So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

Here’s the thing about being sick, it’s not the sick person’s fault. Right? I mean you pay the three million and seven dollars to take the family to Disney World for Christmas and only four minutes into your trip before you’ve exited the monorail, your child vomits, profusely. At first, you tell yourself it’s just a fluke. It’s all the excitement, or travel, or both. But then things start exploding out the other end and their fever spikes to massive and miserable heights. You eyeball your spouse and have a silent conversation. One of you is taking the vomit-covered child back to the hotel for a day of vomit filled wonder. Your child cries. “There, there buddy, it’s not your fault. You didn’t mean to get sick,” you say.

But what if you’re an adult and your illness isn’t so temporary? Is the world still so forgiving? Do loved ones still volunteer to spend their days trapped in a room with you in vomit-filled wonder?

The answer might be no. In fact, the answer might be more like being told, “It’s your fault” everywhere you turn. So often, these folks go to the doctor only to be handed an antidepressant and told, “Lose weight” They pour their breaking hearts out to family and friends only to be told, “Buy this supplement or exercise more.” They go to church looking for support and encouragement only to be told, “Have more faith!” Everywhere they look, the message is the same. This is your fault. You should be doing more.

I’ve often suspected when bad, painful or unexpected things happen in the lives of others, we are tempted to cast blame as a means of control. If we can somehow make this event or series of events the fault of the victim, then we can rest assured these things would never happen to us. After all, we control our own destinies because we eat more nutritious foods, are better with our money, send our children to better schools or what have you.

Our worlds might spin out of control if we accepted the fact that control is an illusion and no matter what steps we take perfection is unobtainable. Sickness may come, tragedy may strike, and devastation may make its way into our lives. And when it does, we’ll need help, not judgment.

And what is helpful for those in your world who are battling illness on a daily basis you might ask?

Here are 5 tangible ways to support the chronically ill in your world:

  1. Play Chauffeur- I am often unable to drive myself to and from my appointments because of treatments I’ll be having at the appointments. This practical act means my husband doesn’t have to take off work to drive me. It also means I get to enjoy your company during what may be an uncomfortable or scary time.
  2. Donate Blood or Plasma- Each month I receive donor antibodies via IVIG infusion because my body doesn’t generate enough on its own. These donors save lives. Their donations are used to treat over two hundred different conditions.
  3. Cook a Meal- I am often too fatigued or in too much pain to cook. And yet, my family still wants to eat! It’s a tremendous blessing when friends fill our freezer with meals or start a meal in the crock-pot.
  4. Clean the House- House cleaning is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only does this mean your chronically ill friend or family member doesn’t have to strain their body by trying to do the cleaning themselves, they also get to enjoy resting in a clean house. Is there anything better?
  5. Be a Babysitter- We often need someone to pick children from school, drive them to afterschool events or to entertain them during my appointments and rather lengthy treatments. Knowing my children are safe and well cared for allows me to put my mind at ease.

The next time someone in your world gets sick, pat them on the back and remind them they didn’t get sick on purpose. Volunteer to spend a day of vomit filled wonder with them if need be, and then start to work on this list. You’ll be the hero we all need.

Stacey Philpot

Stacey is an author, goofball and avid reader. You can find her blog at http://chronicallywhole.com/ where she endeavors to encourage other warriors like herself along in their journey of battling for health and discovering wholeness. She is mom to Hayden and Avery, stepmom to Julie and wife to Ryan (a smarty pants who works at NASA and logs their whole life on spreadsheets and pie charts, true story!) She has a strange affinity for eating whole meals in bed (don’t tell anyone) and is convinced smelling old books will make her smarter.

Not Having My Mom Here Never Stops Hurting

In: Grief
Sad woman

Each phase of life since my mom died has brought different struggles, triumphs, and varieties of emotion. I always knew that grief was lifelong and complicated, however, I definitely underestimated the ways in which it changes as time goes on. I remember the beginning years as survival mode. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through each day until that day had passed and I was on to the next one. It was figuring out who I was and what my life was going to become during this awful new normal. Some days were harder than others and...

