By Sandra Magsamen, Exclusively for 1-800-Flowers
Everyone gets sick from time to time. Mostly it’s a cold or something minor, but sadly, there are also those times when a serious diagnosis is received. Often we don’t know what to do when someone has an illness; however, we do know that we want to do something that lets our loved one or friend know that we care. We may find it hard to reach out when people are ill, but it is so important that we do. When the people we care about need support and love, finding our own unique and meaningful way to connect is one of the greatest gifts we can give. When people we care about are under the weather, we simply want and need to bring a little sunshine into their lives.
Everyone in my studio knew and loved Jean, who used to answer the phones a few days a week. So when she was diagnosed with lung cancer, we were all saddened and concerned. The days Jean went in for treatments were very difficult for her—she was so scared of the hospital, the needles, the chemotherapy and, of course, the cancer itself. Not knowing what to do, but wanting to let her know we cared, I asked everyone in the studio to make something we could put into a box that might bring a smile to Jean’s face or give her a moment’s peace: A “box of hope.” The studio assistants and I decorated the box and filled it with quotations, drawings, cartoons, life-affirming messages, jokes and thoughts that might occupy her mind during the treatments. The number of things we packed into that box was amazing. Everyone wanted to help. Jean took the box with her on every visit Later, she told us how much she loved the box and looked forward to opening it each time to discover what was inside. Her treatments were still frightening, but now they were also punctuated with many moments of inspiration, love and kindness. Jean found strength, hope, humor and joy hidden within the box and herself. Family, friends and coworkers can join together to share a box of notes, a tin of jokes or a book of favorite quotes to cheer and connect with someone they all care about.