Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Best Kind of Friends

Last time I had cancer we had a Very Special Family Home Evening where we filled a pillowcase with heavy things, and let our kids take turns carrying it around. At 3 and 5 of course they could not do it themselves. Then we explained how we would need help to carry the burden of cancer. We have not had that FHE yet, but already our friends are helping us carry the burden.

The last few weeks have been a blur of doctor's appointments. It is hard to do carpool pickup when the doctor is a half an hour away, and they have a so much to talk about. Luckily I carpool with an understanding friend, who has been taking my kids in the morning and then picking them up in the afternoon. She feeds them snacks and dinner, and lets them watch movies. Plus there are her daughters to play with at her house. L played Littlest Pet Shop with them last time. When C found out he was disappointed. He explained he wanted to play too, because he likes being the dogs.

I was expressing my gratefulness to her and she said it was no problem. I told her I was sure it was an imposition, but I was very thankful anyway. She said I needed to know it was not an imposition, the kids have fun together, and to know I could always call her, even if we needed to go to the hospital in an emergency. This same friend had a calling with me the first time I had cancer. I do not know what she did to deserve to have to be partnered with me again, but I am grateful.

Another friend let me talk space around the possibility of having cancer while we were still unsure of what the lump would turn out to be. She volunteered to be the backup caregiver of my children if my mother-in-law could not come out for the first surgery. When I sent her a plea describing my anxiety about C's room, she said she would endure that mess with me. She is helping with L's school assignment. With all the phone calls I have been having lately, she has been communicating with me through email, which reminds me I need to email her back. Last time I had cancer she had a newborn and I regretted that I would not be able to help her as much as I wanted. She instead helped me so much, and this time she said she did not have newborn and could help more.

My visiting teaching partner told me some good news about her own family. It was the best news I heard all week. Later that night I told her my not so good news. She offered all her support and we talked about how to visit teach through this time, which is so important to me.

The last friend helped me feel useful again. She gave me something else to think about besides cancer. She is meeting me wherever I am at - the mother's lounge, on the way to Wal-Mart, to come up with ideas on how she can help me. This friend is giving me answers on the questions I have to help my kids, especially Baby. She is watching to see when we are overwhelmed and then stepping in to assist. Already she has acted as a buffer in social situations for the reserved husband and I, helping everyone to feel comfortable.

Other friends far away have sent packages and emails full of love. We are not carrying this alone.

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