We All Need A Little Help Sometimes
or we're all in this together
I just wanted to throw that out there. Whether it's the so-called "good" kind, the "bad" kind, the quiet kind, the loud kind... It all sucks. It is the only truly indiscriminating thing on Earth.
And I hate it.
I know what you're thinking... "What the ef? What's up with you, Murray? Why the downer topic? Not enough milk in your Cheerios? Did you forget the Bailey's in your java juice this morning? Fat Cat got your 401K?"
Well, actually all of the above, but mainly it's because six of my dear friends and a family member have battled this hideous disease over the past few years. They've all come through the mental and physical ordeal of being poked, prodded and gassed up on enough chemicals to stop a raging bull to tell about it. Save one.
And I miss her every day.
As a spectator, it's difficult to know exactly how to approach a friend's illness. Do you ask questions? Do you distract them? Do you ignore it? What I've learned from my dear departed friend is this: what cancer patients want more than anything is some sense of normalcy. It's such a traumatic, all encompassing event that has turned their life into complete turmoil that they are desperate for a distraction from the self-absorbing nature of this new day-to-day existence.
The best thing you can do as a friend is treat her as you always have: lend her your shoulder to lean on, let her talk it out, dish about co-workers, allow her the opportunity to listen to your woes however insignificant they may be, be ready with the big bear hugs and above all else... bring the funny.
Even if you think the story is stupid, tell it. Even if you know you're making an ass of yourself, do it. Even if you think it is completely off-color and inappropriate for someone in her "condition", share it. Few things are as uplifting or freeing as a great big ole belly laugh.
So be the dancing monkey. Lighten her load.
And when you find she needs more than you can offer, needs to be assured she isn't alone in her trials, send her to this website:
It's brand spanking new and its mission is to help cancer patients share their stories, connect with other patients to compare treatment notes, discuss doctors, form support groups, whatever they need to understand and deal with this insane, upside-down world in which they find themselves an unwilling participant.
You're not passing her off. You're lovingly passing her on to others who know what she's going through first hand.
Knowledge is power. Compassion a gift. Understanding a comfort.