Monday, February 20, 2012

This is dedicated to T & W

I wish I could write a how-to manual for family members when one of their family members has been diagnosed with an illness or terminal illness.  (This rant has been brought to you by the letters B.S., which is what my friend's in-laws are throwing her way.)  I have learned from my own personal experience that some family members rise to the occasion, while others will fall.  Boy, do they fall hard.  When I was first diagnosed, I wrote Rules on how to handle my cancery self.  Now I feel inspired by my friend's in-laws to update my rules and tailor it to family members.

1.) Once again, this is not about you.  

When your daughter, son, niece, aunt or cousin has been diagnosed with a serious illness, it is NOT about you. Not a single thing about their diagnosis is about you.  I cannot stress that enough.  It.  Is.  Not.  About.  You.  The moment you make their illness about you, then that's the moment you become the selfish jerk.  When someone becomes ill, their whole world changes and they divert from the path they once were on.  If you truly love and care about the person who is sick, you will see this point clearly.  

2.) It's okay to be in denial but get thee to acceptance quick.

I understand that it's beyond tough and difficult to process your feelings when someone you love becomes ill.  Read a book about the person's disease, cry, write bad poetry, join a support group or, I don't know, TALK TO THE AFFECTED INDIVIDUAL.  Accept the fact that someone you care about is sick.  Accept it and then figure out what you can do to help.

My friend's parents have not accepted the fact that he is terminal.  They apparently think that he has given up hope that he can recover.  I'd like to believe they think they are helping him because I don't want to believe they are purposely trying to hurt him.  They are hurting him and his wife because of receiving support, they are on the receiving end of platitudes and false hope.  I can't even imagine what it's like to be in your late 20s and dying.  On top of that, accept the fact that you are young and dying.  That's horrific.    

3.) If you truly don't care, then cut your ties and peace out.  Don't pretend to care if you don't.

You're doing nobody any favors by sticking around if you do not care.  Don't send well wishes cards or texts or emails if you have no intention of sticking around.  Unnecessary people in a sick person's life is just noise.  


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