My inbox is full of the same questions every day.
“My friend was just diagnosed, what can I do?”
“How can I help my husband who is grieving his father, what can I do?”
“She is having such a hard time, I can see it. But what can I do?”
There’s this anxious place when someone is hurting, suffering or in a hard place. The leap to help is terrifying and you’re not sure you’ll land in a zone of comfort or fail miserably. You worry you’ll say the wrong thing, make someone feel worse or completely fumble over your own awkward heart.
So, I don’t always know how to answer the question. Some people may be ready for help, or be in complete warrior mode, carrying it all on their own shoulders for survival.
So, when you ask, ‘What can I do?’ It isn’t always a simple DO… but more a SEE.
Well, I could send you links and tell you about our online support groups, I can tell you about events we’ve hosted or how you can nominate someone to receive a card. I mean, hell, it’s why I started this little non-profit, Cocktails & Chemo, I always hope when you don’t know what to do, we will. But it isn’t always that easy.
I can’t name the people who attended Joe’s funeral, I can’t remember most of the meals dropped off at our house, I saved a few cards and I know there are texts I’ve yet to respond to but I do remember how you made me feel when you saw me.
When you saw me.
When you saw me that day wondering the grocery store alone as a newly widowed woman and a rambunctious toddler and came up and introduced yourself and hugged me.
When you sent a Starbucks gift card on Joe’s birthday straight to my phone. You saw me.
When you showed up on my doorstep after a tear filled Facetime call and knew you had to see me with your own eyes.
When you bought me a mop because you realized I hadn’t mopped since Joe died. You didn’t judge me, just simply saw me (and some very sticky floors).
When you drank champagne with me after I put my child on the bus by myself for the first time. You saw me.
When you saw my posts and liked them or bought a t-shirt. You saw me.
When you sent cookies to my hotel room for my anniversary without my husband. I knew you could see me, though I’m glad you didn’t see the cookie crumbs, wine splashes and tears on the bedspread.
When you saw my heart, my soul, my heart break and it didn’t scare you.
When you let me drink too much and cry on your couch. It was probably a sight you won’t ever forget (though I wish you would) but I know you saw me.
When you let me be happy and confused as I set up an online dating profile and you helped me swipe and laugh. I felt seen for where I was. Not what you expected to see of me but what was in front of you.
So, what can you do?
See me. See your friend. See the ugly and sit in it. Anyone can show up when you’re happy, but the people who see you and allow you to feel seen when your heart falls apart? Those are your people.
That’s how you help.