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

Why Are the Casseroles Always Tuna?

Many years ago when I first started doing this work a friend of mine gave me a  book titled, “Why Are the Casseroles Always Tuna?”  The book was a light-hearted reference guide for dealing with death and grieving.  It was a comical look at how we as a society interact with those who are facing a health challenge or know someone whose loved one has died.  Let’s face it, many people don’t handle other people’s illness well, so what are we to do? 

Random acts of kindness go a long way.  I love to cook and I cook while I’m on the road.  I make large quantities so I can freeze some for another day, but still have enough for the leftovers.  My friend at work who is going through cancer treatment doesn’t really have a support network in place and it’s apparent that he needs one.  He has some friends who text him and call, but phoning isn’t like being there with the person.  I’ve adopted him.

When I cook I bring him food so he gets a home cooked meal a couple of times a week.  When I make soup I always give him a container that last him a few days.  He comes to life with joy and appreciation.  He jokes with me that he has washed out the container and I should feel free to refill it (not an expectation, just a hope).  It really is the small things even with my co-workers.  If I go out to the bank during the day and stop for coffee, I bring one back for my co-worker in the office.  It’s the small things that let people know they have made an impact on your life.  It doesn’t take any time, sometimes a little money ( and I know in these times even a few dollars that can be difficult), but it’s not an everyday happening.

We all need to know that someone is concerned about us.  That need rises after being diagnosed with a chronic or other life-altering illness because of the amount of uncertainty that is now part of your day-to-day life.  It’s kind of like the grown-up version of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, but the person you connect to has some other difficulty in their life at the present time.  I’m making reference to someone who has a health challenge, but it really pertains to anyone who needs a little extra attention or care during any of life’s many challenges.

Who have you adopted?  How do you think it has impacted their life and yours?


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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