Keep Reading

Grief Comes in Waves as Our Mother Nears the End of Her Life

In: Grief, Grown Children
Elderly woman holding young woman's hand

“I think we can all agree that this is not fair.” My sister, Kari, was referring to our elderly mother as she addressed my oldest daughter, Chelsea, and me. Chelsea was holding both of her grandmother’s hands with her own as my mother slept fitfully. My mother was terrified of being alone, and this was pretty much the only way she was able to rest. “There is pain that is physical and pain that is psychic,” she continued, “and one is not worse than the other.” Our mother was in mental pain, and we wanted it to stop. When my...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Who I Was Before My Mom Died

In: Grief
Woman looking out window at home

Life after dealing with death is hard. I’m no longer the person I used to be. I’m motherless. This motherless life is hard. I need time to grieve, but I also need time to find myself again. I need time to mourn the life I’ll never have anymore. I need time to process. I need time to process the fact that my mother is gone. I’ll never have new memories. My kids will never have new memories and people expect us to pick ourselves back up. I can’t pick myself back up quickly after losing my mom. I’m still trying...

Keep Reading

You Are the God of Details, but God These Details Don’t Make Sense

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Window open with shutters

That was not the plan. What just happened in there? We walked out a bit defeated. More than a bit. I felt deflated. Things were supposed to be different by now. This wasn’t what I asked for or expected. This wasn’t even what they told me would happen. We cross the street in silence. Headed to the car and as soon as I shut the car door, I could no longer hold it in. I let the tears flow. All this unknown. I don’t understand. This is life. This is foster care. This is what we chose. That doesn’t make...

Keep Reading

Donating Breastmilk Helped My Heart Heal

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman with packaged breastmilk, color photo

Dear grieving mama, You know when you lose a baby everything changes, but your body moves forward like nothing happened. It carried that tiny baby long enough to trigger a complicated hormonal cocktail that causes your milk to come in so that little life can continue to grow outside you. But your baby is separated from you in a way nature never intended. There will be no baby snuggles. There won’t be a sleepy, smiley, milk-drunk face looking up at you. But your body doesn’t know that, so your breasts swell and keep swelling with milk that has nowhere to...

Keep Reading

I’ll Always Need My Mother but She Left Me Way Too Soon

In: Grief
Family surrounding woman at end of her life

I married my college sweetheart over a decade ago. I want to ask my mom about marriage. I want to ask her about navigating arguments and personality differences. But she left me way too soon. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. My mother had three miscarriages. Her first two were before I was born, and I was her rainbow baby. Her third miscarriage was in the second trimester, after my little brother was born. It devastated her emotionally for several years when I was in elementary school. I want to ask my mom about grief and pregnancy loss. But...

Keep Reading

Have You Sat with the Dying?

In: Grief, Loss
Holding hand at hospital bedside

Have you sat with the dying? Have you seen the loved ones who sit at their bedside night after night, holding their hand? They hold on, afraid to let go, knowing the end is near but so not ready for the last word, the last touch, the last breath of life.  They sit, exhausted beyond exhausted. They know it’s time to let go, but they also wonder how life goes on without them. There was life before them, and there will be life after them, but life after now will never be the same without them.  Have you sat with...

Keep Reading

What Would it Feel Like To Hold Him Today?

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Black and white photo of parents holding toddler

 My breath catches. My heart races. I remember. I remember when they were five and six. When they ran around with my son. I remember now how many years have passed, how long it’s been. I’m watching. Sitting on the outside, peering in. Wondering. Wishing. Tenderly remembering, trying to breathe. One breath. One moment. One day, one minute at a time. The world still spins and time moves on. My other children have grown. But in 10-year-grief, the world stands a bit still. Remembering him. The 5-year-old, toothless smile. Shy hellos to his friends. Missing him. Missing them. Missing that....

Keep Reading

The Mother without a Mother

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman with kite on beach

“How is your mom?” My mother looked at me, waiting for my response. Born in a small town in the middle of Kansas, she genuinely wanted to know the answers to the questions she asked, and more importantly, she listened. I stared back—voiceless. I was holding my infant daughter in my arms, bouncing her up and down in that rhythmic, automatic movement that defines the early years of motherhood. Up. Down. Up. Down. I sped up, frantic almost. “She’s good,” I said. The words came out more as an exhale. I cleared my throat. “My mom is good,” I confirmed....

Keep Reading

What They Don’t Tell You about Child Loss

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Couple on dock by lake

What they don’t tell you about child loss . . .  They don’t tell you that you’ll never be the same—not that you won’t ever feel joy or love the life you have—but that it changes you. They don’t tell you about the countless sleepless nights and the not knowing why, holding your thoughts captive and the guilt that threatens to creep in.  They don’t tell you about the hole that can never be filled or replaced mostly because you never ever want it to. You don’t want it to because you hold space for your child, and you don’t...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.