Sep 11 2010
I was reading another person’s blog entry where they were talking about their upcoming cancer treatment, and how daunting and time consuming the process of Not-Dying was, even though there wasn’t a better alternative. Some — I hope well-meaning — ignorant buffoon left the following comment:
“Be grateful. Your children will not have to visit your grave to bring you Mother’s Day flowers before they finish Gymnasium.”
And I couldn’t even finish reading the rest of the comments, I was so instantly mad.
Unless you yourself have HAD CANCER, don’t presume you have a clue of the maelstrom of internal emotions, often simultaneously conflicting, that someone in that state is going through. Do not think that your clever and witty sops of advice aren’t something they haven’t thought of or heard (or both) before, usually from an exhaustive number of angles. You do NOT have permission to attempt any passive-aggressive guilt trip around “but think of the children!” or any other admonishments. If you are a big enough asshole to think that someone with cancer with children isn’t thinking of them nearly every waking minute, do yourself a favor and keep your mouth shut so that the whole world doesn’t know you’re a jerk.
And never, ever, tell me to be grateful about the choice between heavy-metal poisoning or death. I might be glad to be alive, glad that medical technology is as advanced as it is, glad to have the opportunity for more life, but the means to that end are some of the most unpleasant activities a person can put themselves through and NOT die. Cancer is ugly, and terrible, and affects concentric circles of lives each time it hits. You do not get to disempower anyone going through it or near it from the fullness of their emotional experiences by deciding which emotions are allowed in your presence and which aren’t.