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Let's Discuss...Empathy vs Sympathy
Let’s Discuss…Empathy vs Sympathy
Take a moment to watch the following short video:
 
 

Please share your thoughts and experiences with empathy vs sympathy. Describe a time you felt heard and understood. What did you find most helpful?
 
32 Replies
Lisajo
91 Posts
This is an important topic. The world needs more people who can be empathetic. It's been a rough year since Brian died. Mostly the outside world gave me sympathy. My adult kids and my therapist were the ones who were able to empathize. I'd get a glimmer from some friends, but it was brief. Empathy is a skill, it takes time and it takes energy. Most people are in short supply of those. As a result, I think very hard about interacting with people. Will they make me feel worse? Will anyone try to make a real connection with me? Or will I go home crying? I used to make excuses for these people. But now I avoid them. For whatever reason, they just can't do it. I am nurturing my inner strengths to be able to handle these consistent pains. My grief protects me and tells me to be still. The pressure to be 'normal' again is awful. Fortunately I'vr had some stretches of good feelings in the last month. But I find that an uncaring, s'ympathetic' remark can shatter me quite easily. I have aged a decade. 
Lisa
Barney
29 Posts
I agree with everything said in the video. The "silver lining" thought does not help if the black cloud remains. I'm not much good with empathy but at least I try to not say the wrong things. As they say "it's the connection that makes a difference". Thanks for the thoughts.
Barney
ashcon
1851 Posts
I love ♥️ this video! 

I felt a lovely wave of empathy from my cancer centre's social worker during one of my appointments with her:   I was getting one piece of bad news after another regarding my diagnosis. I was bawling in her office one day when I told her how afraid I was of dying, especially about leaving my daughters without their mom. 
She simply said "if that comes to be, we will deal with this together and I am here for your daughters too." 

Those simple words lifted my spirits so much. I realized that I was not alone and this gave me the strength I needed to carry on. 

Conversely, when I told others of these same fears, I often heard "oh, that must be so difficult for you. Have you talked with your daughters about this?" 
This made me feel that the onus was on me to get through this. That I was on my own. 

So for me, the difference between empathy and sympathy meant knowing that someone had my back and would help me out with what was of high value to me - my daughters' wellbeing. 

Lisajo‍  I like what you said about thinking very hard about interacting with people.  When you go through something as traumatic as cancer, or losing a loved one, you really become attuned and intentional in your relationships,  yes? 
I also like what you said about your grief protecting you; telling you to be still. 
It sounds like you are very much in touch with what you inherently know to be right for your healing. 
 
Happyone4
11 Posts
I think people in general at times  are scared to be Empathic.  Meaning like in the video when the ladder is lowered and you get to the same level as the person needing support~ the person who is to be Empathic loses sight that the ladder is still there and instead thinks they must remain there with the person forever and that is just not so.  Once you give Empathy more than often than not with in a few minutes the person needing the empathy is following you back up the ladder feeling some what better ready to go fight there battles and feels supported.  

Empathy is a very simple gesture and should be embraced more.  For me I find I do this well for others but remain working on doing it for myself.  The more I give myself Empathy (and stop continually looking for it from others) the happier and self soothed I am.  Again simple but not always the easiest thing to do.
ACH2015
1999 Posts
Empathy comes from the heart, and is that intangible comforting feeling from that connection. Sympathy comes in a card, without connection, or follow up, or even a sandwich most times.

I've received lots of sympathy, and very little empathy. I don't really need or seek either, but there is a truly deep appreciation and reciprocation when that empathetic connection is made. And you remember those people and moments when that connection happens. Rare, worth having and keeping.

ACH2015
Pickles
18 Posts
What can I say to that?

It beautifully represents what going through cancer is like and how empathy helps one get through it.

Just now, I received a call from a friend whose husband is dying after over 20 years of a Parkinson's journey.  All I said to my girlfriend is, "I am so sorry.  Is there anything I can do to help you?"

It is always about putting oneself in that person's place, and trying to feel what that person is going through.

When I was first diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in the fall of 2017, my friends and family were separated into two distinct groups.  There were the sympathetic friends and family who would say things like "oh, my sister-in-law has been fighting lymphoma for years.  This is what you should do."  Or my brother-in-law's partner who said, "well, we have two girlfriends who had breast cancer and they paid for their chemo out of pocket so they would not lose their hair."  Neither of these comments were helpful and certainly NOT empathetic.

