It’s difficult to know what to say or write to someone who is facing an uncertain future. But the truth is, the future is uncertain for all of us. Facing cancer can feel scary. So, what can be said to bring comfort to a someone who has just received a diagnosis or who is already undergoing treatment?
Cancer has a way of eliminating the unimportant things in life and leaving what matters most—love. So, when you’re trying to come up with the right words, just remember that cancer patients don’t need platitudes. They just need to be surrounded with love, comfort, and well-timed encouragement.
At Spoonful of Comfort, we understand on a personal level the ways cancer can sneak in and turn life upside down. The inspiration for the creation of our company occurred when founder and CEO, Marti Wymer experienced the loss of her own mother from cancer. After experiencing this tragedy, she found herself wanting to bring comfort to others. Spoonful of Comfort works every day to do just that. In honor of all those facing cancer, we’ve developed this article to help you find loving words to be supportive during this difficult time.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Check in with yourself before sitting down to write a message to your friend or loved one. How are you feeling? Getting clear about and working through your own thoughts and emotions is an important first step. This will help you be a force of strength and stability for them. If you’re experiencing intense emotions, try to address them in a constructive way before writing your message. Journaling or talking to a friend or counselor can be helpful. Remember, you need self-care practices during this time, too.
Gain an understanding of your loved one’s diagnosis. If you understand what they’re up against, you’re more prepared to know what to say and do to be helpful. All people, regardless of life circumstances, want to be understood. Ask yourself what you would hope to hear from a loved one if your roles were reversed. The thoughts that arise can help you write a compassionate message.
If you don’t know what to write, it’s okay to say so. Openly acknowledging your lack for the right words is better than accidentally saying something insensitive, which is easy to do when you haven’t experienced cancer yourself.
Words have power. According to an article by Psychology Today, “Words can’t change reality, but they can change how people perceive reality. Words create filters through which people view the world around them.” This is a gentle reminder that nothing you say or write can change your loved one’s diagnosis, but your words can be powerful in shaping the way they choose to view their circumstances. Now for some encouraging words you can experiment with as you write your own message of support.
Message Ideas for Someone with Cancer
The best messages are from the heart—words that have been carefully considered and that help generate positive perspective and emotions.
- I hope each day brings a little more strength, determination, and healing your way.
- I’m sorry you’re going through this. I want you to know I’m cheering you on.
- Cancer begins with “can.” I believe you can do this and I’m here for you.
- I’m so glad you’re a part of my life. I look forward to doing all I can to support you.
- I wish I knew what to say. Please know that I care.
- Every day I’m sending you healing energy with my thoughts and my heart.
- I’m always open to listen. You’re never alone.
- My greatest wish is for you to be well again and I’m going to help you get there.
- This is so hard. I’m inspired by the way you’re fighting so bravely.
- Please let me know how I can help. We’re going to get through this together.
- You are so strong and I’m proud of you.
- Cancer isn’t forever.
- Worrying isn’t helpful, so we’re going to take this one day at a time.
- I’m sure you’re having all kinds of thoughts and feelings right now. I’d love to listen whenever you feel like talking.
- I’d love to spend time with you when you feel like having company.
- I care about you. I hope each day something makes you smile.
Quote to Share with Your Loved One
Over the years, many thoughtful individuals have penned inspiring words that offer hope and encouragement. There’s no shame in using words written by another if they match what’s in your heart. The following are some quotes you may want to share with your loved one.
- “Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” –Ruth Ann Schabacker
- “Cancer cannot cripple love, cannot shatter hope, cannot conquer the spirit.” –Unknown
- “Life is mostly froth and bubble, but two things stand like stone; friendship in another’s trials and courage in your own.” –Princess Diana
- “Cancer is messy and scary. You throw everything at it, but don’t forget to throw love at it. It turns out that might be the best weapon of all.” –Regina Brett
- “One day at a time, one step at a time. Do what you can, do your best. Let God handle the rest.” –Michelle Jones
- “Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” –Unknown
- “I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.” –Rumi
- “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” –Chuang Tzu
- “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as beautiful as you’d ever imagined.” –A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
- “When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.” –Oscar Wilde
- “Don’t count the days. Make the days count.” –Muhammad Ali
- “Keep your face to the sunshine and you can never see the shadow.” –Helen Keller
- “Difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations.” –Kia Wynn
What Not to Say
Knowing what to say is important, but equally important is knowing what NOT to say. We’ve added a few examples of what cancer patients have said are NOT helpful. The following are some phrases to avoid:
- “Best of luck on your journey.”
- “Everything happens for a reason.”
- “What are your odds?”
- “I know how you feel.” (Don’t say this unless you’ve gone through cancer yourself and can empathize through personal experience.)
- “I know someone who passed away from cancer.”
- “I think you should try another treatment.”
- “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
- “This is God’s plan.”
Finding the right words to offer your loved one can always be as simple as saying, “I love you.” When times get hard, these words are irreplaceable and do a wonderful job when the right words are hard to find. We hope you found this article to be a helpful resource for writing a heartfelt message. We wish you an added measure of positivity and strength as you support your loved one during this difficult time.
Your friends at Spoonful of Comfort