It’s really hard going about your ‘normal’ everyday life. Going to work, sorting the kids, making sure everyone is all right, even running, when you have something playing in the back of your mind ALL OF THE TIME without ever knowing when it might jump up and bite you.
I came across this blog post by Sherry McAllister a few weeks ago and was blown away at how she totally nailed what it feels like…. every day…. so I thought I would share her brilliant writing….
Imagine you’re going about your day, minding your own business, when someone sneaks up behind you…
You feel something press up against the back of your head, as someone whispers in your ear.
“Sssshhhhh…. don’t turn around. Just listen. I am holding a gun against the back of your head. I’m going to keep it there. I’m going to follow you around like this every day, for the rest of your life.”
“I’m going to press a bit harder, every so often, just to remind you I’m here, but you need to try your best to ignore me, to move on with your life. Act like I’m not here, but don’t you ever forget… one day I may just pull the trigger… or maybe I won’t. Isn’t this going to be a fun game?”
This is what it is like to be diagnosed with cancer. Any STAGE of cancer. Any KIND of cancer. Remission does not change the constant fear. It never truly goes away. It’s always in the back of your mind.
Please, if you have a loved one who has ever been diagnosed with cancer, remember this. They may never talk about it or they may talk about it often. Listen to them.
They aren’t asking you to make it better. They want you to sit with them in their fear… their sadness… their anger… just for the moment. That’s it.
Don’t try to talk them out of how they are feeling. That doesn’t help. It will only make them feel like what they are going through is being minimized. Don’t remind them of all the good things they still have in their life. They know. They are grateful.
But some days they are more aware of that gun pressing into the back of their head and they need to talk about it. Offer them an ear.
I haven’t been able to track Sherry McAllister down, but if i ever do I want to give her a huge hug because she has summed up so eloquently what it is like. Thank you for your words Sherry.