Blog: Life isn't Always a Box of Chocolates

Rather than running from the "unpleasantness" of the big "C," it's time for family and friends to put on their big-girl panties!

I began writing this entry about a week ago and I found that my frame of mind was just a bit too ….. angry.  So as I often do, I set it aside to give it more thought and finish it later.  After some reflection and talking it over with a few trusted friends, I think I have gained some new perspective and am ready to try it again.

A while ago I went back to the hospital to visit a sweet lady who had been a hospital roommate of mine. She is also battling cancer and is having a rough time of it. I had hoped to bring her some encouragement. When I got there, however, she was enjoying some much-needed sleep so instead I visited with her daughter.

She told me about the rough journey her mother has had over the past few weeks and it broke my heart to hear of her suffering. But the thing that bothered me most was hearing about others who couldn’t handle the reality and unpleasantness of her illness. Deserted her in her time of need.

I’ve heard stories of similar experiences from others and even known of a few folks like this. They can’t deal with it so they close their eyes to it, ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist, and they run away. They may be the folks who should be stepping up to help, the ones who are needed the most. But POOF! They just vanish. They don’t visit, don’t call, don’t write, can’t even acknowledge what’s happening because THEY can’t handle it! Often this means that responsibilities all fall to one family member, or to a caring friend or neighbor (thank God for them!).

I’ve also witnessed (many times!) husbands who don’t come with their wives for their treatments. They wait in the car, because coming into the oncology office is too depressing to them. OR, worse yet, they go to work and their wife has to drive herself to and from chemo (and fix dinner for him when he gets home). Are you screaming yet? 

This is the point where I got really angry, and although I thought it was a righteous anger, perhaps I need to try to view the situation from these peoples’ eyes. I want to tell them to grow up and learn to deal with real life, including the “icky” parts, but perhaps there’s more to their reaction than I realize. Perhaps there is an experience in their past that makes this situation especially painful for them and is why they run from it.  I also have to realize that not everyone has faith in Christ, which is what gives me strength and gets me through this. I pray that they will find it.

But a friend of mine also pointed out that this kind of reaction may be yet another by-product of this self-centered society we’ve become. Individuals have become so focused on their own happiness and comfort, that they have forgotten how to express compassion to those who are hurting. I want to shake them and remind them that someday life’s “unpleasantness” may happen to them too.  Imagine what it’s like for the person facing the illness. We don’t have the luxury of running away – it’s with us 24 hours a day. They may feel guilty and have regrets when it’s too late and that loved one is gone, so try to get a handle on it now. Life isn’t always comfortable and pleasant.

If you are one of those dear sufferers who has been deserted, my heart goes out to you, and I hope you have found comfort in the One who will never leave you or forsake you. Thank you, Lord that when times are tough and humans fail me, You are always by my side.

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15

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Erin Vidovich October 10, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Barbara, I agree! Sounds like you and I have both been blessed to have such wonderful boyfriends/husbands. Mine is also a true gem! I will have to write more about him in a future blog. Congratulations on being such a long time survivor! That's awesome!
Arthur Christopher Schaper October 11, 2012 at 08:14 AM
Erin: The more that we know and believe all that He has done for us, the more we find that we have better than a box of chocolates given to us: "Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." (Matthew 13: 52) and "I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, "Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." (Philemon 4-6) Thanks for writing!
Charles October 11, 2012 at 01:50 PM
It's all in the mind. If a person is happy thinking an imaginary person is standing next to them then that's all that really counts. Happiness trumps reality.
Dan Charney October 13, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I went through a serious situation many years ago and found out I hadn't one friend or family member that didn't either run, blame me, criticize me, deny it or limit it. Many of these were people that had always had huge support in their lives. The people who helped me get through it, came out of the woodwork- they were those I knew in a secondary social way. It's only important to get though it the best you can. The shortcomings of others and their inability to deal with my situation was bad enough - but what topped it off- was their selfish need to blame me on top of it and demand attention themselves. Amazing. There were a few I couldn't even tell until I knew I would live- they would have taken so much of my energy with their well meaning attention that would have been about them. No way any of them would see that either. I learned a great deal. Some of it I would have preferred not to have learned. No god here for me so please let this stand without interjecting that if you would. Thanks.
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