I just read a blog post that RESONATED with me. Really reallyreallyreally resonated with me.
I would like you to read it, too, because she said it so well.
I found it because I have started following her after the fact, and she referenced it saying how sorry she was about the misplaced guilt it produced. (you can see that here)
I think it’s important for me to reference BOTH posts because both of them are necessary.
I mean it when I talk about gratitude for you guys. I mean it more than I can properly express. If you get a thank you card from me, I dont just do that for social graces- I do that because I am TRUELY thankful for you and your actions.
That being said, I want to tell you a bit about the things people do and say when you tell them you have cancer.
You can lose friends over this crap. Really. Not even kidding.
I was so upset by it when it happened. I told a friend for over 8 years about my little predicament and what do you know? I was deleted on Facebook and suddenly all of my texts and calls weren’t answered. That sucked. Realllllly sucked. I may or may not have called them out on it and told them they need to learn to deal with these things like an adult, because believe it or not- we are only at the ripe young age of thirty-ish and this will continue to happen to people we know as we age. People get sick. People get cancer. I’m just the first of many they know or will know. I also may or may not have guilt over confronting my ‘friend’. But I feel guilt over pretty much everything right now.
While this is an EXTREME case, it’s a real example of how people can be.
The opposite of that example is when a complete stranger joins in your support network and brings you dinner. Or makes you an awesome sign (there’s more to that sign that just it being made for me, mind you. Someone commissioned it, but that’s not the end of the story. SO MANY GREAT PEOPLE EXIST) . Or offers to so something INCREDIBLE for your upcoming wedding. I’ve had strangers do all of those things for me.
But grand gestures are not needed. Just basic human kindness and acknowledgement. A sweet word, even if it’s just lip service, can do about a million good things to my day. Especially if it’s a bad day (which I have). I’m not actually asking for lip service, here. I’m just telling you that something tiny is fine. Something like, “How are you today?”
and don’t worry. If you ask me that, chances are I’m going to answer you and talk about everything EXCEPT my cancer, unless you specifically ask me about it. I do that purposefully because I know cancer is not a fun subject and some people just can’t handle it. I mean, some of you I will tell all about it because I know that’s what you are actually asking me about. Cancer can even be a hard word to say.
What I’m saying here is this: chances are, if you are reading this, you are not someone that has offended or hurt me and you’ve probably already made your mark in my life with your words or your kindness. But my gosh if people don’t just freakin’ suck sometimes.
And I’ve wanted to tell people about that for weeks now!
I hope no one has any guilt or thinks they are lumped into this group. I want to reiterate what she says about not wanting to post it, but WANTING to post it, and why she didn’t want to:
“(1) I did not want to diminish the INCREDIBLE outpouring of love and support I’ve experienced from so many people, (2) I didn’t to lead folks to think that I am coping more poorly than I actually am, or (3) I didn’t want to make the wrong people think I was talking about them”
I also don’t want to seem ungrateful. I AM SO GRATEFUL.
But I’m really sad that people turn out to suck, sometimes. People I kinda liked.
You guys know that cancer poem? The one about what cancer can’t do?
What Cancer Can’t Do
Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple Love
It cannot shatter Hope
It cannot corrode Faith
It cannot kill Friendship
It cannot suppress Memories
It cannot silence Courage
It cannot invade the Soul
It cannot steal eternal Life
It cannot conquer the Spirit
Well. I’ve heard that poem my whole life, basically. Because I am involved in an oncology camp, I hear a lot of stuff like that. But at the same time, I AM involved in an oncology camp and have a lot of relationships with people and families touched by cancer and I have seen cancer do ALL of those things. I’ve seen it rip families apart. At sibling camp one year, a girl even told me that she wished her sister would just go ahead and die so they could all do normal stuff again (wtf, right?). She was 15. Her sister was about 10.
Cancer CAN do all of that stuff. But it is really up to each and every person that comes in contact with it when it comes to what it WILL do.
So, thanks for not bailing on me. Thanks for deciding not to let cancer ruin our relationship or alienate me (or you). And thanks for all those extra things you guys do for me. Like read this fun little blog I write about cancer. ha
They should change the name of that poem from ‘What Cancer Can’t do” to “What Cancer Won’t do”.Because it CAN… but I have no intention of letting it.