When I was at Race for the Cure on Mother's Day, I saw a group of women wearing a T-shirt that said, "Family does not let family go through cancer alone." I immediately started tearing up and then proceeded to send a bitter text message to a family member. Ever since then, I have been thinking about the phrase "forgive and forget." It's definitely a virtue (is it one?) that I lack.
I'm holding some really deep resentment toward several family members who I feel just completely dropped the ball ever since I was diagnosed. Like, sometimes when I'm not even thinking about it, these horrible feelings will just come over me. I'm filled with such bitter and resentment toward people I thought were going to behave like actual family members to me during this period of my life. I don't know what to do about it.
I am nowhere near forgiveness so that's probably why I'm miles away from the forgetting part, too. I thought when I was diagnosed, that my family was going to rally around me and we're all going to kick cancer's ass together. Not once did I think anybody was going to drop their lives and come tend to me (since I'm not, y'know, terminal), but I did think my diagnosis would at least have an affect on one or more of them. That really didn't happen.
Before Boomer came into my life (which was the week before Christmas), all I could think about was cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer. I was entertaining some really dark thoughts and spent many nights crying and wondering how I was going to manage all of this. How was I going to get to appointments? How was I going to juggle treatment and work? How was I going to keep up my house maintenance, like cooking and cleaning. I was dealing not only with cancer, but with a boyfriend who had a job from h-e-double hockey sticks.
I really thought certain individuals would step up with the appointment issue and the house maintenace. Nope, not at all. Actually to be fair, they did do the bare minimum, like, "Hey, I took you to one out of your two dozen appointments. I HELPED." I understand that Stage One cancer isn't terminal or anything. I have a great prognosis but this is still cancer treatment. I'm not dying but I have gone through hell.
Heh, is one of the important steps of forgiveness - actually telling the person/people how much they hurt you? Do I need to tell X: "The fact you never offered to help me at all, or stopped by my house when you live super close to me, or lifted a single finger to help, has filled me with an overwhelming bitterness toward you?" If she/he/they are even reading this, I'd be surprised because that means ACTUALLY ACKNOWLEDGING I HAVE CANCER.
If I do have this magical unicorn moment with the family members in question (mine isn't known for communication or ... affection), then what do I do afterwards? I'm always going to see them as the people who let me down while I went through cancer treatment. Or is ignoring someone's illness and treatment for whatever reason (I would love to know what that reason is) something you can forgive and forget?
I wish I had answers.
I wish I didn't have to post this shit on the Interwebs to begin with, but I really want to hear what people have to say about forgiveness in the face of such resentment and bitterness.