bah, humbugi am a mean, heartless, even shocking person.
or at least i was while christmas day was being ushered into north america.
at a friend's house, i was reconnecting with some dear girls from school whom are in fact more like sisters to me. although we don't see each other often anymore, these three are the people in my life with whom i can sit down after months of being apart and immediately pick up where we had left off. no topic of conversation is taboo and we have seen each other through all of the ups and downs of the past 15 years.
we were chatting around a christmas cake in the kitchen. good company, food, and spirits reflected the downright jolly atmosphere. the four of us were taking turns discussing our plans with family for later on that day, when the following exchange brought the gaiety to a grinding halt:
"so, amanda, what are you doing with family for the holiday?"
"well, we are eating at my gram's...i was worried about her hosting a meal for so many when she's not feeling well, but things seem to be falling into place..."
"wait--what's wrong with your gram?"
"oh, i didn't tell you? we found out that she has breast cancer."
(insert various random expressions of disbelief and hopes/wishes for her health to return here)
"well," one friend continued,"i'm sorry that this happened to her after everything else..."
i took a breath and didn't quite know what to say. it's funny how one can travel this road so many times and still feel totally unrehearsed.
"well...what can you say? shit happens."
all three stopped what they were doing and looked at me in disbelief. all of the sudden, the air was heavy with the unspoken...
"that's a hell of a thing to say!"
"how could you say that about your gram?"
but the more i thought about it, what WAS i supposed to say? yes, it stinks that cancer struck the two people closest to me in one year. yeah, it's not fair. yes, i am very worried for her...her cancer is highly treatable, but she has several other factors working against her that will help to determine the outcome of her treatment. i could have expounded on the fine details of gram's cancer for a half hour or more, but i doubt that any of it would have been what my friends wanted to hear.
since i so egregiously broke the unwritten rules of Discussing Cancer, i have a question to pose to the various friends/acquaintances/family members who haven't travelled this path and expect me to make the same old small talk about how (insert patient's name here) is "doing so well in spite of his/her treatments..."
WHY THE HELL SHOULD I HAVE TO SUGARCOAT ANY OF THIS FOR YOUR BENEFIT!?!?!?
posted by amanda @ 12:34 AM