To protect myself, I chose to surround myself with people who were empathetic and left those who thought they were being sympathetic off to the side.

What that step did was those who were on my team were amazingly supportive, boosted me when I was struggling (which was very rare) and would assist in any way they could.  I felt cared for and I still am so thankful for all those souls who were right behind me with their kindness and support.

The laughter I shared with these amazing friends and family wad valued.
 
WesT
884 Posts
That video is sooooo appropriate.  I had some people give me empathy and that was helpful.  Some of those people couldn't directly relate to cancer but they empathized and that truly helped me through my journey along with those that could relate through personal experience.. 

On the other hand I had a couple of close friends say "At least it is JUST prostate cancer".  That wasn't offensive but it carried a feeling of uncaring.  I don't think it was meant that way but that is how my twisted and clouded mind took it at the time.  For whatever reason those close friends are no longer as close as they were before I told them....
Sympathy-When I was first diagnosed with cancer, and was scheduled for chemo, there was this flurry of offers of help and support.
Once chemo was over and it was determined that there was nothing else to be done folks thought that I didn't have cancer anymore and the attention stopped.
I take great pains to not look ill.  When I lost my hair I wore fabulously wrapped head scarves that folks thought were fashion statements or a great wig that matched my hair at the time. 
Empathy-After chemo I disclosed to a few folks about my disease and was surprised to find that many were either cancer survivors or, like me, living with cancer.
I don't hide the fact that I am living well with cancer, but I haven't announced it widely either.
I have found that most people who have genuine interaction with chronic diseases usually get it.  But I have heard people say some of the most Jackhol-ish things in response to hearing folks have cancer. I forgive them, but I will say something sharp such as "and what exactly do you mean by that" or "and that information is supposed to help me how?"
Literally, noone gets out alive and very few of us are unscathed by some disease or other.  As far as I'm concerned, it all boils down to kindness. Sympathy or empathy is often just offering an ear without offering a solution.
 
Lisa Cohen
5 Posts
Wow that short film was amazing.  Ive received sympathy from a lot of people and it really is so degrading.  Empathy is truly a blessing when given to someone.  We don't have to have the answers but if the person were expressing ourselves to knows that we are there despite their circumstances and that we come as an open book it is soo much more rewarding for everyone involved.  Sympathy nearly ruined my relationship with my aunt who is a fundamental part of my life, so once she changed her response to me to be out of empathy the tension has disappeared because the one giving the empathy remains humble in their approach.  What a great topic to discuss because cancer can really challenge everyone. 
I suspect that I'm going to raise more questions than answers. My thinking about this started the other day with reading an article in Fast Company - an entrepreneurial business magazine. Called "Inside the Big Messy Business of Empathy" (https://www.fastcompany.com/90461985/inside-the-big-messy-business-of-empathy) it's a thought provoking read. It got me thinking about how important empathy is to us as cancer patients.

I came away from the article thinking that empathy is the "next big thing" in the business world. Very clearly there are formulas that can be applied. And that gold standard in business - it can even be measured. Yes folks, there is an Empathy Index. But I suspect that the picture is a lot murkier than that. Reading some of the other responses here, I see stories emerging that illustrate that as hard as empathy is to define, we know it when we see it. As patients we want empathy. Whether it is our doctor or our supporters or our friends we crave that attention that says we are understood and supported.

Comparing the definitions of sympathy and empathy we find they both start with sharing feelings. The difference is that sympathy shares the feelings leading to pity and sorrow. Empathy is shares feelings but they lead to understanding.

On learning of my lung cancer many people respond with "Oh I'm so sorry." Really? What are you sorry about? That shortly you will be deprived of the pleasure of my presence? That my great contribution to life will come to a premature end? Or that you will have to go to yet another funeral? I feel pitied even though there is genuine sorrow.

When I talk with my metastatic friends there is a whole different feel to the conversation. Sometimes it's a downright morbid curiosity. Saying that I have an ache in my shoulder, they know that my fear is that cancer has spread. Some other friends listen carefully, ask questions, and patiently come to understand those fears. These are the friends that I identify as being empathetic. "Walk a mile in my moccasins" as my friends in the North used to say and then you have understanding.  It is not easy. Lisajo‍ and Happyone4‍ both identified that it is hard work.

