Replying Is Optional


Submitted 13 days ago
Created by
Kerry Krieger Clifford

I didn’t write a post last week. I was busy preparing for, worrying about, and going through surgery. I’m forever grateful to Dr. Barth, the surgical team, and the fabulous 2 West staff for taking such great care of me. I left the hospital with less cancer than I went in with so, job well done.

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I don’t know why it still surprises me that so many people reach out to me during these tough times. Y’all’ve been showing up for me for well over 2 years now, but it still makes my heart sing. I heard from oodles of people in the days leading up to my procedure, and then from another heap of friends and family after it was over. In a time when I was feeling super anxious, my village held me so close metaphorically that I felt it literally.

I got a text from a church member that meant a little something extra, and I wanted to share it with anyone who struggles with what to say during difficult situations. He wanted me to know that they were thinking of me and hoping for the best. Then he said, “no need to answer.”

I’m a little bit worried about writing this post because I would feel awful if I hurt the feelings of anyone who has ever asked me a non-rhetorical question about how I'm doing. I LOVE YOU FOR YOUR CONCERN!! There are always reasons to ask this and other questions; I’m not making a blanket statement that you should never send a message that requires a response. But I promised when I started this blog that I would be real with you and I want you to hear a thing that is hugely helpful – when you let your sick friend off the hook for answering your messages in the midst of the hard stuff.

It was a tender, warm feeling each time I raised my phone to read a text and knew that someone I love was thinking about me. And it was a huge relief when I knew that I didn’t need to keep my phone up and type anything back or worry about planning to answer later and probably forgetting.

A lot of common questions are answered when I am faithful to write posts on my CaringBridge page, so I’m going to own the responsibility of keeping information up to date there. Some other questions can be directed to my “first circle.” They’re way better at answering things than I am anyway. WAY better. But by all means, my friends, if your heart needs to know how I am and you can’t get that information from any other source, don’t even hesitate to ask me personally! On the other hand, if you are wanting me to know that you’re out there thinking of me and praying and wishing, say that. And if you add that phrase, “no need to answer,” know that I’m on the other end breathing a little sigh of relief and smiling because I’m going to feel a smidge more taken care of than I did before your text/email/message/voicemail.

As always, I love to read your comments, but don't feel that you have to 😉

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