Tuesday, 19 February 2008

"Poof" Their Gone

"I have cancer" works better than "abracadabra" at making friends disappear.

Cancer, in and of itself is a landmine.  That I will agree with.  But I want you to know, that as of today, it is not contagious.

Friends and family have withdrawn from me since I have been diagnosed with cancer.  It has never been overt, nothing I could really catch them on.  It was much harder, it was subtle.  That avoidance of eye contact, the digging in their pockets or purse as I sweep by, or that sudden and animated conversation with their spouse.  Either way, it hurts.

When friends or family hear that I have cancer they are so terror-stricken that "poof" they either disappear or are struck into in-action.  I know that there are many reasons for this, but to be honest I DON'T GIVE A SHIT, so please keep your reasoning to yourself.

I know that my family and friends love me and are worried about me.  I love them and am worried about them too.  I also know that it is hard to stay invested in someone who is going to leave you.  Caring about me will cause you sorrow and pain.  Remember that caring about you causes me sorrow and pain now.  I die, you hurt.  You cared, I die, I hurt you.  Self-preservation sets in.  Maybe you need to set yourself apart from me to save yourself.

Cancer has changed who my friends are.  Family and friends I thought I could count on have vanished and new friends and some old friends have gone over and beyond the call of friendship.
Jill, Helen, Darlene, Angie, Sally, etc. etc. have all experienced the disappearance of friends.  It has broken some of their hearts.  We have all been understanding, more than understanding.  Seeing all the reasons why our friends and family would need to avoid us.  It was never a condemnation about them.  And as a matter of fact, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we felt sorry for the family member or friend.

But why not a condemnation.  I can't speak for Jill, Helen, Darlene, Angie or Sally, but I will speak for myself.

Condemnation, why not? Really, why shouldn't it kinda be a condemnation?  They find it to hard to be around us for whatever reason.  Really, what is it like for us than, if it is too hard for you to be around us.  You poor people that don't have cancer, but only have to be around a person with cancer.  How horrible your lives must be.

On the whole I have more family and friends that have stayed and supported me than have vanished and left me.  I am thankful that they realize I have cancer and not the plague.

Know better and do better.


Anonymous said...

auntie renee, the thing i love about you the most (and the reason i cant stop reading your blog) is your honesty through the good times and bad. your the best because your "real"....ben....

juliet... said...

Hi Renee ~ I'm reading your old posts to know you better. Thank you for being real. Last night I talked with a friend who is having bits and pieces of her face removed due to skin cancer. I have a curious mind and will ask questions directly about health issues rather than getting wiggly and uncomfortable around illness. My friend, Elinor, with stitches around her mouth, seems happier now when she talks frankly about her cancer. She doesn't live near me, but she is in my dreams and I talk to her there ~ she is happy and healthy in my dreams. Now I'm off to read more of your older posts.

p.s. Did you know that I am lucky enough to know the lively and talented Linda Sue (All I Ever Wanted) in person and in the flesh?! She's magic....

Deborah said...

Renee, I am so sorry. Human frailties can be so hurtful. Once I had an illness, nothing to compare to what you are going through, but my entire church family let me down...the very people I had made personal sacrifices to help for many years before I needed help. I am just so sorry.

Thandi said...

So true. A real friend will be there no matter what.It's not that hard!!!!