When a friend who lives far away is diagnosed with cancer, it can be hard to know what to do to help. The options of dropping by with goodies or taking the kids for an afternoon aren’t possible, and the distance can seem formidable. Distance is relative, though, and since a person with cancer is likely spending more time at the hospital and recovering at home, she probably isn’t getting out as much as she used to anyway. So my advice is: don’t be afraid of intruding on her “daily life.” Get in there and give her a call when you feel like it, and send her emails just to let her know that you’re thinking of her. Add a funny card, a book you’ve enjoyed, or a small talisman that you’ve created for a surprise in the mail every now and then.
But the most important part is the note. Tell her you’re thinking of her. Tell her you’re pulling for her. Tell her that she is strong and is doing great. Tell her that she is a survivor. For she is. Every day that she is here, she is a survivor.
My guess is that your friend will appreciate the occasional call/email/note more than you can know. She may not get back to you right away if she’s in treatment, as it absolutely saps a patient’s energy, but she will feel the love, and it will help her get stronger. Which is where she needs to be. Stronger every day.
For more ideas, check out the archive on How To Help a Friend.