Happiness is: Eating a Corn Dog in the Park

By Maureen DeGarmo

Recently, I had a visit with a long-time friend, whose mother lives in a nearby residential care home. My friend asked her mom if she would like to go out for a steak dinner for Mother’s Day, as they had done last year. Strangely, her mother said no, she wanted a corn dog. So, my friend and her husband picked up Mom and drove to a park. They sat in the car, ate corn dogs, enjoyed the sunshine and had a visit. It was exactly what Mom wanted, and she was content with how they celebrated Mother’s Day.

My friend was surprised that her mom didn’t want something more festive, but perfectly happy to support her Mom in a way that made her happy.

Once in a while, I feel like I am preaching to the choir in sharing my experiences with illness. Today is one of those occasions. The people who read this newsletter and know how to support their fellow Illness Warriors are most likely those who have been through a similar experience. Those who don’t know will probably never see this post and not even know to look for it.

It can be difficult to express to those around us which type of support works best or what diversion would help to brighten our day. Here are some tips to communicate your needs.

  1. Be clear in what you need.
  2. Speak (or write) in short, factual sentences.
  3. Leave the emotion out of the equation.
  4. Offer ideas for support, and let your friend choose what works for her.
  5. Use a neutral method, such as a website. Check the Illness Warriors Resource Page for some options (look in the Meal Planning section).

Sometimes our friends want to help but don’t know how. If they haven’t experienced a traumatic illness or injury, then they might not know that something as simple as a corn dog can be the key to happiness.

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