It can be challenging including others in a cancer experience.
When things are at their worst, we want to protect the people we love from feeling the same anxiety and confusion we are. So we smile when we feel like crying. We hide behind a locked door, telling folks it’s “not a good day”. We stay in when we could go out. We change the subject, force a laugh, literally put on a brave face as they walk in the room – and take it off again when they go, collapsing from the exhaustion of trying to be one of those ones everybody brags on who “never complains”.
And then there are the times when we just want to punch people in the head for being so nice.
Sometimes, being a cancer hero is just bloody hard work.
Nobody wants to be a cancer whiner. We don’t even want to hear about it any more, so why would anyone else? Cancer isn’t very exciting, not nearly as exciting and interesting as others seem to think. Can’t we just change the subject?
“Can I come around and see you?” Can you come around and look at me, you mean. Sure! Bring your friends! You can all go out to lunch afterwards and have something interesting to talk about! OR NOT.
Yep, it’s challenging, knowing how to include others in a cancer experience.
There’s not many things worse than feeling patronised, placated and pussy-footed around. But as someone with a scary disease, allowing others to come around you and give their little offerings to you in the ways they know how is really important for them. It lets them know they have power against cancer too, because they are shit-scared and feel inadequate and intimidated, just like you. Allowing others near you gives meaning and purpose to them in the cancer, at a time when they may be feeling completely useless and powerless.
They’ll tell you later, “Do you remember when I….”, and you may not even remember what they did and when they did it, but they will. And that matters.
Let go, and let others. Even if it’s only sometimes. There ain’t no medals for this, you know.
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