In his speech to the fundraising volunteers the night before the Chicago marathon, my brother Jeff offered this bit of wisdom that really stuck with me. He said “The best thing you can do for a friend or family member who is struggling with their health is to ask them what they miss being able to do most… and then help them do that.”
He went on, “Like all cancer patients, I have good days and bad days. And a really good day is when I can wake up and not think about what’s wrong with me.” That one really got to me, and I’m glad I was there in person to hear it.
So what can you do to help your loved one “forget?” It could be a hike in the mountains, a holiday tradition or going to a favorite restaurant. It could be playing a video game, getting good seats for a concert or seeing the ocean at sunset. Experiencing “normal” again, even for a moment, can be a source of great joy for someone whose life is anything but normal right now.
Finishing the marathon side by side with my brother was something I could do for him, but it ended up being the highlight of MY year. And now at Thanksgiving time, I give thanks for Jeff and all the things he has taught me. He’s a pretty remarkable guy.