Friday, 8 November 2013
To Those Who Just Don't Get It
A dear person in my life sent me an LA times op-ed yesterday describing how not to talk to someone who is ill. While I wish it was not applicable - sadly, the examples of what not to do and say held a certain resonance for me. It is not a skill some people have intuitively, our denial about death and dying runs so deep. The fact is I am dying - ergo, I do not feel particularly well. And while I love hearing from people and there are certain things I am still very much capable of doing - conserving my energy is just part of the balancing act I am trying to maintain to get my affairs in order and keeping up with certain people is just more energy than I can give some days. Saying no has always been a difficult thing for me and so when I receive a curt response in return - I find it incredibly upsetting. While I have tried my best in earlier posts to explain why it is this way - it seems no heartfelt explanation goes far enough sometimes - and I find myself listening to people telling me how badly my situation is affecting them rather than the other way around. The basic premise of this article was - to the extent possible - directing that kind of commentary elsewhere - not to the person who is staring death in the face for example. Meaning you have permission to be sad...to be angry...to feel helpless and over-wrought - but it is best you pick someone other than the sufferer to unload these feelings. Wishing it was happening to you, not me, is not particularly helpful - as really, where do I begin to respond to something like that? I must stress that there are many people in my life who have somehow known exactly what to say - and this is not universal by any stretch. But the fact is I am here, it is real and it is challenging enough from where I sit to face what I need to do to get things in order - feeling the way I feel - without adding other pressures that have no place in my heart right now.