Dear Family: Things you can do for me Without Asking

by Brian English

Friends Don't Let Friends Fight Cancer Alone

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for being there for me. You have no idea just how helpful your support and encouragement has been throughout my ordeal. Your actions have made me feel and appreciate your love in ways that I could never have imagined. I am touched beyond words.

I’m often overwhelmed by all that you’ve given of yourself and your time to help me through this. I cannot believe that you so often offer to do – and to give –
even more.

But you should know that there are some things that I’d appreciate more than I can say – but these are things I cannot bring myself to just come out and ask you to do for me. Most of them are pretty small, but the postive impact they’d have would be bigger than you could possibly imagine. They are the kind of things you can just do without even asking.

I’m not expecting you to put yourself out even more than you already do, but if you or anyone else is ever wondering if there’s something that you can do, here are some things you should know that I’ll always, always appreciate.


I love the company. Just having people I love around me feels good. You’re always welcome. All you need to bring is yourself – and no expectations. As you can imagine, I’m not the best host or hostess these days. I love guests, but don’t expect to be entertained. Just be here with me.

Visiting Cancer Patient At Home

WhatNexter PhillieG writes that, “sure, a pop-in is nice but I don’t want to feel like I have to entertain anyone. I tend to be very quiet when I'm going through rough stuff. I'm not rude but I'm not chatty either.”


Dogs. Cats. Any old pet. The little furry guys make me happy. Studies show they help alleviate stress, and man can I use a little of that.

Therapy Dog

Sue_2015 from WhatNext remembers when one of her nurses brought her pup in for a visit. “She walked around briefly and let anyone pet him and play for a few minutes,” she says. “It sure did make me and almost everyone else smile.”


As you can imagine, I’ve got a lot of things on my mind these days. And sometimes, I just want to get things off my chest. And it helps that someone is there to hear me. So be there for me and just … listen. Let me rant, ramble, and get it all out while you just take it in. Without interrupting. Without judging. And without feeling like you need to respond.

Talking To Your Friend With Cancer


A lot of people may feel that any help you offer needs to be some grand gesture, but nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s the little things. You don’t have to hire a maid service for me. Just pick up some clutter. Clean the dishes. Do a load of laundry. Dust. Walk my dog. Run some errands. Vacuum. There’s a long list of little things I used to do automatically, but I just can’t get around to right now. If you could do a fraction of these things, it would be amazing.

Washing Dishes

“When I was in the throws of chemo,” remembers katiefnp. “My neighbors were so kind to mow my lawn and shovel my driveway. People like them make me want to be a better person.”

Alimccalli writes that “it really is the little things … so thankful for all the people who think of the little things and do them without wanting credit or for any reason than to just help out. God bless them!”

Melanomamama recalls visiting another friend with cancer and “seeing one of the women who was a member of her church out washing her windows for her. What a thoughtful contribution.”


I’m not the only one having a tough time. My loved ones are, too. They’re working over time keeping me on top of treatments and doctors visits while doing their best to stay involved with their own lives and families. It’s not easy for them, and many times I feel that they need more help than I do.

Take Them A Meal

Photo: Take Them a

So rather than taking some time do to something for me – do something for them. Offer to babysit the kids. Or take them to school. Or their soccer game. Whatever you can do to take something off of their plate – or even to put something on their plate by making a lasagna for dinner. Sure, they’ll appreciate it … but it will mean so much more to me.

“The girls at my work when I was doing treatment would bring home a meal for my family to eat,” writes daca1964. “Since I was too sick to feed my family they brought home a supper every night while I was doing treatment. I can't thank them enough … I love my girls.”

Laugh With Me

Funny movies. Stupid memes. Old jokes. Great memories. I need laughs now more than ever. And it feels so good. Especially when I share them with you.

Cancer Is Not Funny

What sorts of things would you like your close family, friends, and caregivers do for you without asking?  Check in at WhatNext,  and let us know!

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