Linda asked, “What’s the best way to show you care?” We were having a conversation about a mutual acquaintance that has been diagnosed with cancer.

She had already called our friend, with no response. Now she was beginning to feel like she hadn’t done “enough”, and worse than that – like she was becoming a nag if she called again.

I said, “Become a Chocolate Fairy.”

We all know people who are facing dark challenges. The last thing they need on their list is to return calls and emails, think about what they want from us – they are just trying to make it through each day, or write thank you notes for cooked meals.

I continued, “Preempt burdening the one who’s having a tough time. Just send a bar of chocolate periodically. I send a note – ‘When all else fails, there’s always chocolate!’ That way they know we are thinking of them.”

I added, “If I prepare a meal, I deliver it along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, with a thank you note to me that I’ve already written! It goes something like this: Dear Karen and Jim, Thank you so much for the chicken. It tastes ____________. You were so thoughtful to think of us. Warmly, ____________.”

With great laughter, I told Linda, “I love getting my own note in the mail! They always add something about the chicken!”

My conversation with Linda made me think about appropriate etiquette when dealing with friends who are ill whether you know them personally or professionally. Try these ideas to show you care without adding to their challenges.

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