Words of encouragement have been like a cool drink of water for the parched soul of this family. When my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer our world came crashing down all around us. Heavy hearts were burdened even more when many of our loved ones kept their distance, silent and hidden behind their own grief at mom's prognosis.
We needed some comforting words in our misery and they didn't know what to say. A miserable combination to be sure.
However, like an answer to prayer, there were friends, old acquaintances, doctors and nurses, and the bravest of our family who stepped up and have filled our hearts with hope and courage.
This page is dedicated to all those who were willing to wade into the mire of our grief, taking up our cause with grace and mercy. It wasn't easy. At times, the journey has been downright ugly. But these faithful warriors never flinched, spreading words of encouragement by phone, card, email, text, and to our everlasting gratitude, in person.
If you've ever wondered what to say to a friend, family member or co-worker that has just been given a devastating diagnosis, then this may give you a place to start. I can't emphasize enough that your presence alone as often all that's necessary. In the beginning, our greatest solace were the shoulders to cry on. Comforting words were murmured, but by far the thing we remembered most was the solid presence of that friend or family member. We knew we weren't alone.
One of my favorite quotes says that "One of the most valuable things we can do to heal one another is listen to each other's stories." ~ Rebecca Falls. So true. We must have told and retold mom's story hundreds of times. We couldn't stop. But each time that someone listened, it helped. It validated what we were going through. It also helped get the grief out, the anger vented. And often it cemented the next step we realized we needed to take. Never underestimate the power of being there for that friend or family member.
Words of encouragement come in all shapes and sizes. Mom and I both are avid readers and we've started to compile a list of some of our favorite quotes. You can check it out here.
We've also put together a list of the things people did and said that helped the most. Whether it was a word spoken, a note written or a deed given, these lifted us up during some of our darkest days. That list is here.
And if you love to read, we are compiling a list of some of the best books on cancer and related subjects that we have read thus far. This is a list of must-read books. Be sure to check out our recommendations.
Words of encouragement should be on every oncologists prescription pad. For they are medicine for the soul.
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