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Helping A Friend In A Crisis

By Megan (Steps for Brady)

In the past five months I have been on the receiving end of hundreds of the most generous and thoughtful acts by countless people. Dealing with the life threatening illness of our son has been a terrifying experience, but has also shown us amazing kindness in the hearts of those around us. It has been difficult at times to have to accept help, but without it, I don’t know how our family would have survived.

Here are a few ideas of ways to help. Take it from someone who knows, any of these would be a huge blessing to a friend going through a tough time.

1. Pray, Pray Pray! Don’t just tell someone, “I’m praying for you,” actually do it! We’ve all been guilty of this, but I can tell you that nothing meant more to us than knowing that people were praying. I even had people who would email me and tell me that they had just prayed for me in a very specific way. I also had a friend who emailed me about once a week with scripture and encouraging words. I can’t tell you how many times I opened up her emails during a time when I thought I couldn’t go on. That encouragement kept me going in the toughest times!

2. Acknowledge what is happening. Don’t be afraid to call, email, or send a card to the person who is experiencing the crisis. It is hurtful when you don’t hear from people, and it is a huge blessing to feel loved and supported. Sure it may be awkward to discuss what is happening, but do it for your friend!

3. Just do it. So many people say “Let me know if there is anything I could do.” Then there is the group of people who just reach out and do something. A neighbor brought us fresh baked bread, a college friend organized a dinner in her home to raise money for our family, and my cousins bought us a new freezer to store meals that were being dropped off. When you are in the midst of a crisis, it means so much to have people around you who are “do-ers” and don’t need to be asked. It is hard enough to accept help, but even more difficult to have to ask for it.

Our lives were turned completely upside down with our son’s illness. But through this difficulty, we have learned great lessons. One thing is certain, my husband and I will forever give more selflessly, more abundantly, and more thoughtfully for the rest of our lives to those around us who are in a crisis.

But we also learned how to be better friends to others by receiving such abundant love and support from our friends and family.

Megan is a fellow blogger who is a stay-at-home mom to four wonderful kids under the age of two.  She blogs to tell the story of her precious son Brady diagnosed with neuroblastoma on January 21, 2009.

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks for writing about this - I think it's so easy for most people to go into "freeze" mode in the midst of crisis. We don't know what to say or do, and so instead we do nothing. Those few "simple" steps you listed serve as a great outline for how to love a family that is dealing with serious illness or grief. I lost my birth dad to Esthesioneuroblastoma 19 years ago this June, and I know our friends and family's acts of kindness are still held dear in my mom's heart today.

June 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErika

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