Written by Valeska Waldron, Delivering Joy
Hmm, a topic that perhaps not many people have given a lot of thought to, or more accurately avoided, because, well, it’s not something that people really want to think about now, is it?
When life pulls the rug from under the people you care about, which can be in such a variety of ways from illness, significant life events (think separation, birth of a child, DV), to grief and loss, it can impact us (the supporters) too. And I know that really, more than anything else you want to give your friend or loved one as much support as possible.
But what happens if you are in this situation, and you are not really sure what to do, how to do it, or what to say? You don’t want to upset her further by doing or saying the ‘wrong’ thing. You can feel helpless (and even a bit desperate) – as you search high and low for the thing that will show you care, is actually helpful and not just a tokenistic gesture (even though these can be welcome too).
You see, I get it. I was in this exact situation back in 2016 when I found out my friend had stage IV bowel cancer. It was devastating. It didn’t seem fair, and nothing made sense. She had two young children (like me), she was pretty fit and healthy and lots of plans ahead of her. I couldn’t help but try and imagine what she would be thinking and feeling, but the reality was, there was no way I could know.
I really wanted to be there for her, to help her, to take her pain away and let her know I cared, but mostly I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone. In all honestly, I felt pretty helpless – what really could I do…
I started doing what seemed like small things but realised that they were having an impact for my friend. And I want you to know that you can make a difference to the lives of the people you care about, right now, by showing up and being there.
Here are some suggestions to inspire ideas, so you can get out there and make a different to the people you can about right now!
Be of Service
Where can you be of service to your friend in small practical ways? This could include making a meal (or 5) or running errands to take the load off. Everyday life can feel hard when you are dealing with other factors or events, and while they may not ask for the help you can always offer.
It can be so isolating and lonely for people going through tough times, feeling like they are on their own and not wanting to be a burden on other people. Often times other people can distance themselves from people going through tough times, as they are not sure what to say so they say nothing at all.
Please don’t do this!
It can be as simple as a few words.
Please know that even though they are going through, possibly, some of the toughest things they have faced, they still want to feel like part of your life and know what is happening for you too. This is one of the biggest ways I supported my friend, and it was the catalyst for me starting Delivery Joy, to help other people in the same situation as me.
No matter what your friend or loved one is going through, they need as much love and support as possible, to uplift and encourage them through the ups and downs. You could offer to spend time with them, and just be – not doing or fixing, just listening and being there.
Providing them some inspiring images, affirmations or motivational quotes from time to time could be just what they need to get through that day. I want to be clear; this is not an attempt to diminish their experience, feelings or emotions, or tell them that they should be always be positive. It is a way to uplift them, offer some loving encouragement and show that you are there for them if they need you.
Humour and Joy
Now this is one of my favourites!
Laughter really is the best medicine and there is a growing collection of research that show laughter can reduce stress levels and promote feel-good hormones resulting in improved mood creating a ripple effect throughout the body. No one needs a smile and laugh more than a person going through the toughest of times.
Send them funny memes or jokes to brighten their day. If you come across something that makes you smile or laugh, send it through to them too – you honestly could turn their day around or just give them the lift they need in that moment to keep going. Even just giving them a momentary distraction is GOLD, and they will know that you are thinking of them too.
The common theme to these suggestions? Connection!
The power of connection is huge and can contribute significantly to happiness. Feeling connected to others is linked to physical and mental wellbeing and can be a preventative factor against anxiety and depression. So, I urge you to stay connected to the people you care about, particularly through their tough times, even if it feels uncomfortable. The benefits to them are profound, and believe me, you will feel great too knowing that you are showing up for them when it really matters the most.
Get to know Valeska Waldron
Valeska Waldron, Founder of Delivering Joy, has a deep capacity for care, sensitivity, compassion, and seeing joy in the little moments. Valeska has bundled this into packages of support, delivered daily via text message, helping those you care about when they need it the most.
Driven by desperation and desire to help her friend with cancer, Valeska created a unique gift, 30 Days of Joy, delivering a smile and hug to her phone each morning, letting her know she wasn’t alone. Valeska knew this service needed to be available to others, so they too could support people they care about through the ups and downs of life. Delivering Joy was born!
Delivering Joy’s mission is to keep people connected through the ups and downs of life, with a truly meaningful and innovative method of support.
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