This is an excerpt of a message I received from someone from my past. I’m sharing this because I need people to know how absolutely painful messages like this are to receive.
“everyday for the last 2.5 weeks since I found out, I wake up and hope to hear from you becuz i know there will be a day that i don’t…that i can’t, and it truly makes me feel awful. I feel awful for you, i feel awful for your mom, your dog…anyone that’s ever been able to be around you and have a conversation”
My general response to statements of this nature:
I feel uncomfortable with people speaking like they’ve accepted my death already while I’m still here. If you were the one with cancer would it be comforting for you to hear that people are accepting your death while you’re still here, or would it be upsetting? Nobody knows what’s going to happen to them. People die unexpectedly and defy the odds every single day. I’m not a ticking time bomb, and I don’t want to be treated as such. I don’t like people talking like I’m a ghost. I don’t want to hear things like this, it does nothing for my spirit. It implies that people have very little faith in me/my situation. And since my level of hope waivers on a moment to moment basis, I don’t need other people’s fears being projected onto me, I’ve got plenty of my own that require my daily attention (and Ativan). Just try to imagine what it would feel like in my position to hear people talking about your death like it’s inevitable in the near future. It’s hurtful. We all die. People can accept my death when it happens, not a moment before. You can’t prepare for loss. And I’m still here, living and breathing and thinking and feeling. Like my friend Holly has so eloquently stated, this is about how I forge ahead NOW, not how others forge ahead LATER.
Please, everyone, just consider how your words may be received by the person who is “sick”. I’m living with breast cancer. I’m not dying of it. Not now.