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CancerLynx - we prowl the net
September 24, 2001

Being Mindful
Alexandra Andrews and David R. Bradley
In Memorium, David Bradley
September 11, 2008

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction...
The chain reaction of evil --
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars --
must be broken, or we shall be plunged
into the darkness of annihilation.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have all been touched by the evil of September 11, 2001. Against such horrors, what can we do as individuals? We can be kinder to loved ones, friends, pets and strangers in our daily lives. We can lend a hand to those around us. We can be mindful of simple human needs.

At, of course, our focus is always upon those with cancer and their caregivers, and our suggestions therefore relate to that. But many of these ideas are highly adaptable to other situations.

-- Hard as it can be to get money, it is even harder to get time. If you have any, be assured, someone somewhere needs it. Volunteer at your local cancer center.

-- If nothing else, shut-ins always need drivers, not just for treatments but for shopping, church, errands, who knows? Ask them!

-- Metastatic cancer patients are usually elegible for Social Security. Can you help them apply for this or other services? Can you spend the time to get people from the HMO on the telephone, stand in lines, fill out forms, any of those ordinary activities that are bad enough when one isn't sick?

-- Make home visits more frequently; call or email -- send a postcard. Everyone needs companionship, someone to share their thoughts with, particularly in times of national turmoil, when it may seem that one person's small problems don't count for much, and long-term sufferers may withdraw even more than usual. Go to them.

-- Offer to care for their children. When people are sick and nausous, it is especially hard to care for small children; and even harder to discipline teenagers.

-- Let the children become involved. This is an excellent opportunity to teach the importance of community service. Children can work on toy drives and book drives for children touched by tragedy. This really provides a gift for everyone. But if such things sound too overwhelming, perhaps your kids would still like to play with your friend's children.

-- Who is minding your friend's bills and monthly payments? Such details are often the first to be put aside when feeling low.

-- For that matter, who's feeding that family?

-- If the person who needs your help is a co-worker, discuss alternative ways to rearrange the work schedule so that extra burdens can be shared.

-- Remember, caregivers need time to themselves for their needs, too. Nobody drinks if the well goes dry.

-- Ask others what they would do in your shoes. People are always eager -- well, usually they are -- to offer advice. Give them the chance. It'll make them feel better, and you'll have something to laugh at.

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