Reader wants to sup­port sick friends

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like too many peo­ple around me are get­ting sick. My best friend has been bat­tling breast cancer for sev­eral years. An­other close friend’s hus­band was just di­ag­nosed with prostate cancer. My neigh­bor’s hus­band has metastatic prostate cancer. And that’s only the peo­ple clos­est to me. It is over­whelm­ing for the ones who are sick and for their friends. I want to be a sup­port to my friends, but I’m not sure how to do it. I am scared for them, and I don’t re­ally know what to say. -- Sup­port­ing My Sick Friends

DEAR SUP­PORT­ING MY SICK FRIENDS:

The com­mit­ment that cou­ples make when they marry comes to mind now -- in sick­ness and in health. Be­ing a good friend to your loved ones who are fight­ing ill­ness calls on that mus­cle that gives you the strength to stay by their side even when it’s tough. The way to be there is to be a good lis­tener. You don’t need to try to solve any prob­lems. In­stead, just lis­ten. Let your friends share their feel­ings, con­cerns and hopes. Re­sist the de­sire to try to solve their prob­lems or be their doc­tor. Just be present in ways that make them feel sup­ported and that don’t drain you too much.

You should also be vig­i­lant about your own health. Be sure to get an an­nual com­plete phys­i­cal, ex­er­cise reg­u­larly and eat a healthy, well-bal­anced diet.

•••

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who has worked in Hol­ly­wood for about 15 years. He had a good run get­ting gigs and mak­ing a lit­tle money, but it seems like his day in the sun, so to speak, has ended. I have tried to con­tact him just to be a friend. I still live in our home­town, but we have kept in touch over the years. I fig­ured he could use an old friend from back in the day to be there for him, but he isn’t re­spond­ing. I can’t solve his ca­reer or fi­nan­cial prob­lems, but I would like to be there for him for moral sup­port. How can I get that mes­sage to him? -- Take My Hand

DEAR TAKE MY HAND: Send your friend a note with an in­vi­ta­tion to hang out for a long week­end. Of­fer to come to him or add the op­tions of meet­ing some­place else or even back at home. Tell him you think it’s time for the two of you to have some good old fun. Don’t bring up his ca­reer sta­tus. Keep it light.

Fol­low up with a call. If he doesn’t an­swer, leave the same up­beat mes­sage on his voice­mail let­ting him know you miss him and want to get to­gether. In the end, your friend has to grasp what’s hap­pen­ing in his life and make the ap­pro­pri­ate changes in order to sur­vive. It may take him a minute to come out of his funk in order to rec­og­nize the value of your out­reach. Don’t give up on him. Pe­ri­od­i­cally check in to see if he is ready to re-emerge.

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Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­tecole.com or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

HARRIETTE COLE

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