Navigating holiday sadness with compassion and emojis
A simple communication can make the difference for those who are hurting
The holiday season means different things for different people. Wrapping presents, taking a family vacation, or simply baking cookies are some of the activities that bring people happiness during this time. Regardless of a person’s faith, tradition, or experience, the holidays are meant to bring joy, love, hope, and unity to the world. But unfortunately, many struggle as others celebrate.
Living with hemophilia or another chronic illness can add to a severe case of the holiday blues. How can family and friends help their loved ones who are sad?
My sons both live with severe hemophilia, and they understand their condition doesn’t take a vacation because of the holidays. Even amid the festivities, they might be caring for a bleed or other symptom. In fact, a bleeding disorder can wreak so much havoc that it puts a damper on everyone’s holiday plans.
It’s not only the person with an illness who suffers, but the entire family. Health issues can interrupt the season. What can friends and family do to support those with medical conditions this season?
An appropriate way to reach out
Years ago, a close friend was having a difficult time caring for her elderly parents. She was so exhausted by the end of the day that she didn’t have the energy to talk on the phone. I desperately wanted to chat with her and express that I was there to support her, but it wasn’t always possible. That’s when I came up with “emoji check-ins.”
Every night, I’d send her an emoji. The only rule was that I needed to get an emoji response. I wanted to know if she was OK — or not. When I sent my first blowing-a-kiss emoji, she sent me one with a sad face and a tear. But the response was enough to let me know she was OK. Then I did my emoji check-in with another friend. And today the tradition continues, not only in the rough times, but in the good ones as well.
If you know someone with a chronic condition who feels like a hostage to their illness, perhaps you can use an emoji check-in. It’s so meaningful for someone going through difficulty to know that someone else is thinking about them, maybe even praying for them. A small gesture can bring great comfort.
Bleeding disorders can be well managed to the point where some people forget they have one. That’s a good thing for them, yet numerous others live with pain, recurring bleeds, and infusions that use problematic veins. With new medicines and products changing the landscape of hemophilia treatment, there are still some patients who can’t use them or don’t see the benefits.
Reach out to someone in need. Try to understand their plight and pitch in when possible. Put the emoji check-in into practice. That small act of thoughtfulness could be the best way to connect with someone lonely or grief stricken. It’s amazing how an emoji can bring a smile to someone struggling.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.