Having a sick child sucks in many ways, with one exception… it brings out the giving, caring, nurturing, supporting side of people. We have been in awe with the out-pouring of love since Isla’s diagnosis! We have never once felt alone. This whole situation has taught us a lot- to be present, to love and cherish every day, to not dwell on why things happen, to appreciate all that you have no matter what, to love unconditionally, to accept help when you need it and to pay it forward when you have the means. Last year we spent a total of 9 weeks(!) in the hospital, and although most people reached out, I know there were others that wanted to do something but didn’t know what to do. If you ever have a friend or friends child land in the hospital, and you aren’t sure what to do…here are a couple of ideas:
1- Just be there! Take time out of your busy schedule to check in on them regularly. Show up in person, call, text or email. Whatever you are most comfortable with. Keep doing it even if they don’t respond. They can hear you and feel your love but may not have the time or capacity to reply. You aren’t bothering them, you are helping them, so keep doing it.
2- Try to avoid saying, ‘Let me know if I can do anything.’ It’s kind of an automatic response… It is a very nice gesture, but even if you really will do anything, most likely they aren’t going to let you know. Choose something to do and tell them you are doing it, and just confirm that it’s okay. Some ideas- go to their house and rake the leaves or shovel the snow or take out the trash. Ask for a key so you can take the dog on a walk or to the kennel. Arrange a food train, just ask for email addresses and set it up at mealtrain.com. Raise some money to help offset costs. Send them a care package. Donate money to their cause in their name. Send them a gas gift card. Hire some house cleaners. Get them a massage, etc. (All of these are things people did for us. We were astonished and relieved… it helped so much!)
p.s. Isla update- she is still responding well to the meds. She has a follow-up appointment on 3/14, so more to come!