Too much of a Good Thing

Our household was lovingly kept afloat by the kindness of neighbors who brought dinners, drove the kids to school, even picked up our clothing at the dry cleaners. I can’t say enough what a difference this made. The people who extended themselves (some of whom I don’t even know) will forever hold a place in my heart.

But there were also times we needed not to be a community project and for people not to assume we wanted or needed their well-intentioned, but sometimes misguided attention.

If people in your community want to help by raising funds, bringing food or anything else, make sure they know what you do and do not want. It’s better for you and better for them. Caring neighbors may be happy to help, but like everyone, do not want their time or kind sentiments to be wasted or worse, an intrusion.

Let trusted friends serve as gatekeepers and manage the flow of information out of your house and the flow of food in. And be very clear at the outset that nobody is authorized to use your story, your photo, your child in connection with fundraising or other activities without your explicit approval.

Managing others can be a daunting task especially when an illness is prolonged. Be kind, be grateful, be firm. And if the clothes stay an extra day at the cleaners or you have cold pizza for dinner, everyone will be just fine.

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