How to care

This post has ben drafted a few times as I found it hard to write, yet as I think the topic is important, and because this blog is about my musings on important things, I still have been wanting to share this. Over the last few days I have been pondering a lot about how to live through life’s challenges without feeling like we are living a second rate life.

My thoughts have been coloured by some family members and friends who have become unwell and started a journey of investigations into diagnosis, as well as the unshakable fact that we are living in the midst of a pandemic where we are not certain what long term effects the coronavirus will have on some of the sufferers. All of this brought me back to the start of my own hard journey of life not turning out like I had envisaged. When pain, illness, and suffering comes our way it is very natural to not want it to happen to us, and to long for life to be as it was. The beginning of the ‘If only….’ stage of this new journey/fight is quite a hard place to be. The self you recognise as you suddenly is in crisis mode, and feels like it disappearing altogether sometimes. But it is even harder if everyone around you also adapt the ‘if only’ attitude. So many, with only the best intentions I’m sure, will add to your feeling of life suddenly having become second best/second rate. I lost count of the amount of people who would tell me of treatments that had worked for their colleagues friends mum and I should definitely try! Friends who wishfully talked about what they hoped life would be for me again one day or who when we met would sooner say prayers for me rather then have an honest conversation about how things actually were. Of course, none of the intentions here are bad, but remember sometimes the challenges don’t go away and what someone is going through may become life as that person knows it. Maybe there is no treatment or prayer, best intentions or good wishes that can take all of this away. And the kindest thing to do is not to keep living in the ‘if only’, but to help and be there for someone who has to learn to recognise themselves in an unfamiliar way. If your faith, hope and strong beliefs for someone doesn’t change anything -imagine how much more crushing that feeling is for the person going through this. Be there, support (practically give your time) and listen. For those whose lives are changing it is far more important to be able to get up thinking how they can make the best of today rather then always waking up with the thought that today might be the day everything changes and goes back to ‘normal’. If normal never is an option you will live life waiting and hoping, only to go to bed every night disappointed. There’s a Proverb that says “hope differed makes the heart sick.” The battle through illness and acceptance is often in the mind, so for those of you who are reading my ramblings, be the friend who let people know and feel they are still them through all they are experiencing, and they are still able to contribute to life if only a bit differently then before, but not of any less importance or value.

Off course it is ok to wish for life to be different for someone you love and care for, but just ask yourself ‘Am I contributing to my friend feeling like ‘life shouldn’t be like this for me’ or am I helping them embrace now and make the best of life as it has turned out’. Because the latter is definitely the best way to care (in my humble opinion).


  1. neale Carter says:

    That really got me thinking Silje. It reminded me of when something tragic happens in your life and people say “I’m so sorry I know what you must are going through”. Well if they have experienced something similar then fair enough but if not, how can they. Meaningful as they may be it doesn’t help.
    My mother always told me “there’s always somebody worse off than you!” I guess it’s sayings like this that help you to keep moving forward.
    Thanks for sharing Silje, it can’t have been easy


    1. sehowes says:

      I agree Neale.
      Sometimes all I had to comfort myself with in the darkest hours of feeling like my kids was missing out (as well as me) and they deserved better, was to say to myself ‘at least I am here still!’.


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