swear you'd love it!!

LVos said...

I was JUST going to ask you if you had taken up any new hobbies my love :)
You know that I need a photo of this new diaper bag!!! I would totally put that in the 'hobby' section. How is your sewing getting on?
Love you,