“Comfort IN, dump OUT.”
Here is a really helpful (and illustrated!) guide to how to talk to and about sick people (or people in crisis, in general.) Because people are really bad at it! Not intentionally, necessarily. I’m not good at it either. But I’d like to be better. Or for no one to get sick, ever. Either way?
When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan’s colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn’t feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague’s response? “This isn’t just about you.”
“It’s not?” Susan wondered. “My breast cancer is not about me? It’s about you?”
Okay, you probably knew not to say THAT. But the piece also provides suggestions about good things you can say (“Can I bring you a pot roast?”), which is more constructive than the (funny and cathartic) pieces which just tell you what pitfalls to avoid. Thank you for educating us, sick people with better things to do. We’ll try not to bring you down.