Lately I’ve had my dear friends and family on my heart.
Especially the quiet ones.
A couple of weeks ago I came across a quote from Martin Luther King that said, “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”. Now obviously he was talking about something completely different, but at the time when I read this I felt like someone had poked a blunt stick right into the guts of my raw feelings.
Now hear me out.
Something happens when you’re faced with the very real prospect of death. Picture a Libra Scale; On one end of the scale the more important things in life become a lot clearer. Your priorities shift, and you start to place more value on the things you perceive as being more important in life. For me, it is about making sure my friends and family understand under no uncertain terms that I love, value and appreciate them. To do this requires contact and sometimes even quality time.
Now on the opposite end of the scale is the crazy belief that everybody feels exactly the same way, and if they fail to measure up to that expectation then the scales get weighed down by emotional overreaction. If you don’t watch the scales it could easily fall into the perilous Kingdom of 'Drama Queen'.
I realised that I was dangerously close to becoming a drama queen – at least in my own mind – and decided recently that it wasn’t an option for me. It doesn’t suit my style anyhow.
So I decided to flip the switch and started to think about how everyone else was feeling. FYI it is ALWAYS a good idea to do this whenever you start thinking a little too much about yourself! So of course I realised a few things;
I realised that life does indeed go on, and that’s ok. I also realised that people going on with their lives doesn’t mean they don’t care or love me any less. This also is ok. I also understand that people are going through their own stuff and may not have a lot of mental or emotional energy to consider others during this time. Ok…I get this because truth be told I haven’t had a lot of mind space to think about everyone else around me either. It’s not ideal….and maybe there is some lessons to be learnt in this..…but yeah I get it.
But the biggest revelation when considering some of my oh-so-quiet friends is that maybe, just maybe, they don’t actually know what to say to me. Let alone how to act around me. You hear about this stuff happening, but you never really understand it in its entirety until it happens to you. And the truth is, if they are true friends, its not just happening to you - its indirectly happening to them to!! Because newsflash. They love you!
The bottom line truth is - not everybody knows how to respond to situations like this yeah? Like when you’re at a funeral and you’re trying to empathise with the grieving daughter who just lost their only parent to suicide. I remember it clearly...there were just no words that made any sense to me at the time. There is no handbook for crap situations like this (as far as I’m aware) although I did come across a brilliant gift card website designed for people with cancer. So cool. Yes, you may put your foot in your mouth and the fear of that may scare you stupid. But there is one thing that is worse - and it’s called silence.
SO this blog goes out to all those who don’t have a clue what to say or how to behave around me;
First of all. I get it. And in the spirit of ‘getting it’ I won’t be deleting you off facebook (although…..I did entertain the thought for a brief drama queen moment lol) And on the subject of facebook…if any of you who are reading this are ‘friends’ with me on my personal facebook and aren’t really a friend….please feel free to remove yourself. I don’t have the heart to do it and who am I to judge how you really feel about me. So this is your get out of jail free card right now. Go.
Secondly, the way you are feeling is really quite normal. So don’t be so hard on yourself.
Thirdly, as I said to a dear friend of mine today – Because of who I am, you don’t need to worry about saying the wrong thing. If you know my husband, you will know I have very thick skin! Nothing’s changed. Yes he still mocks the crap out of me ;)
Fourthly, I am not this cancer. This cancer does not, and will not dictate to me who I am. I still wake up every morning and go about my day, I still have the same sense of humor and I overall I am still the same person that prompted you to be friends with me in the first place. You don’t even need to talk about it if you don’t want to. As for me, I am still an open book as per usual – all you have to do is ask (if you want to).
Fifthly, its as simple as just saying 'Hi' every now and then, and let me know you are still on this earth and still thinking about me/us on occasion. If we didn’t do this before then that’s fine, except please understand my values/priorities have changed a little and I appreciate the contact a little bit more now.
Sixthly, please disregard all of this if you aren’t really my friend.
Seventhly (?), these numbers are getting ridiculous.
I think you get the point. All of this is said with a smile on my face and so much love in my heart. Please don’t be distant for stupid reasons. Ooh I thought of one more thing! Eighthly(?), please feel free to talk about yourself!!!! Boy am I getting sick of one sided conversations. It’s doing my head in.
I hope this helped some of you in some small way. If not for your relationship with me, then maybe it will help you with someone else now or in the future.