I landed on her Instagram page by accident. I hadn't been on her page in over a year.
When I got there, I saw how big he'd grown. Seeing him was not a surprise. I knew they were finally able to adopt him.
Then I remembered the gift a coworker, and I gave to her and her husband.
They were trying to adopt their son. The mother had relinquished her rights, but the father was still trying to figure out a way to care for his son. It looked like my coworker and her partner would have to give this child back to his parents. They had had him since he was 6 months old. He was just about to turn 2.
I wanted to commemorate the time they had together as a family.
And then the idea hit me.
On Christmas, one week before Art was hospitalized for not being able to breathe for some unknown reason, Art gave me a camera. (It turns out cancer was that unknown reason.)
I then spent the next year documenting our lives, during his cancer entanglement and after cancer killed him. Those are just a few of the photos you see here.
After he died, the photos I had of him and our family became even more important.
So when it looked like my friend and her partner were not going to keep their son, I suggested to another coworker that we gift them a session with a photographer. I wanted to make sure they had documentation to remember who they were.
Another coworker and I split the cost, and she knew a photographer. The only thing our mutual coworker had to do was set a date to be photographed and pick out what they were going to wear!
Turns out they didn't "need" the session. They were able to adapt their son a few months after the photos were taken.
Photos are significant.
We forget that because we take so many of them. Even before Art had cancer, I made sure to have family photography sessions every few years. I just wanted to document who we were and who we were becoming.
So if you're looking for a simple and easy gift to give a coworker affected by cancer, this may be it.
Here are few tips to make it as easy as possible.
Find and pay the photographer directly. (Make sure the fee is refundable!)
Do not assume the person with cancer won't want to be photographed.
Offer more than once! Seriously, most people are not willing to be photographed at all. It's perfectly ok to tell them that you want them to be able to remember this time in their life and their triumph over it. I have used the, "If you die, they need to remember you, even in your cancer life." (But as a widow, I can get away with that kind of conversation, so tread lightly here, or don't!)
This is a great team gift. Depending on how many team members and where you live, it costs as little as $5 apiece.
If the coworker has cancer, make arrangements through their partner, another point person, or close friend.
It's a simple and significant gift you can offer your friend, coworker, or employee.
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I'm on week three in my series on how to manage cancer at work. Rates of cancer are growing. I know that someone you know needs this information. Maybe not for themselves but for their friend or family member! Pass this free resource onto them! Assume nothing!