When was the last time you told a friend with an illness, “I care about you”? Everyone needs to hear the words, “I don’t know what to say but I care about you.”
“I care about you.” We don’t hear it very often, do we? Those of us who are living with chronic illness can occasionally feel like no one really cares about us. Yes, that can sound trite and a little self-serving, but living in chronic pain every day can become lonely.
For example, our life may consist of spending the day on the phone trying to figure out what new medications we are not allergic to that the insurance will cover now that the co-payment has increased on the one we like best. Or we may be trying to read about how to fix the ice maker because it stopped making ice cubes for the ice bag we desperately need for our pain. Everyone around us seems to be going through the normal activities of life, like what to make for dinner or planning vacation with loved ones.
Although there is no shortage of people who send us newspaper clippings about the latest cure for our disease or fresh advice of “you should try. . . .”, the words, “I care about you. I am here,” are less common than most people would believe.
These are precious words we don’t hear every day:
“I don’t know what to say. I wish I could fix it all and take away your pain. I don’t know what you would like me to say, and I am so afraid of saying the wrong thing. But know this: I care about you. Truly. I care about you.“
If you have a friend with a chronic illness condition and you tend to avoid bringing up his or her illness because you are afraid of saying the wrong thing, take a moment and just say, “Hey, I know we don’t talk about all the stuff you deal with very often, but I don’t want there to ever be any doubt about this: I care about you. I am here if you need anything.”
You never know how that will add trust and joy to the relationship.
TWEET THIS: Things TO SAY to an ill person #1 I don’t know what to say, but I care about you #iiwk12 http://ow.ly/ccLrX
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