There are phrases that hit to the very core of my existence. I heard one of those phrases today uttered to another survivor. “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” Excuse me while I go and vomit. This phrase has no value other than to fill the awkward silence. The silence when someone delivers devastating news and you don’t have a clue what to say.
Hug them, say I am sorry, hold their hand, tell them you will be there for them. Sit in silence and for heavens sake, listen to the person. It really isn’t hard. It’s not earth shattering. It doesn’t move mountains, but damn it, it’s what we need. We don’t need you to fill the silence. Tears and warm embraces are more than enough and it lets us know you get it as much as you possibly can without having cancer.
The phrase mentioned above is in my top three phrases that literally make my blood boil. “Everything happens for a reason.” This one is likely my numero uno. Nope, entire blog post dedicated to it on this page, has no place in the existence of history, and absolutely no relevance. Everything does NOT happen for a reason. Really bad things happen to really good people and there is no explanation. People need to ok with that. I have literally walked away from people who have said this to me. You’ll never convince me there was a valid reason my girls now at the ages of 8 and 6 had to watch their mother battle cancer. Nope. Until you’ve walked a month in my existence you don’t get the right to tell me that “everything happens for a reason.” It’s the number one classic silence filler that is puke bucket worthy.
Somewhere between second place and third place is the phrase, “you’ll be fine” or “everything will be fine.” Cue to vomit bucket again. There is nothing fine about cancer. It doesn’t age well like a fine bottle of wine. Cancer doesn’t resemble whiskey that gets smoother with time. What cancer certainly is not is fine. It’s just another classic silence filler. Something ignorant and a rather stupid phrase people say all too often.
I know that most people are coming from a warm and loving place even when they are uttering the worst responses in history. Because of that I often grind my teeth, fume on the inside and say thank you. Occasionally you’ll catch me educating though. The more awareness I can spread about it the one less ignorant phrase is spread to a fellow survivor.
Do I believe that God is meant to be there in our darkest hour to walk with us? You bet I do. Do I believe that God brings cancer into our lives for some profound reason? No, I just don’t. I believe in His timing for things, yet I do not believe that he brings cancer upon us. He’s there to help us navigate the good times and the bad.
Be kind. Offer hugs. Hold hands. Tell the person you love them. Be ok with the silence. Don’t just fill the silence with a terrible filler.
Raise those Cabernet glasses to knowing better, to being ok with silence, and to not uttering terrible phrases!