People who are unsure of how to react to a loved one’s diagnosis sometimes distance themselves, intentionally or not. This can cause lasting pain and confusion on both sides.
To help clear the air, we asked our readers this question: “If you could say something to a close friend or family member who has pulled away since your diagnosis, what would it be?”
Here are some of their responses:
1. “Don’t be afraid and hide. We’re going to be all right, and we’re going to learn the true meaning of unconditional love and joy together.” — Joyce Cabrera
2. “I don’t hold a grudge. I understand this isn’t for everyone. But if you finally feel ready to be a part of our lives, I’d welcome you like I would anybody. We all make mistakes. This has been a learning experience for me, too.” — Elizabeth Pasten
3. My daughter can’t change her disability, but you can change your perception.” — Gemma Bryan
4. “I’m here if you have questions. It’s OK if you don’t know what to say or do. The door is open, but I’m not going to chase you.” — Heather Schulze Sciacca
5. “I hope you can learn from the experience and be better prepared when the next person in your life has a tough diagnosis.” — Kerith Zaccaria Stull
6. “Don’t be afraid. I will teach you what it is all about.” — Katy Purr
7. “I hope you one day find courage for those who will be in your life.” — Rebecca Marcario
8. “I may be different from your child, but I’m amazing, unique, kind, caring, creative, smart, funny and so much more. Things aren’t always easy, and the journey can be a bumpy one, but the end result is beautiful. I have so much to teach the world, and it starts with you.” — Chloe Rothschild
9. “My daughter loves you no less.” — Shen Mager
10. “I not only want you here, I need you here.” — Melissa Pelitera
11. “I would say nothing because I have not been perfect for everyone who has been diagnosed with something.” — Angela Loeppky
12. “I’m sorry to see you go, but you made realize who my true friends really are.” — Lisa Hayes
13. “I hope someday you will awaken to the beauty and gratitude you have been missing.” — Melanie Perkins McLaughlin
14. “I wish you could look beyond what you see.” — Chris Morrison-States
15. “When you’re ready, I’ll be here. Tomorrow, next week, next year.” — Lynea Kilduff
16. “Welcome to the new normal. I still need you.” — Wayne Kirk
17. “Take a bit of time and patience to remember that no one has changed since the diagnosis. Don’t miss out on my son’s life because it will change yours for the better.” — Victoria Helen Holdsworth
18. “I wouldn’t be quick to write that person off. If I give them a chance, they could end up being one of my kid’s best supporters.” — Ruth Fannin
19. “I love you.” — Josh Hersom
20. “Just because I don’t have time for you like I used to doesn’t mean I don’t still love you. You haven’t been replaced in my life. I miss you.” — Jessie Foster
21. “I forgive you.” — Kate Sytsma
22. “You’re missing out on an amazing little boy and his journey of strength and perseverance.” — Kim Hanner-Calandri
23. “Come on in, the water’s fine!” — Kim Peterson
What would you say to someone who has become distant since you or a loved one received a difficult diagnosis? Let us know in the comments.
*Some responses have been shortened and edited.
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