I think that the best thing that you can do for someone who is dealing with cancer is to stay in touch. (This would be #1 on my list of “Things I am SO Glad that People Did or Said”.) We have so appreciated each and every email, message, voicemail, phone call, text. When we were still reeling after our world had been rocked, I remember looking around and seeing people going about their lives as normal. Frustrated that life could just go on in the midst of all our craziness made me feel like we were all alone. Then I would come home and there would be a card in the mail, and I would be reminded that we will never be alone. We have a huge network of love and support.
There have been some MVPs of staying in touch. For Dave, his biggest supporters are two women that he barely knows. One of them, Lora, he has only met in person once or twice. The other one, Helen, is my brother’s mother-in-law. Both of these supportive wonderful women are cancer survivors. They seem to know how important it is to stay in touch regularly and so Dave receives cards or care packages once a month. For me, I would have to say my sister-in-law, Michelle, has been incredible about staying in touch. I get quick text messages of support and love all the time just to let me know that she is thinking of us. Michelle’s mom is Helen. I guess when you have gone through it, you realize how important it is to have people checking in on you.
I feel like relationships with friends and family have actually been strengthened over the last year. We have reconnected with friends that we hadn’t seen in a while, spent more time with loved ones, and learned to enjoy every moment we are lucky enough to spend together. It’s a shame that it takes something catastrophic to bring people together, but I will take it.