When I was asked to write my experience as a friend to someone managing life with ulcerative colitis and living with an ostomy, I was both excited and intimidated. Excited, because I am so incredibly proud of my best friend’s hard earned success and yet intimidated, because I wasn’t sure that I had anything to say that would actually be helpful. I am not the expert, Caitlin is! Mulling this over is where I found my answer.
Seeing my best friend go through such intense times, emotionally and physically, was hard. I felt helpless and uninformed. I didn’t always know what the “right” thing to do was. And so I just listened. I truly believe that is the best advice that I can give. By listening to Caitlin, I learned about what she was experiencing and I learned what she needed from me. By allowing myself to hear what she was saying and not worrying about what the “right” response was, I was able to be a better friend and support. And so that is the most important advice that I have for anyone wanting to help their loved one through this difficult journey. Listen to your loved one. Let them be the expert. Your presence is enough.
How lovely, I was very lucky to have great friends too, who would still involve you and treat you normally. Well done.