Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Why Your Neighbors Are Important

It’s the week of Christmas and I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with some good friends who also happen to be my neighbors.  Last night we decided to walk the neighborhood admiring the light displays on people’s homes.  It was an enjoyable way to spend the evening, we got some fresh air and a walk, and got to laugh!!

I’m amazed at how many people don’t know their neighbors.  Aside from the fact that these people are part of your personal community; they can be a safety net if you ever need something in an emergency.  After being diagnosed with a chronic or other life-altering illness any built-in safety net is a plus.

You may not be best friends with your neighbors, but do you even know who they are and anything about them?  I know I live in an unusual neighborhood.  We are a group of 9 homes who spend time together, help each other out when needed, and share holidays and other celebrations.  This is important because there are times when life events emerge and you need someone to help you out.

While I was away in San Antonio there was a death in the family.  If my neighbors weren’t as spectacular as they are it would have made the event much more traumatic.  They helped with logistics, animal care, and food upon returning from California. 

What am I really saying?  I’m saying that we’re social creatures.  We weren’t meant to live our lives alone.  I know it’s tempting to isolate yourself following your diagnosis, but staying connected gives you opportunities to share a meal, take a walk, or simply laugh. 

I bake for my neighbors as a way of saying thank you for their friendship and for their commitment to the sense of community they help to create!  The diagnosis of a health challenge is difficult enough without having to do it alone and to walk a tight rope with no safety net.  This is a great time to get to know your neighbors because everyone is in the holiday spirit.

If nothing else think of Mister Rogers and ask, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”  I can be your virtual neighbor.  Begin by going to and register for your special gift whether you’re the person diagnosed with an illness of a caregiver; there’s something for you!


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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