Because there is a distance. They do not have this disease. However there are things that they can do for us that others can't. ACH2015‍  with his driving, friends that bring meals, other random acts of kindness. They don't do this because they pity us but because they know we are trying to live our best life and right now we don't have the energy. We are dangerous behind the wheel. Man cannot live on KD alone. They understand but aren't crippled by it. I love the continuous references in the video to "connection." I dare say though that the connection has to lead to action. And specific action.

One of my wife's last meals was an incredible meal prepared by a neighbor and good friend. His wife wasn't home so I know he cooked it himself. And the lengths that he went to deliver it piping hot. Who knew fish and potatoes could taste so good. The blessing and the joy that meal brought brings tears to my eyes even now. I didn't even know we needed it though we had talked about the difficulty Yvette was having in eating and that my son was visiting and I was working hard trying to clean up the house. He understood and it led to very specific action.

As ashcon‍  said empathy doesn't leave us feeling alone. Sympathy I think does. Having travelling companions makes this journey so much more bearable.

Angus
So I watched the video and it is so true. When I was still off receiving treatment and recovering from surgery, I stopped in to work to send off some medical forms to my insurance company. I had a manager ask exactly what kind of cancer I had. She said that one of her friends also had the same kind and she made it sound like it was not big deal. The difference was that my type was rare and her friends wasn't and it was like she just brushed off that I had cancer. I too, like some others tried to look my best, and not let people see my pain or fatigue, and they figured that again it was no big deal that I was going through cancer surgery and treatment. Yes in the beginning when diagnosed there was all the sympathy and offer of help, but sadly nothing ever came of it. I did receive empathy from one friend in particular. She never made light of the fact that I had cancer and she always, and I mean always checked in to see how I was doing. I appreciated her weekly phone calls. I guess it just depends on the person you are dealing with and how they respond to you having cancer. Take care and be well.

Mistiquewolf
For me, empathy is an exchange between two people that creates an inner warmth for both the giver and the receiver. It's a connection that creates some kind of bond. Once you have experienced empathy, you will remember that feeling and that same feeling will come back to you in time of need. Empathy requires effort...physical, mental and emotional, which may help to explain why empathy is less prevalent than sympathy.  To empathize with someone, you need the emotional maturity to deal with the emotions of the other person as well as your own emotional response. You have to be able to look outside yourself and at least put on the other person's shoes even if you can't walk a mile. Not having had the same experience does not mean you can't be empathetic;  it just may mean you have to work a little harder to better understand how the other person feels. In fact, you don't have to understand, you just need to be able to feel. There is no judgement about whether or not what the other person is feeling is right. Empathy is acceptance.

To me, empathy is one step above sympathy. Some people can say they are sorry to hear about an illness, but only certain people will go to the next level and actually "feel" for the other person. Someone who shows empathy will reach out to the other person so that both giver and receiver are on the same step. 

People who are empathetic are truly special and can be unexpected treasures. 

This video does a great job of comparing sympathy and empathy. Sometimes a sandwich just isn't enough. 

cancertakesflight
Wendy Tea
1637 Posts
Sympathy.  I am so sorry!

Empathy.  How can I help? I am here to listen. I am here to support you. 
Wendy Tea
1637 Posts
Sympathy. My friend has that and they're fine. You will be too. Stop complaining. 

Empathy. Tell me how that feels.  What are you most afraid of? Oh, me too! 
Notdeadyet
19 Posts
This is the reason I told only a few people and swore my bosses to silence. I needed all my own emotional and physical resources for me. I did not need to convince, take care of, comfort, explain. I walk this journey alone. It is my journey. My body. My grief. My recovery. My responsibility. Those who love me walk beside me. They do not stand in my way. They say little but feel much. They honor my choices. They know that opinions are about themselves. This may not be everyone's choice. It is my road and I walk it with pragmatism,humor and humility. In fact I seek out those who can laugh with me. I need laughter. Sympathy not so much.
KMitts
10 Posts
I've gotten a fair amount of sympathy with my husband's diagnosis; one thing that Brene doesn't mention is the old "oh he'll pull through" flippant response. No one can promise me my husband is going to survive stage 4 cancer because he's strong and young and that I'm not going to be a single parent with two kids. I did receive a welcomed moment of empathy when someone recognized how overwhelmed I was, not because of the diagnosis, but because I feel like I am failing at everything; that I am being stretched so thin, there's not much energy left for me. She didn't make me feel selfish for thinking about myself and showed so much compassion. I still think of that moment when I feel alone. 
KMitts
10 Posts

