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  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

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  • E-mail me at:

    sara at saraarts dot com

    Make sure the subject line of your correspondence is clear and specific. I do not open e-mails from strangers unless I can tell in advance that I want to read them.

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  • I Took The Handmade Pledge!

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shuna fish lydon

"Let the person know you will be available to help. Then really be available to help."

Then really be available to help.

I have tears in my eyes. As this is the best line, for any situation. The things we say that we don't really mean? But we say because they are The Things to say?

They're unhelpful, and sometimes hurtful to the ears on the head of the other person hearing them.

And the listening, the asking questions? Instead of telling someone how to feel?

It's what we're most afraid of. Ask them what it's like for them. It is such a grand concept.

This here? This is why blogging is utterly important.

Thank you. So much.


So much wisdom here.

The Goldfish

My good friend lost a leg this summer. He is at the other end of the country and continued to be very ill from the infection, so I simply had to write. I guess I do have a fair amount of experience of having and supporting disabled friends (including this chap, who had a mental health impairment before this illness).

And indeed, from my own experiences of illness and loss, I did feel that contact, any contact, is a million times better than nothing.

But I did worry terribly, not having any feedback about how he was taking what had happened; I might be saying the wrong things, even with all the tact in the world.

However, it was greatly appreciated. So I do think there might be something to be said for taking just a small risk. If simply to demonstrate that you, as a friend, are not completely horrified by the situation.

Unfortunately my feeling is that those who are going to issue those awful platitudes are the least likely to think twice about it.

Fantastic post, anyway. :-)


I was so encouraged by the fact that anyone -- more than one person, actually -- went looking for the right thing to say. It's so wonderful when people think before they blurt. I wish I could remember to do it more often.

I also wish I could say I had lived my own life platitude-free, but one of the reasons I know what not to say is because I have myself spewed some of this crap from time to time. It's embarrassing to admit, but being corrected is why I ever thought about it before I needed to make my own corrections, and at any rate, fortunately, I was forgiven.

I think when we start from love and, as Shuna says, start from the premise of asking people in these situations how they feel and what they want we just can't go too far wrong. But people who can't do this, people who have to include themselves in every drama just to prove they're important or give themselves something to talk about at dinner parties, people who wear their involvement in every Situation like a badge of caring-ness for all and sundry to admire, those people need to back off. As you say, Goldfish, it is probably true that these are the very people least likely to listen to my advice. Still, another service we can offer people we love in times of need is running interference. Perhaps knowing that these platitudes are usually offensive will help someone do that more effectively.

I can only put it out there and hope.

I'm sure you write great letters, and I'm sure they were welcome. How's your friend doing now?


I came across this site in search of ideas to put on a card for a friend who is a recent amputee. Since there are so many people that can't be there to spend time with her, I took it upon myself to make a card with well wishes from all the people that have written on her facebook, to show her how much she's loved. When I read this article it made me wish everyone at my Mom's wake/funeral had read it before coming. There is so much wisdom in your words. I think the worst thing to ask is, "Are you okay?" or "How are you feeling?" I'd assume the loss of a limb is a similar mourning process to loosing someone, possibly worse in some ways.

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