It’s the little things

It is really hard to get bad news and not be able to physically get to the people you love. I was 1500 miles away when my sister Wendi was diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt helpless and knew that nothing I did would be enough if I wasn’t there by her side.

But, what else? I couldn’t really send her some of my wonderful food (they probably had that taken care of anyway). So, I decided to raise the energy from way out here in Colorado. Here are just a few of the things I did – hope this will give you some ideas on what to do on your own.

Buttons. I quickly went out to the internet and searched for a company that could produce those little buttons for people to wear. I created a simple message: We’re Here for Wendi. I ordered 500. Then, I got to work. People asked me about the message —in line at the market, on a flight back east, at work. Everybody who took one had to let me take their picture. A gal at the doggie daycare said, “Can I have one? I donated a kidney to my sister.” THAT one made me tear up. People wanted extras for their dogs — OK, but I have to take their picture! I compiled all the pictures and sent my sister a slideshow of people she didn’t know. I told her, “See? There are people here in Colorado whom you don’t know — but who definitely know YOU.” MY sweet mother wore her button-up until the day she passed away. I still have mine on my badge at work and on my bathroom mirror. Somewhere there are a couple flying around with Southwest flight attendants.

Pocket hearts. As Wendi recuperated at home, I sent her a pocket full of pewter hearts in a small muslin bag. You can go to Amazon and search for “pocket hearts” in pewter or crystal.

Lavender and rose. I went to my local natural food store and bought a bag of dried lavender and dried rose petals. Then, I added them to a small tin and sent them off, instructing Wendi to sprinkle them inside her pillowcase as well as in her sheets. I can still see her smiling.

Sister magnets. One day, a tiny box came to my house. Inside, sister magnets! How cool. Wendi signed a picture of the three of us with lines from the film White Christmas: “Sisters, sisters. There were never such devoted sisters…..” You can buy magnetic stick-on-the-fridge messages on Amazon or in bookstores. Search Amazon for “magnetic poetry” or “words of encouragement.” These little boxes are under $10

Tunes.  We had music in common from growing up in a house full of music — rock ‘n’ roll, show tunes, big band tunes from Mom and Dad. So, I bought a small MP3 player packed with uplifting tunes to keep her upbeat when she received chemo  — I’m Still Standing version by Martha Wash will get even the sleepiest person up and rocking! I also recorded some quiet piano music that I wrote for her and included those tunes on the list. MP players nowadays aren’t that expensive I Found a few on the web for under $10.

Lipgloss. A chemo patient really appreciates this treat. Guys, too. Hey, real men actually like strawberry!

After I sent these goodies along to my sister Wendi, I felt more connected to her. Distance doesn’t matter when it comes to love and sharing.

By Deborah Fox

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