cancertakesflight:
For me, empathy is an exchange between two people that creates an inner warmth for both the giver and the receiver. It's a connection that creates some kind of bond. Once you have experienced empathy, you will remember that feeling and that same feeling will come back to you in time of need. Empathy requires effort...physical, mental and emotional, which may help to explain why empathy is less prevalent than sympathy.  To empathize with someone, you need the emotional maturity to deal with the emotions of the other person as well as your own emotional response. You have to be able to look outside yourself and at least put on the other person's shoes even if you can't walk a mile. Not having had the same experience does not mean you can't be empathetic;  it just may mean you have to work a little harder to better understand how the other person feels. In fact, you don't have to understand, you just need to be able to feel. There is no judgement about whether or not what the other person is feeling is right. Empathy is acceptance.

To me, empathy is one step above sympathy. Some people can say they are sorry to hear about an illness, but only certain people will go to the next level and actually "feel" for the other person. Someone who shows empathy will reach out to the other person so that both giver and receiver are on the same step. 

People who are empathetic are truly special and can be unexpected treasures. 

This video does a great job of comparing sympathy and empathy. Sometimes a sandwich just isn't enough. 

cancertakesflight

Well said!
Helentess
19 Posts
Sympathy
When I was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018, my friends and family were supportive and offered help and support to me and my spouse. However, when my cancer recurred within a few months in 2019, most of those same people assumed that I would survive the chemotherapy and cancer as I did before. So they did not offer anything except that “it was too bad the cancer back”.
I did not tell everyone, but only told a select few friends about my cancer coming back. Because last time, some of those so-called-friends made me a topic of gossip at the “Happy Hour” gatherings during the summer months that I could not attend because of my being sick from chemotherapy side effects. Even to point to the point of making jokes about me being bald, walking with a cane and not drinking with them. I was not one of the party people anymore and an open target for jokes. I did not tell any of those people that my cancer came back. I was so hurt, disappointed, and angry about how they treated me about my cancer the first time.
Of all the people that I told about my cancer recurrence in Oct 2019 , I did not hear from most of them again until Christmas. No phone calls, texts, emails, nothing from them to even check if I was still alive. I always made the first step to contact them. Even then they shunned me by offering excuses not to see me for a visit, meet for lunch, etc. After I saw those friends at Christmas, it was the same no contact. It’s mid-February and none of them has phoned, texted, or emailed or tried to make contact. I tried engaging some of them in January, but they always have convenient excuses. So I stopped trying. This time it’s just me and my spouse and a couple of close friends who are also going through cancer/chemo at the same time, although different cancers.
So my point is that some people were sympathetic to my cancer for the first time. But not for the second time. “Been there, done that. Give us a call when cancer is over.” It’s like sympathy can only be offered once for the same reason. There is a limit on sympathy. It’s no joke. I actually had one person say to call them once I finished my chemo and the cancer was gone, and until then they would be out of the picture. They just could not deal with me having cancer again. It was just “too much for them to handle.”
Empathy
When I told people (who have cancer themselves) about my cancer, those people had a genuine understanding. They listened and understood my concerns and feelings. When I talk with my cancer friends, it is a different type of conversation. We don’t feel sorry or pity one another, but talk openly about the cancer and our future – good or bad. We discuss symptoms, treatments, side effects and even fears of dying. Empathy doesn't leave us feeling alone.
 
Brighty
6446 Posts
Helentess‍ ..... wow!!!! My jaw dropped  when I read your post.   People that cruel  really exist    in this world.!!!!! ..  don't even know what to say.       Wait until they need people  to rally  around them for support.       
Notdeadyet‍ I love your name and the fact that you look for the humour ib things. I did the same thing and got annoyed when people assumed they knew how I felt and offered their sympathy. That was probably my biggest pet peeve.

KMitts‍ I know what you mean about poo-poo syndrome. My term not yours. Empathy can't exist when someone poo-poos your diagnosis to make it seem less important than it is. It's the feelings that go with the diagnosis and their possible attempt to make you feel better actually makes you feel worse.

