Managing the Well-Wishers

It’s perhaps one of the most delicate issues when you’re seriously ill — how to graciously accept the flood of concern and help from friends and family, while not allowing yourself to be smothered by it.

My mother’s phone rings all day. Her next door neighbor calls multiple times a day and if my mother is not home, she calls every five minutes until she returns.

Another friend brings a huge batch of corned beef and cabbage — the most inappropriate food for someone who is nauseous and has no appetite.

A gaggle of other hens call mostly to complain about their own health issues.

We know and understand people are concerned and are reacting and responding in the best way they know how. I, for one, am drawing enormous strength and stamina from my own “chosen family” of friends who check in with me. And I deeply appreciate the offers of logistical help, emotional support and spiritual connection. SO DON’T STOP! There may come a day when I need to take you up on it!

I’m speaking mostly of those among my mother’s contemporaries who come not to help but to snoop, to be in the know, and to wallow in their own misery.

Over the last decade my mother has made significant progress away from the dour and morose culture of her fellow countrymen and women. And her tolerance for the long faces and “woe is me” attitude is running thin. She is simply not in the mood to suffer fools.

Here is the sign I want to put on the front door:

1 thought on “Managing the Well-Wishers”

  1. I am ready to stand at Maria’s door or answer her phone with, bat in hand, green belt around my waist, and six words, “You are not on the list,” at the drop of a call.

    I love you both.

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