Good Monday Morning and Happy December.

I keep meaning to write a little something especially for those people who we may see while Meredith is out and about.

It occurred to me that some of you may be nervous, or tentative, when approaching Meredith because you aren’t sure what to say or how to say it. Let me see if I can help you out a little bit.

The first thing is don’t be worried about talking to Meredith. She enjoys meeting people and talking with people. She may be shy, but I think it helps her to feel “normal” to talk to people who aren’t with her 24/7.

Secondly, be sure to introduce yourself. If I’m with Meredith I try to casually let her know who is coming to talk to her. This works fine except, um, when I can’t remember a name. Besides, it would be a good opportunity to get your conversation going. The reason for the introduction is that she can’t see very well and even though she recognizes voices, she isn’t likely going to remember everyone’s voice.

Third, act normal. If you would normally talk about the weather, then talk about the weather. If you would normally talk about music, then talk about music. If you’re normally a dingbat, then talk like a dingbat. (Did I say that last one out loud?)

Fourth, she has a brain tumor, not stupidity. While you may not feel comfortable talking about the tumor, try to avoid dancing around the subject. She is sharper than you might be inclined to think and she will pick up on things. Besides, the stupidity is reserved for me. It is okay to talk to me like I am stupid.

Fifth, she is a stroke victim, not deaf. There is no need to shout, unless you are in fellowship hall at church and competing with the volume of the echo chamber.

Sixth, her memory is improving, but not perfect (like many of us). This will most likely come into play when you see her more than once. Don’t expect her to remember visiting with you. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if she does remember visiting you. Her memory problems will be most obvious in a prolonged conversation. It is not uncommon for her to ask the same question repeatedly. Try not to be exasperated and simply answer the question again.

Seventh, as I mentioned before, don’t be anxious about talking to Meredith. If you feel like you’ve made some silly remark, or spoken inappropriately to her, then you will be quickly forgiven. I know that the people that she sees on the street (so to speak) are not going to converse effortlessly with Meredith and I don’t think you should worry about what you say.

She does appreciate the encouragement that comes from people telling her how far she has come since February. Now that we are out and about more, you may even notice some of the improvements without having to get updates from me or her parents. If you notice something, don’t hesitate to point it out.

I hope this helps give you some ideas about what you can do to interact with Meredith when you see her. Mostly, I want you to keep in mind that she is loved by God no matter what her current condition and because of that, she is deserving of our love as well.

Take care and God bless.

Marc

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