Thanks for sharing. 

cancertakesflight 
Notdeadyet
19 Posts
CancerTakesflight, and the thing is I have always made fun of our human experiences and find humor in just being a woman. My cancer jokes are always about my experience and never unkind and truely hilarious but WHOA CANCER can't be funny ?  While I live and breathe I will laugh or l will cry. Usually it's both!
SpeedyStill
565 Posts
I have read all the posts in this discussion and it has reinforced my own take on Empathy and Sympathy.
For me it is a lack of proper education on human feelings and how to approach them.
The school system did not teach me in fact I can't remember ever being taught the difference.
When someone is sick or if someone passes, what do we do? We send them a Sympathy Card. Nobody sends an Empathy card.
The automatic response, so sorry to hear that. You know I had a friend who survived that, you will be fine.
So sorry for your loss, he/she was a good person.
Who was the person saying these word? I confess it was me.
The person who can't understand his friends and families responses.
What do we do? We have to say we are sorry and then we have to try and make the person feel better. I guess this is what I was taught.
Since the start of my Cancer journey in 2010 I have been looking for that empathetic response that just doesn't seem to be there.
When I joined the Cancer Community only then did I feel the empathic responses.
Exceptions
There are special people in my immediate family who were good listeners and very supportive.
This waned over time which I guess is understandable.
There was a Psychologist at the Cancer Center who saw me after every treatment who was very empathetic. I had a true feeling that she understood what I was going through. 
Unfortunately these meeting stopped after my last treatment.
It's the falling off the cliff feeling that some people get after they are stamped full remission or Cancer Free.
This is one thing that I have had trouble with and that is my expectancy and reality.
Great discussion, could add more but I will end it here
Speedystill 
 
I have points of view all over the place here.

My best supporters other than my DH:), were friends who were trained as therapists or mentors, with a few friends and relatives of people with cancer.

i must admit years ago that I had a friend who had two lumpectomies. I tried to support her. I said she could call to talk. I was nervous calling her but my other friend insisted. I sent her one dvd that she liked and one she hated and mocked, Then I sent a book on self compassion which I hoped she would discuss with me. She said my book written by a Harvard clinical professor was stupid. I think she thought it was a Pollyanna book but a good bit of it was neuroscience and self compassion. I sent the book because I was struggling and I really liked it. I wasn’t demanding that she read it or like it. In any case she insulted me, belittled and rejected our decades long friendship.

i believe a combination of horrors and change of medication to Effexor and Wellbutrin made her aggressive, but I would guess now, so much fear And loss of control went into it, and as she said  some party I hadn’t invited her to when I was 14. Seems over the top to end a friendship for that, so it’s the emotions bubbling up.

I would say, have some empathy for the people you tell that are not skilled therapists. It will help you as well. There is really no perfect one size fits all statement, though we are taught to say I’m sorry.
We aren’t prepared and they aren’t.

Keep your friends , if you can. Think of what they do well. Sure, it’s not time to waste it with bad fits.

Making new friends.
 
Cynthia Mac
3074 Posts
Helentess‍ , My theory about some of what you’ve experienced with people such has you’ve encountered is that sometimes, a cancer diagnosis helps us to see people for what they really are. (I intentionally didn’t say “who they are.”)

I think that, sometimes, it’s ok to give ourselves permission to send those people “back out into the universe” so that there is more room in our life for the people who will serve us better - the health care team, the people at the support groups, etc.

I am sorry, though, that the people in your experience took the topic of your cancer to such a base level. 

Regarding the people who have “abandoned you,” may I say that you deserve better. Over the years, I used to be one of those people who was always making the phone call, and at some point, I decided to go a few months and just not reach out. I concluded that if those people were supposed to be part of my life, they would get in touch, and if not, it freed me up to spend time with those who did check in from time to time. Fast forward a decade or two, I now have a network of people who exchanges our “getting in touch.” I’ve found that, as a result, our conversations are more balanced, and feel as though the people in my life today genuinely care about my well-being.

SpeedyStill‍ , as I read your post, I was reminded of the character Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory. His awkward inability to show empathy was, in a way, one of the most endearing reasons to watch the show. He couldn’t offer the comfort of “a hot beverage” without explaining that he was offering it as a means of providing comfort, at the same time making it clear that he didn’t know how to relate on a different level.

