Sunday, September 21, 2008

What NOT to say to someone helping a loved one LIVE with cancer.

What not to say.... and what I really wanted to....
A friend has this really cool You Tube vblog "What NOT to say to someone who has cancer" You should check it out! I really admire this person! She's been helping me through some stuff without even knowing she's doing it! The stuff she said also pretains to those who are helping their loved ones live with cancer too. So, Pay attention! That way I won't have to repeat it again! Thank you Holly!!
Ok so, after listening to her I thought about my situation and the stupid things that have been said to me.... Now mind you, I'm not using a video blog so you won't see the cute expressions and hear the funny sarcastic way it would sound if I was. So, take it in stride and think of it with humor.
1. They said "Well, just think, you've had a couple extra years with him, you should be grateful. The doctors only gave him 2 months to live that's more than you thought you'd have. He should be dead by all accounts."~
My thoughts on that .... He should be dead???!! I thought we'd have forever, now I should be grateful that we may not grow old together? Grateful that a doctor tried to take his hope away? Grateful that my husband has a disease that is killing him? We've had a couple of extra years? I should be grateful he's been with me this long? This is my husband we are talking about. Not an old truck! Don't trivialize his life like that.
2. Boy does he look BAD! How do you cope with how much he has changed?~
Let's see.... He's my husband and I love him. How do I cope? What... I should reject him or leave him because he's lost his hair and he's not as strong as he used to be? I should be that shallow? He's still the same person, that hasn't changed. Go look in the mirror honey, you don't look the same as you did a few years ago either. He's had almost 50 chemo treatments during the last 2 years, of course he's going to look different. What's your excuse?
3. So how is he REALLY ? ~
Well, what did he tell you when you asked him? How is he REALLY? He really has cancer. How do you think he is? He's sick and he's tired. You think how he's doing is different now that he's walked away than it was when he was sitting right beside you less than a minute ago? Really?
4. So, how are you doing with all this? ~
How am I doing? Well, I was doing just fine until you made me think about it. I'm screaming inside while I'm smiling at you. I know full well you are just being polite so I just say I'm hanging in there. You don't really want to know my world has fallen apart and I'm barely holding on with my fingertips most days and a total meltdown is just a heartbeat away. My husband has a sucky disease.... It's hard as hell watching someone I love more than life itself go through this knowing I can do NOTHING to stop it. How the hell do you think I am doing?
5. If he can't be left alone, then maybe he should be in a nursing home. ~
Excuse me, He's my husband. So, he's feeling sick today. What, that interferes with your plans so much that I should institutionalize him because he's throwing up? Honey, you and your plans aren't what's important to me. He is.
6. If there is anything you need ~
I need my husband to be healed. Can you do that? Uh... yeah... I didn't think so...and then what ? Would you keep my mortgage paid? My utilities? My car payment ? Fill my freezer? Pay the hospital bill we just got in the mail? You know he can't work anymore. What do you honestly think I might need? Would you help me take care of the landscaping chores that never get done? You gonna come clean up the puke and other bodily fluids that sometimes don't make it to the toilet while I'm at work? I need to have the means to stay home and take care of my husband. Are you able to help me do that? If you can't give me what I need... don't ask me ~to ask you~ for help. I'm not going to you know.
7. You haven't called to update me lately! ~
My life is hectic enough without worrying who is going to be offended by my not calling them. Face it honey... my priorities have changed. Most days I'd simply rather not talk on the phone. Besides.... if you really want to know how he is, come visit him.
8. Why didn't you tell me he was in the hospital again, you know I worry!
If you are so worried, why don't you come see him when he's well .Why is it only when he's in the hospital and needing to sleep that you show up? Did you ever think he may not want a hospital room full of people and requested I not tell anyone? If he wanted you to know, you would have already known. Don't get an attitude with me because I don't call YOU.

I understand people ask things just out of common courtesy without really wanting to know- without really wanting to help. They say it because they feel it's expected of them. I honestly do understand all that.

But truthfully, If you don't want to know.... don't ask. If you can't help... don't offer. You are doing me more harm than good. Don't make me think about the stuff I need or how I'm feeling. Don't make me wonder how I'm going to get through this day. Don't make me think about tomorrow. Don't tell me our lives have all been planned out...we live we die. I already know that..I don't need to be reminded it may come sooner than I ever dreamt possible. Don't tell me our reward is in heaven. He'll be healed there and this is all just temporary, he'll have a new body... excuse me, I DON'T want to hear that. Yes, I believe in God and that Jesus is our savior and there have been mansions prepared for us.... but PLEASE...Don't try to make me feel he'll be better off dead! I know when the time comes he's going to heaven, but I still don't want to hear that! We are living in the here and now. RIGHT THIS MINUTE is what concerns me. Heaven is a lifetime away.... it's not what's happening at this moment in time. That doesn't comfort me, honestly it doesn't help at all. It just deepens my feelings of loss. It might make YOU feel good to say it.... but it's hurting me.

Strangely enough, the majority of those who actually say most of these things have never lost their spouse or anyone for that matter to this horrible disease. They do it because they simply just don't know what else to say.

Don't tell me I shouldn't be angry. Don't tell me I should be grateful. If your heart really isn't in it, don't ask and don't offer. For God's sake and my sanity.... Just don't.

Sometimes the old addage..."Silence is Golden" holds more truth than you know.

Tell me you are praying for us all. That's all you need to say......and then do it.


Farmee said...

My Leesee's online! Woot! Now see, you can take over the blogging and can keep track of you.

SparkieL said...

HA HA HA and yes, I expect to see lots of YOU too Miss Robin!

Gotta love it!