what DO you say? (part two)...

So yesterday Kathy V. and I shared what happened on the day of diagnosis. I think it is safe to say that we were both profoundly affected by how we were told about our children's futures. I also think it's safe to say that we have fought every single day to stay in that positive space celebrating the blessings of these children.

Of course as any reader of this blog knows, discouragement and frustration come and sometimes is is darn hard to overcome them. Each day is a journey that we take with Jesus walking beside us loving us as we love our children. THIS JOURNEY IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER MOTHERS!! We just have to deal with more trauma and drama on a daily basis, that's all.

So I asked Kathy the following:
2. Put yourself in my shoes in the grocery store parking lot. What would you have said in response?

Kathy V. - "I would have smiled and reminded the person not to compare their struggles to my own. God gives us each a unique cross; mine is not hers. It's okay to need to vent about life a little, that's what friends do for one another -- we listen. Just because you are not changing adult diapers or feeding your teenage child a sippy cup to make sure that they receive the proper protein in their diet through nutritional supplements doesn't mean that what the Lord has given you to handle is any less significant than what He has given me. It's just different.

In essence, I would diffuse the situation by given the person permission to complain to me. I would still be there to listen; I would not be there to judge their sufferings against my own, or to think,"How dare they waste my time with their trivial matters, when my life is what it is!" I'm sure that is the fear that strikes most people who find themselves complaining to me about carpools, kid issues, etc. I'm not offended by your trials, I am here to listen and help."

Mary L. - "I totally agree with that, accept in this case it was a serial offender and I thought it was best to run. I will say that the word that did me in was "awful". There are many things that are "awful" in life, Courtney is NOT one of them. I have said enough on that topic...moving on..."

3. Someone's loved one is diagnosed with XYZ. What do you say to them?

Kathy V. - "First: "I heard about XYZ, how are you?" That is often enough to ask in order to get a sense of where the person is in relation to the diagnosis.

Second: "Do you need to talk?" Sometimes just the offer to listen or to hold someone while they cry is what our mission is when a loved one receives an ugly diagnosis. (Remember: an ugly diagnosis can range from allergies to cancer -- it is the state of mind and soul of the person that determines the reaction to bad news)

Third: MAKE IT ABOUT THEM! While we all have experiences and information, sometimes it is important to hold off until the person has had a chance to digest what has just happened to them. Comforting statements like, "I understand", "I'm here for you", "What do you need from me?" will help the person realize they are not alone. "

Mary L. - "As my mother used to say "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." The other thing is it's really OK to say "I don't know what to say?". There are many situations we are faced with in life that words fail us. Just hug them and let them know your there. Be sincere in your support. Be honest and be present when they need a shoulder to cry on. DON'T counsel...LISTEN and pray with them if they are open to it. Kathy's third point is crucial. Make it about them and where they are.

One other thing...I have what I call my "Sunshine Brigade". These are other woman in my life that I go to when I need help out of my pit. This rainbow runs both ways for me. I listen to them, they listen to me. I am blessed to be surrounded by such good friends. They have proven over the years to be faithful and uplifting whenever I am in need of some positive input. I encourage anyone who is going through difficulty to find someone positive that can be your go to person on those difficult days.

So my friends, what have people said to you that you found healing and helpful during your time of need? What have they said that you wished you could stuff back into their mouths?

Be honest and open. Let's talk about this so we can be in support of one another no matter what challenges we face.

Blessings and Grace,