Little vent here ... if you're not a friend, and not a religious/counseling/therapy professional, don't share your "wisdom" with someone going through something outside your experience.
Case: just got off the phone with a nurse from our insurance company. Apparently if you're going through a Really Big Thing, a nurse calls to see if you're getting what you need, healthcare-wise. Asks questions about diagnosis and treatment. Fair enough.
But, not once, but multiple times, she felt the need to offer editorial comment on non-medical issues. Like how children going through this seem to somehow understand more than we adults do, (ha*!). Or this gem:
Nurse: Well, how are your other children doing with all this?
Me: Well, it's hard. They're having to give up a lot -- vacation, summer camp, birthday parties (because of germs).
Nurse: Well, I'm sure that their little sister is their top priority and they understand why this is all necessary and they understand that this isn't forever.
Really? Really? Okay, in addition to the fact that you don't have personal experience with siblings and cancer, you apparently also have no experience with children, period. They love their sister, but this morning (first day of summer vacation), my almost-6 year old wants to go to the pool. And can't understand that her sister is neutropenic and so we can't go to the grocery store, let alone immerse ourselves in water along with tons of other individuals who might be sniffling, scratching a rash, etc.
In any case, this nurse did, once again, remind me of the #1, most important tip for pastoral care:
* BS. If that were true, I wouldn't be having to spend so much time trying to explain to LW why we have to go there, why I let them "poke" her, why why why. And she wouldn't be trying to "normalize" this through applying it to others, such as saying that her big brother was a baby when he got cancer. "No, honey, he never had cancer." Well, The Princess was a baby when she had cancer. "No, honey, she never had it." Well, my mama was a baby when she had cancer. "No, honey, I never had cancer. Only you."
But of course, this all stems from the erroneous belief that only saintly little children, wise for their age, get life-threating diseases. Because if that's the case, then we don't have to worry about our own little brats.