I know you all want to help. Every day, many times every day, people lament to me that they feel as if they’re just not doing enough. You beg for tasks needing completion or take my packages to the post office when you weren’t really planning on going (despite saying you were). You go quietly to my third floor to wrap my Christmas presents or bake Braedan a beautifully decorated basketball cake.  You send cards and food, well-wishes and hand crafted stars from all across the country.

It is all lovely and it makes us feel loved. It does not, however, change what is happening. Nothing that any of you can do or send or bake or buy can change what is happening. You certainly make it easier, don’t get me wrong. And it is definitely appreciated. You make our lives more manageable and less stressful by providing us with our basic needs and many many of our not-so-basic needs. And I know, because I too have watched families go through this struggle, that it makes you feel better to help in some small way.

The small way that helps me the most is the words that you give me in return for the words that I give you. I read every email message and Facebook comment and blog comment you write, often many times over. You preface your words by saying you fear they’re not enough or you hope you don’t say the wrong thing or you wish you could do more. But those small tokens of love and encouragement, hope and support and well-placed (and much-needed) humor are enough.

Please know that I take your words and I carefully wrap them up and store them within me. And then I pull them out right when I need them most and they give me strength. Which, in turn, gives us all strength.