When someone you know or love gets the diagnosis of a serious illness like cancer, they may have a lot to process. You, too, might feel scared and overwhelmed. However, you can help them in a number of ways by not overwhelming them with your own emotions and instead focusing on the practical ways you can offer to help them on this journey.

They may not initially know how or when to accept your generosity. Be patient and remind them your offer is open—so they have one less thing to worry about.

1. Driving. If you’re local, ask if they need help with rides to any appointments. Offer to help pick up their pharmacy needs and groceries. If you’re a responsible driver with reliable transportation, trustworthy, capable…this is a nice way to help.

2. Research. Have great computer skills? Offer to help with research! Once a diagnosis hits there’s a LOT to learn in what can feel like an impossibly short time. Having trustworthy people helping with research (things like specialists, second opinions, insurance participating facilities, treatment options, best books, foods, support groups, rx side effects, tips, etc.) can be a Godsend! Being a virtual helper is invaluable.

3. Babysitting. Offer to help with kids or pets. Who wouldn’t appreciate a respite—even when they are feeling well? Pick up the kids for a few hours. Take them to their activities & lessons. Walk their dog, feed the chickens, scoop their liter boxes.

Our companion animal friends provide invaluable comfort. Your thoughtful assistance in helping to keep them fed/watered/and well so they can do their work for your loved one will be greatly appreciated.

Ask your loved one what’s most pressing and sign up…what regular kid care/pet chores do they need done? Jot a list and see who might want to pitch in. The more hands the better for a pop-up village! One day you might need a pop-up village, too.

4. Food. Ask what they like to eat that’s currently agreeable to them—don’t assume their favorite food is still on the list—illness and medications can change that. Offer to procure or prepare something for them. Drop off fresh groceries or meals to them during their hardest week(s). See who else might sign up. Use food research to select their favorite alkaline food choices with them. Good food is fuel, vital to recovery.

5. Chores. Housework, laundry, trash, dishes, organizing—these things always need to get done and someone who’s ill isn’t typically up for it. Yet everyone feels better when the house is clean, laundry is folded and the sheets are fresh!

Your loved one may not be medically cleared for doing the most basic tasks right after a surgery or treatment. So, while they work to regain and establish normalcy, help with the basic chores is essential.

Even seasonal chores, things like: lawn care, snow removal, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, dealing with holiday decorations, etc. can get neglected — volunteering opportunities abound!

6. Scribe. Offer to be their scribe, helping with paperwork, juggling forms or insurance calls. Not everyone has family (or family who is helpful) so if you’re organized, patient, and respectful, this could be a good fit.

Offering to write down information or answers to questions at appointments can be important assistance to an overwhelmed patient. Ask your loved one how active they want you to be during doctor visits? Is it ok for you to chime in when something isn’t clear?

7. Humor. Humor is healing! Always be kind, never mean. Slapstick, irony, comical…yes, yes, & yes! Laughter lifts the soul. It infuses the lungs and tissues with oxygen and aids the body in clearing energy. It raises our soul vibration.

Humor brings healing and Light.

Laughing is healing, so laugh with your loved one whenever you can, then laugh some more! Cancer is serious. However, you can certainly find humor in all the adjacent moments. Bring levity forth whenever possible.

8. Pray. What can prayer do? Plenty! Worldwide studies show that regardless of things like religion and beliefs, praying for someone has proven benefits.

Simply send good thoughts, or ask the God of your understanding for help, wellness and healing for your loved one. You can also visualize them as shining brightly, encircled in a glowing Light or ray — healed, with successful outcomes; safely past this bump in the road.

Or you can phone your loved one and say a prayer from your heart directly to them.

9. Wabi Sabi. Wabi Sabi = perfectly imperfect. Cancer is a triggering word and diagnosis that may loosen many perfectly imperfect states of being. Suspend judgement. Relax your expectations. Your loved one will appreciate your supportive space to be their Wabi Sabi selves: emotional, messy, up, down, strong, weak, angry, grateful, overwhelmed, stoic, withdrawn, extroverted, tired, wired, inspired…you get the picture.

Loved ones battling illness need to worry more about themselves—and less about others for a while. This can be simultaneously uncomfortable, guilt evoking, frustrating, liberating, freeing, and messy to name but a few.

For the fortunate, healing from cancer may involve humbling self-care hurdles.

Your loved ones ‘normal’ will shift—whether temporarily or long term. The grace of your understanding, patience, and willingness during this Wabi Sabi time is priceless.

10. Source. Not local to your loved one? There’s plenty you can source for them online in today’s techno blue world!

It’s never been easier to find local services online that you can arrange long distance. For instance, from drivers who will drive your loved one’s car to appointments with them and become part of their regular team, to finding housekeepers, pet sitters, groceries, or handy helpers.

In lieu of flowers, hire a professional healer to send distance energy healing! Energy healers use their trained skills to work over long distances and help to lesson healing times, shorten side effects from anesthesia recovery, reduce the need for pain medications and more.

11. ASK. Whenever your loved one sounds stressed and you feel helpless, ask ‘what do you need most from me right now?’ or ‘what would be most helpful right now?’

If they don’t know, tell them it’s okay — you’re there for them —when they think of something, it’s your joy to assist them.

Ask your loved one how they feel about the situation, don’t assume.

12. Listen. Practice good listening. It’s about the patient. Be supportive. Give them space to unpack what they are going thru and don’t put your stuff on them. Let them be selfish for a while.

Let them find their silver linings reflected in your loving support. These journeys are not just about a single wayward cell that went rogue or an autoimmune system that hiccupped & stumbled…we are here to learn and to grow. Sometimes the best lessons are hiding in the most painful, Godawful, strangest places. Let the patient unpack it.

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Remember, cancer is a journey; even for those lucky enough to not need chemo or radiation. The scarring effects of surgery whether physical, mental, psychological, physiological, emotional, financial…continue months, years, decades later…forever woven into the tapestry of us.

If your initial offer to help is declined, don’t take it personally. Step up to the plate and offer again with willingness to be there in whatever ways you can.

That’s how we hold hands and travel this ancient journey together.

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Laura Scott is an award-winning Channel for Healing, Psychic & Author. She reads exclusively by phone for clients around the world & does distance healing & clearing work globally. Contact her office for assistance in getting on her schedule!