By Karen Smith
If your husband is severely ill, your world may feel like it has been turned upside down. You may feel like you are walking around in a state of shock.
If you have sat beside your husband’s ICU bed and pleaded for God to preserve his life, you may have felt overwhelmed with grief. If you were at your husband’s side in a doctor’s office and listened as the doctor uttered the ugly word cancer, you may have felt devastated.
Maybe it wasn’t cancer but another unforeseeable diagnosis that affected your husband. Severe illness can rock your family’s world, like it has mine. But there is hope and practical help for you to move forward.
I Don’t Know What I Need
People often ask if there is something they can do, and we politely respond, “I don’t know what I need.” It’s not just polite; it’s the truth.
We don’t know what we need. With a severely ill husband, we wives are in function-only mode, doing whatever it takes to keep life moving forward. People are genuine in desiring to help, but you may be at a loss for what to ask.
A suggestion: keep a running list of needs on your phone, so when someone asks, you will have an answer ready. Also, you can always share up-to-the-minute prayer requests with them, since prayer is what we desperately need at all times.
Meal Train Bust
In an effort to show love in the only way they know how, someone begins a meal train for you.
While this is a welcome help on some nights, there are those other nights when a sweet soul drops off a nice warm meal prepared in love and covered in prayer, but it turns out the meal may be something no one in your house likes.
Now, what do you do? Write a thank-you note, tell them how wonderful their meal was, and order pizza.
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of meal delivery, I suspect you have been in this exact same scenario. Don’t feel guilty about it, but also make sure to say thanks no matter what.
Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down Game
How blessed I was to have a friend sit down on my sofa, understanding that asking for help was difficult. However, she also recognized we were in a place where we needed help.
She and I played a game that day. She read a list of possible scenarios, and I gave a thumbs up if it had the potential to be a blessing in my life or a thumbs down if that wouldn’t work for my situation.
Give your own thumbs up or thumbs down to this list:
–Do people investing in the life of your children bless you and your family?
–Would you like monthly check-ins to see what needs to be fixed/maintained around your house?
–Do you need gift cards to fast food places so you can get food on your way to and from a hospital or multiple doctor’s appointments?
–Do you need a gas card to help offset monthly expenses?
–Would a cleaning frenzy be a good idea? It’s when your friends come over once a month, and you clean your house together, with fellowship, fun, and needed accomplishment all at one time.
–Would you like counseling sessions paid for so you can have professional help for you, your spouse, and your children?
–Do you want a night where your friend brings dinner and sits on your sofa with you?
–Do you need someone to do your laundry?
–Do you need help to and from your car when you go to church with your disabled or weak spouse?
These ideas can get you started in considering your unique needs.
Each family and situation is different when a husband is disabled or severely ill. But we all need help and assistance from others. If your friend with a severely ill husband doesn’t know about the thumbs up thumbs down game, give her this list and ask her to play the game with you.
Wife Step: Invite a friend to play the thumbs up thumbs down game with you.
Karen lives in Madison, Alabama with her husband and three children. Karen has served as Preschool and Children’s Pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. Karen now blogs at Glimpses of Faith and Struggles. What started out as a way to communicate medical facts has become a place where Karen uses life experiences to encourage others in their life journey. When she’s not busy caring for her family or writing, you might find her cooking or crafting.