FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN /
Dad & Tom
I received an email last week
from a social worker at a hospital in the Midwest. She has been
a subscriber to this newsletter and Today’s Caregiver magazine
for the past few years and has read my impassioned pleas to
caregivers about the benefits of support groups.
interested in starting a support group in her community and
wanted to know what challenges she may face in reaching out to
family caregivers. As I was putting together an email response
to her, I flashed back to my dad and his view of support groups.
Dad retired in
1990 at the age of 59 but soon afterward developed bone marrow
cancer, although he was a gregarious guy and loved nothing more
than learning about the people he would meet, (he remembered
details about my college roommate when they met again over ten
years after my graduation) and was as comfortable talking with
the guys on the line in his lumber plants as he was talking with
the “suits” at corporate headquarters. Unfortunately, convincing
Dad that spending time in a support group of others also dealing
with cancer would be of value to him seemed an unlikely
Therefore, I was
justifiably surprised when, in a news report saturated with Gulf
War stories, Tom Brokaw, ended his program with a personal
interest story about cancer support groups. They cut away to a
support group in my home town of Miami, Florida and there was my
dad, in a lively discussion with his fellow support group
members. A few months later, shortly before he passed away, dad
told me that he regretted not finding his support group earlier
than he did, because that little group had become such an
important part of his life.
Support groups. Spread the word.