Last week I was chatting to a lady and we got ta talking, now I didn’t bring it up but somehow the topic of conversation turned to MS. I didn’t know this lady very well and she was unaware that I actually have it.
I don’t try to hide the fact I have MS, I see no point, its not a shameful or embarrassing thing so I casually slipped in that yes, I know a thing or two about it because I do indeed have it.
I must have caught the poor woman off guard because before we both knew what was happening she was asking me how long I have left…. as in to live.
I could tell she instantly regretted her choice of words, luckily for her I just laughed it off and set the record straight.
FYI- MS is not considered a life threatening illness, life expectancy for us is pretty on par with everyone else.
Don’t get me wrong, if I did have a life threatening illness I may not have been able to see the funny side, it was definitely the wrong thing to say but I could see it for what it was…. misguided information and word vomit.
You know word vomit? We all get it from time to time, especially when someone drops a bomb like that; you feel like you have to say something – you get all flustered and before you know it you blurt out something utterly ridiculous and want to crawl into a hole forgetting the whole thing never happened.
I’ve done it too believe me but its important to keep in mind that most people don’t set out to say something cringe worthy in these situations, it just kinda happens.
I thought about it some more on the drive home. I thought about the times I have said something face palm worthy and how I could have perhaps handled things with a little more decorum.
I can’t tell you from my personal experience the comments that have made me feel supported were ones that came from a compassionate yet positive outlook.
These comments make you feel like you have a cheer squad standing behind you every step of the way, these comments stay with you and make you feel a little better when you’re feeling a little low.
I decided to come up with a list of good things to say, not as a hint of what to say to me, but as a starter guide to help each of us out in case we ever need to step up and cheer on a friend or family member.
These are kinda directed towards a person with an illness but could easily be adapted to any situation that you want to voice that you care but can’t quite come up with the words…
- That’s a shitty situation to have to go through, how are you feeling about it?
- How are you going with ……? Simple yet effective, it also lets the person control how in-depth they want to get about their situation.
- I think you’re a superstar, let’s get together and you can tell me how you do it over some Savvy B (If they don’t or can’t drink wine insert appropriate beverage here) this Friday night…
- I don’t really know what to say and I am worried I’ll put my foot in it but please know that I am thinking about you, if you ever want to chat/ vent im here.
- When’s your next doctor’s appointment, if you need a cheer squad I’d love to step in.
- How did your last appointment go, is there anything that you want to get off your chest?
- I don’t really know much about it, can you tell me so I can support you in the best way possible?
- You don’t deserve this but I admire how you are handling it.
- You’re not alone, we will gather as much information as possible and deal with it together.
- You know who’s a good listener? Me, just saying if you ever need a pair of ears… I’ve got 2.
This is just a small snippit of what you could say, of course it would need to be tailored to the person and the current circumstance.
Whatever you choose to say I think the most important think it to say it sincerely, be genuine in your delivery and you’ll be the best darn cheer squad your pal has ever seen.
I’d love you to share any other ideas you have or have had said to you in the past that have had a lasting impact.
Id like to say a small thank you to my personal cheer squad, you know who you are xo