Picasso’s mannequin‍ , you raise a point, too, that we don’t often encounter here on the site - one where the patient is the one who struggles with the empathy coming their way. 
Clarke
30 Posts
What a great explanation of the two!
thank you😀
Clarke 

Helentess:
Sympathy
When I was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018, my friends and family were supportive and offered help and support to me and my spouse. However, when my cancer recurred within a few months in 2019, most of those same people assumed that I would survive the chemotherapy and cancer as I did before. So they did not offer anything except that “it was too bad the cancer back”.
I did not tell everyone, but only told a select few friends about my cancer coming back. Because last time, some of those so-called-friends made me a topic of gossip at the “Happy Hour” gatherings during the summer months that I could not attend because of my being sick from chemotherapy side effects. Even to point to the point of making jokes about me being bald, walking with a cane and not drinking with them. I was not one of the party people anymore and an open target for jokes. I did not tell any of those people that my cancer came back. I was so hurt, disappointed, and angry about how they treated me about my cancer the first time.
Of all the people that I told about my cancer recurrence in Oct 2019 , I did not hear from most of them again until Christmas. No phone calls, texts, emails, nothing from them to even check if I was still alive. I always made the first step to contact them. Even then they shunned me by offering excuses not to see me for a visit, meet for lunch, etc. After I saw those friends at Christmas, it was the same no contact. It’s mid-February and none of them has phoned, texted, or emailed or tried to make contact. I tried engaging some of them in January, but they always have convenient excuses. So I stopped trying. This time it’s just me and my spouse and a couple of close friends who are also going through cancer/chemo at the same time, although different cancers.
So my point is that some people were sympathetic to my cancer for the first time. But not for the second time. “Been there, done that. Give us a call when cancer is over.” It’s like sympathy can only be offered once for the same reason. There is a limit on sympathy. It’s no joke. I actually had one person say to call them once I finished my chemo and the cancer was gone, and until then they would be out of the picture. They just could not deal with me having cancer again. It was just “too much for them to handle.”
Empathy
When I told people (who have cancer themselves) about my cancer, those people had a genuine understanding. They listened and understood my concerns and feelings. When I talk with my cancer friends, it is a different type of conversation. We don’t feel sorry or pity one another, but talk openly about the cancer and our future – good or bad. We discuss symptoms, treatments, side effects and even fears of dying. Empathy doesn't leave us feeling alone.
 


Helentess‍ - You are so right "Empathy doesn't leave us feeling alone." Please add us to your group of supporters. We appreciate that you're hear sharing with us. How are you doing today? Are you still having treatment?

 
princessmaura
306 Posts
there have been some wonderful responses concerning the discussion on empathy versus sympathy...
I think that a person has to go through something in order to truly empathize with the other person...you won't fully know what it's like to have cancer until you get diagnosed with cancer yourself...but that's just my two cents...
law
427 Posts
Lacey_adminCCS
Thanks Lacey, for inviting responses.
Here's my 2 cents:   Empathy is expressing support for someone whose situation you have experienced first hand; whereas sympathy is expressing similar support, although the person has not experienced the situation directly.
I received both during my cancer struggles. I did prefer empathy as it gave me more trust that the person expressing it actually knew what I/ they were talking about and I could learn from them and be really comforted.
I also received lots of sympathy, yet it seemed to come from someone with a lot of uncomfortable confusion and well-meaning but annoying suggestions, such as: "You are so tough, but you really just need to eat and gain weight"  Because it was too painful for me to eat or swallow, and everyone contacting me knew that fact, I felt really demeaned; but I learned from my oncology counselor to smile and  say "Yes, my medical team is working on that".  That ended the bull**it. right away, without insulting anyone.
It was nice to be in someone's thoughts, but it would have been better not to feel as if a judgment was required for sympathetic support of me and my cancer fight.
law
 
Kuching
243 Posts
Yesterday, someone I hardly know did something really nice for me and my husband.  A volunteer respite worker, whom I have only met twice, asked me to email her a photo of my husband so that she could see what he looked like before the cancer ate most of him away.  I ended up sending her three photos, late Friday afternoon.  When I got to the hospital on Saturday morning, all three were printed and framed and sitting on his bedside table.  I don’t even know how she did that, but it was a truly wonderful thing to do.  It not only reminded me of what a good life we had had, but it let the hospital staff see  who they were actually caring for.  Even our GP had never seen my husband before he got sick, and took time to look at the photos and say how glad he was that he’d seen them.  I would say this thoughtful deed was definitely empathy, not sympathy.
FYI WestCoastSailor‍ , that’s an original Cape Dory dinghy, over 40 years old and still going strong.
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JacquelineM
21 Posts
Me: I am feeling so terrible right now.
Everyone Else: Well, you only have "x" number of treatments left and then you're done.
Me: But between the exhaustion, pain, skin and mouth sores, etc, I feel overwhelmed
Everyone Else: But you will be done this soon.

Not one of my supporters/friends/family/etc acknowledged what I was feeling.  All they wanted to do was tell me it would be over soon. 
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