While the rest of the world learns to social distance, it’s business as usual for many of our Inheritance of Hope families. There’s nothing quite like a terminal diagnosis or deadly virus to quickly scrap plans and teach necessary health saving measures. For our IoH families, uncertainty is the only certainty, and they understand the disappointment, anxiety, and adaptations that have become routine over these last few weeks. Because we are all in this together, these unwilling experts offer their tips for coping with fear, near-constant change, and the need to quarantine.
Here is what our IoH families have to say:
- Riding this wave of uncertainty is much like riding the roller coaster of having a life-threatening disease. Some days are good, and then the next day is a total let down. Every time you take one step forward, it seems like you take two steps backwards. If you ride that roller coaster without the proper perspective, you will get swallowed up in darkness and despair.
- Putting others first is one of the best ways to refocus. Reach out to seniors--all kinds of seniors--those in high school and college too! Pick up the phone, not to scroll through more news, but to connect with people who might feel especially lonely, vulnerable, or frustrated.
- “Grandma misses seeing us all,” remarked one of our families. “Once we walked her through getting into the Zoom room about 25 times (which gave everyone a good laugh), we enjoyed seeing each other's faces and hearing each other's voices.”
- Ask friends for their favorite music--including inspirational songs---and make a new playlist! One of our moms is adding to her Spotify account each day, and as she listens to new music, she thinks of each friend and prays for their safety.
- Here’s how another mom, who happens to have metastatic breast cancer, keeps her family entertained, “Play music that you like really loud!! Dance and sing and show off. My teen boys think I'm really cool. That's what eye rolling means, right?”
- Create a schedule. Wake up at the same time every day. Shower and dress (even if it's just sweats or yoga pants). Eat meals and snacks at a given time. A schedule gives you some sense of normalcy. And go to bed at your bedtime!
- A dad of three shares, “For me, personally, I really struggle with the stress of our finances. If I let myself focus on our financial instability, I will absolutely lose my mind right now. But, now we also have pure, unadulterated quality time. Our perspective needs to be a sense of gratefulness for the opportunity to spend quality time with our families and really invest in one another. My wife just asked me what we had going on this weekend, and I couldn’t think of one thing! When is the last time I could say that? Never! Our weekends are sometimes busier than our weekdays, which is so backwards. So enjoy the time that we have been afforded, because time is the one thing we can never get back once it is spent.”
- Find joy in your solitude, your kids, your chores, even in the midst of pain. Joy is different from happiness, which is often dependent on circumstances. You can find joy within yourself.
- Keep your hands busy OFF your phone! One family said that making a list of goals to accomplish during this time was helpful, and for them, added a sense of control. They plan to clean out the attic and donate items, and remind themselves of happy memories as they finish up family photo albums.
- “Get outside and watch the leaf unfurl, the frog hop, and hear the birds sing,” advises a mom with metastatic breast cancer.
- A young volunteer, who once relocated with his family while his dad was in treatment, suggests to other kids: “make the most of this time with your family and do things that you normally couldn’t or wouldn’t do.”
- “When I had cancer,” one of our dads remembers, “I felt like I was all alone, and that no one really knew what I was going through. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When times are the hardest, that is when God will do mighty things in us and through us.”
- You will mess up. You will lose your cool and make mistakes. Apologize to those around you, give yourself grace, and pick yourself back up.
- Focus on what you CAN do… as one of our dads with ALS chooses. He and his wife wrote this beautiful description of how to reframe perspective.
And, all our IoH families added, please don’t forget to wash your hands!