For a brief period of time, after I did a radio show with my dear friend, Ellen, I started blogging about how to support chronically ill people. Ellen and I both dreamed of a world where support came easier and more often. I held Ellen’s hand through the final days of her life, and want so much for the dreams and wishes to come true. That when an illness becomes chronic, community STAYS. Doesn’t run, doesn’t ignore, doesn’t avoid. That’s what I still want.
So, I’m going to post those blog posts here over the next week or two.
I hope they help one person gain the courage to reach out.
Originally posted February 5, 2011
I was told yesterday, by an amazing, yet chronically ill writer friend that I had amazing ideas. It made me smile. I just wish I had the well body to make them happen.
I’m hanging from a very thin thread today. I worked my emergency plan by sending out an email to my Lotsa Helping Hands site. Asking for people to give up part of their weekend to sit with me. Be with me. Keep me from eating my young and screaming at my partner. And I have some people coming over. I’m very grateful.
If I were the well friend, instead of the friend in need though, this is what I would do. I would call that friend, or email and ask if we could set up a potluck/movie night/clothing exchange/salon/eveing of drinking games at her house, to help her get through this time.
Help her feel support. Feel like she has a team behind her, not just a bunch of disparate friends that steal time from their active lives to babysit the crazy woman. Not that that situation is bad, I just want more of the whole “Thirty Something,” or some sitcom I can’t remember well enough to reference. The friend is in need, and the group of moms/friends/neighbors lend a hand.
I was at the house of a friend, today, whose husband struggles with Chronic Depression. She told me that a friend had arranged a group cleaning session. Grabbed a couple of moms and had a window cleaning party. Good old fashion barn raising.
That’s what I would do. I would arrange something that gets her social. Helps her feel supported. And maybe even gets some work done for her.
Sure, it might be exhausting, but most chronically ill people are pretty darn lonely and would welcome the change to have people over. Just don’t leave a mess. : )