Tuesday, 4 October 2011
They ask how I am. They hope I’ll get well or that I’m feeling better. I’m in their prayers. And I understand that this is sincere and generous. I’m grateful for the good wishes and prayers but…
I wonder if they still see me – or if The Cancer, that fat old usurper is standing smack in front of me, blocking the view.
Maybe they’re just fuzzy about etiquette…can you talk about plans and hopes for the future with someone whose future may (or may not) be limited? Is it in poor taste to be happy in front of a person with a serious illness? Is it beyond ungrateful to bitch about the disappointments and aggravations in your life to someone who has (what might be perceived as) a bigger problem?
Here are some guidelines for the confused:
I’m still me, for better or worse.
I still very much want to hear your good news and be able to rejoice with you.
I still empathize when you’ve had a disappointment or are hurt or lonely. And if it helps you to talk, I want to listen.
I still love to read and write. I love art and fine craft. It’s never boring to hear about your creative life. Or for that matter, those frustrating creative blocks we all go through.
I still love to talk about God, life, death, astrology, science, Coronation Street, ecology, the universe and everything.
If someone does you wrong, I’ll still help you bury the body.
I crack cancer jokes and death jokes, so you don’t have to tip-toe.
I may have cancer but it doesn’t have me.
So smile for me, okay? And stop worrying.