Take Time to Be Present

Supporting a loved one with cancer

Sometimes the best gift you can give is yourself. Take some time to be present with someone who is suffering with cancer. Use these suggestions from The Gift of Presence to help give the gift of presence to a loved one:

  • Be sincere. Empathy grows out of sincerity, and without it, the sufferer will not be comforted.
  • Listen. Acknowledge their complaints and fears, and listen to any of their stories about the past. Talking about the past offers an escape from the present, and can transport them to memories of comfort and peace.
  • Help out. Offer practical help like getting groceries, picking children up from school, or checking on an empty house.
  • Pray. Prayer is a powerful tool to be used to show your sincere concern. Due to the intimate nature of prayer, though, it can cause a number of emotions with those who suffer, so be sure to establish a safe, inviting environment before jumping into such an intimate activity.
  • Enjoy silence. Do not shy away from long periods of silence. Silence can be just as important as the spoken word, as it offers the gift of quietness and peace for the sufferer.
  • Offer an invitation. Always try to include the ones suffering in outside activities—invite them to dinner, the movies, church functions, or community events. While they may not feel like it, or be able to attend, they’ll still appreciate the invite.
  • Send a note. If you are physically unable to visit or stay with a suffering loved one for very long, a handwritten note can convey a strong sense of presence. Also, the sufferer has the opportunity to read it at his or her leisure and keep it.

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