The power of comfort

By Caitlin Kelly

When we’re feeling anxious, few things are as helpful as comfort.

It can be difficult for some people — private, feisty, super-independent — to open up wide enough to admit: “I need help!”


But if you can, and if people respond with love, my oh my…

Self-soothing is also a crucial life skill.

It might be food or drink or a hug or a hand to hold.



My pre-op nerves soothed  by a tiny rhino. (Good band name!) It went well.


It might be a stuffed animal, whether you’re six, 16 or 60.

It might be a kind word in the middle of a tough moment or a gentle touch.

It might be a bright bouquet of flowers.

It might be a lovely notecard — on paper, sent with a stamp — that arrives just at the right time.

It might be the loving presence of your dog or cat — or husband/wife/partner.

It might be a view out the window of something lovely that soothes you.

It might be your favorite music.

It might be a familiar poem or prayer.

In a time of some personal anxiety, I have been truly grateful for all of these, arriving from Dublin and Paris and London and Hawaii.

Some of you have commented here and some have emailed me privately.


Thank you!


22 thoughts on “The power of comfort

  1. you know you have a circle of those who care, myself included, and nothing can break the circle. this keeps you safe in more ways than one. never forget that. thinking of you –

    1. Thanks!

      One of the eye-openers — such a cliche — is that proximity doesn’t guarantee intimacy — some of the most stalwart of pals through this live very very far away from us.

    1. So true.

      Before we drove to the hospital yesterday morning I sat with our balcony garden, savoring its beauty and realizing it’s thriving because we take good care of it. I know our doctors will do the same…

  2. You are way more than welcome. It’s no more than I, or any of us, would want for ourselves, and it’s absolutely FREE (Just pay $9.95 shipping and handling).
    You know, I would gladly send you a handwritten message, but I don’t know how to reach you. It’s how, short of speaking, I like to get my point across with maximum impact. Not that I’m fishing for your address, I’m kind of stingy with my own.
    Anyway, I’m very glad things are running smoothly. You may want to watch some funny movies. I suggest Blazing Saddles and The Odd Couple; the best medicine and all that.
    Take it easy.

    1. That’s so kind!

      It’s been lovely to open cards from friends and keep them close at hand — and a gorgeous bouquet from friends in Dublin my husband met through an online photography group and who we got to know on our last visit in 2015.

      Now the (ugh) moment of awaiting pathology results — hoping the surgery (which happens 6% of the time) doesn’t need to be repeated and that there’s no unexpected spread. (Sorry if that is TMI!)

      If there’s no bad news, I will start to breathe much more easily than I have in a while. I do like our MDs and feel we are in good/highly competent hands.

  3. Glad to hear the op went well!

    Good books and music are two great comforts for me (I hope you enjoyed the music I emailed a while ago if you had a chance to listen 🙂 ). But nothing compares to the comfort of friends who will truly listen and be there, whether that’s in person or via text/phone/email, when needed.

    1. Thanks!

      I haven’t yet — but look forward to it!

      I have sooo many books I hope to read. Now that the weather is a bit cooler, I have more energy for that.

      The friendship Jose and I have been enjoying has been truly overwhelming, and deeply helpful. It’s amazing to feel such support.

  4. Ugh! You are getting through a hurdle, it sounds, as best you can. All the clichés in the world won’t change the reality, the loneliness, with which each of us must face our diagnosis, disease, prognosis. Wishing you all the comfort you need, the best possible of outcomes, and the love to make the rie positive no matter what. Bises! xx

    1. Thanks.

      This is the “best” BC diagnosis one can get, so that’s that. If the path. report shows no further spread, I will be calmer and just get on with it.

      For now, flowers and cards and emails are very very welcome!

  5. I have been thinking of you, praying for you, sending good juju and light. I am not sure this is as comforting as chicken soup hand-delivered, but I think it will have to do for now:). Know you are cared about by many . . .

      1. I love the way you two are with each other. You’ve given us a glimpse in your blog. That’s what love is all about, right? Somebody in your corner at all times.

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