Thanks to Kim Hamer for joining us for an intimate Power Lunch today! Kim Hamer is the author of '100 Acts of Love - The Girlfriend's Guide To Loving Your Friend Through Cancer'. As I listened to Kim today, I couldn't help but think that she was an amazing example of strength, resilience and generosity. She stood in front of the room during our Power Lunch at Fidelity Investments in Century City, LA, poised and graceful and opened her heart and gave fully of herself as she guided us through not only her journey, but how others helped her, and now, how she is helping others through her experiences.
Kim is a widow, and lost her husband to cancer 6 years ago, leaving her with three children to raise. She described her healing process, and the creative ways in which friends helped her through this traumatic time. In turn, she shares those ways in her book (which is a must read) and shared with us ways in which we can talk with our kids about cancer, loss or crisis.
Kim's advice was sound, and was peppered with great stories and advice for families who have friends or family going through cancer, and she specifically spoke about talking with children. I liked her approach of honesty and simplicity when it comes to children and letting them know about what is going on in certain situations. I had many take aways from the session, and the great Q&A that followed.
1) Offer specific ways that you can help. Don't just say 'Let me know if I can do anything', be specific about what you're offering. When you're going through crisis, you don't know what you need, and you're overwhelmed by the offers of help, but don't actually know what that person means by 'anything' so end up asking for nothing.
2) Don't ask, say 'Let me', 'Let me pick up the kids on Tuesday for a playdate.'
3) Send him/her a funny card weekly
4) Don't ask what he/she needs to be done, just 'do' sometimes. Ideas such as filling a car up with gas, booking a massage, cleaning a car, doing an oil change, picking up kids are all great. Kim advises to get creative, and kids can help with this process too as it relates to getting creative and interacting with other kids that are going through crisis.
5) Help often tapers off around the 9 month to a 1 year mark, ensure that you're still reaching out beyond that time to help, it can still be a very difficult time for families.
6) Always acknowledge what is going on by using phases such as ' I'm so sorry that this is a part of your journey', or 'I'm so sorry that your family is going through this' or 'I'm sorry to hear that David has cancer'. Invite kids to be direct with their friends too. Don't ignore that they are going through this difficult time, acknowledgment is key.
7) Kids feel energy and in turn anxiety, and mirror your feelings and emotions. When you deliver messages to them, it's okay to be sad, but be aware of the emotions that you're transferring about the situation.
8) Kim's book is filled with creative ideas, and all the Acts of Love that she found to be helpful when her family was reeling from this crisis. Her book is available on Amazon.com 100 Acts of Love - The Book! (Buy Here)
9) Don't say things like 'At least....', this diminishes what the person is going through. 'At least it's only Stage 1', 'At least you have 2 other children'. 'At least' is a really bad thing to say!
10) 30 Days of Love - I think that I liked this idea the most. The concept is so simple, yet so touching. Get as many people as possible and for 30 days (or more), each person leave messages of love, a joke, just reach out to that person to offer support and love from the community.
I could go on, but would rather that you visit Kim's page, buy the book and go and hear her speak if you can. Thanks for joining us Kim, and we hope that you'll join us again for another event really soon!
Check out our gallery for pictures from the event!