CaringBridge users confirm what Ryan O’Neal said to Ali MacGraw all those years ago: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” (Readers born after 1970 can catch “Love Story” on Netflix.) While it’s a reflex to respond to news of a cancer diagnosis, stroke, illness, injury or any health crisis with an automatic, “I’m so sorry,” patients and caregivers on the receiving end of these words may wish for something less automatic and more hopeful.
‘I’m So Sorry’ Can Feel Discouraging
CaringBridge author Susan Miller, whose partner, Cyteria Knight, continues healing after a brain aneurysm and stroke, said, “I appreciate everyone’s comments, but when I read, ‘I’m so sorry,’ so many times, it can feel a little discouraging.” In general, messages that make patients and caregivers feel less isolated mean the most. That’s the essence of social support … helping people stay connected at a time they feel very disconnected from normal life.
6 Positive Expressions of Support
Here is a selection of comments recommended by CaringBridge users that expresses support simply, without defaulting to the over-used response of “I’m sorry:”
- “This stinks.”
- “I wish things were going better.”
- “This must be hard news for you to share.”
- “I wish this was not happening to you.”
- “When do you see yourself clear for coffee? Or wine?”
- “I love you.”
An Important Note …
The worst thing to write or say to patients and caregivers is nothing at all. So if an “I’m sorry” slips out, it’s OK. In the “Comment” section directly below, please feel free to add to the list of positive expressions of support.
Start a CaringBridge Website
Are you or a loved one caring for someone on a health journey? If so, start a CaringBridge website, where you can share updates and receive encouragement and support from your family and friends.