I read Hope's book, Help Me Live, as though I had a loving sister on my shoulder, murmuring in my ear that what I have to offer is enough: Just slow down, listen and be kind. Hope draws from her experiences as a caregiver and patient to offer 20 clearly stated, manageable ideas to keep in mind around illness.
Hope's humor and acceptance permeate the book. While my eyes filled with tears as I read the book, it was not from despair, fear or anxiety; rather, I was moved by the touching simple acts and stories she offered. So open is Hope in exploring her own experiences with us that she tells us when she felt she got it all wrong and had to apologize and try again.
In addition to the 20 main things people with cancer want us to know, the book addresses serious issues such as how to talk to children about cancer, how to handle difficult feelings, how to interact with your doctor, and even the funny movies she has enjoyed. It is a book that addresses those moments when we want to get it "right" with our friends and loved ones and we know they are more vulnerable, and perhaps more needy than usual.
Reading the book made me feel that the next time I hear a friend is ill, I will have a better sense of how to help, listen, and be conscious of what I am saying.
By Susan Halpern, CSW, author of The Etiquette of Illness
Causes Lori Hope Supports
The Beverly Fund
The Lung Cancer Alliance
Women's Cancer Resource Center
The National Lung Cancer Partnership
The Bonnie Addario...