I never used to know what to do when someone got sick. I’d be afraid to bring it up to them, afraid to ask them about it, afraid to offer help. Worried that I’d intrude or say the wrong thing.
When I was diagnosed, I was so afraid to talk about it at first, but then as I got more used to the idea and started to let people know, I started to get mail every day.
Each day brought a new card, a new present, a little surprise. Over time, I began to call these little gifts my talismans. Definition: A talisman (from Arabic طلسم Tilasm, ultimately from Greek telesma or from the Greek word “telein” which means “to initiate into the mysteries”) is an amulet or other object considered to possess supernatural or magical powers. During breast cancer, I sure welcomed all the magical powers I could get!
I got a lot of cards! Most were pretty funny, who knew how great Get Well cards are these days?
I got a lot of pretty, dangly earrings (to try and deflect notice from my bald head, I suppose!)
This beautiful pendant whose chain was long enough for me to hold in my hand during chemo.
Many beautiful bracelets. This one has one single pink bead with a ribbon (see it?)
Lots of beautiful pink ribbon pins and bracelets.
This little Buddha fit nicely in my hand, and came to the hospital with me for strength during my mastectomy.
This stone came with me that day, too. Needed things to hold in my hand to ground me that day.
Here’s where I’m storing them so that nothing happens to any of these treasures.
So, if you’re wondering what to do for someone who’s ill, or sick or going through some type of trauma, my suggestion is that it’s not important WHAT you send them, it’s just important that you send them SOMETHING, or do something, so that they know you’re thinking of them.
Send a card, send a newspaper article, send them a funny book, a magazine, almost any little symbol of normalcy. Make them dinner, bring over a cup of coffee, bring some flowers, stop by for a chat and a hug.
My friend Cindy used to send me a “Chemo fun kit” that I would get each Thursday before my Friday chemotherapy treatment. It would be filled with People magazine, or Glamour or Oprah magazine….easy reading to help me get through the treatment. It always made me laugh, because it reminded me so much of her.
All of these little talismans made a world of difference for me last year.
Thank you to all of my friends who took care of me last year. There are no better friends in the world.