Okay, I’m having a rant. A big fat adolescent-but-real rant. I didn’t think I was angry about this situation. Thought I was just in shock, denial, bargaining, depression. But hadn’t gotten to anger. I’m not mad yet.
Ha! Funny thing about emotions, they’re there whether you know or admit to them at all. And they seep out in not-so-funny ways.
My sister has cancer. I can hate cancer, think this is so unfair, yada, yada, yada. Focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. One day at a time, down a long, long, long road. Wishing I had a time machine to jump in and see where this will take us. How’s that for staying in the moment? Which of course I believe in into my soul. That’s just a bridge too far right now though.
But I still haven’t gotten angry.
Anger does no good, right? I know that. It just depletes me in the end. What goes up must come down, no? And I don’t have energy to waste.
So, I’ve had the oddest reaction of late. You know how friends and associates, etc., when you tell them what you’re going through, feel the need to tell you the story of their brother’s father-in-law’s colleague (someone fifteen steps removed from you) bout with lung cancer and all the treatment and oh, how sick she got and on and on and on and you’re waiting for the “and now ten years later she’s still cancer free” part, right?
And so finally you ask and the person says, “Oh, she passed away years ago.”
See how that pesky little anger just jumped smooth out of my mouth? And we know why that is:
And I’m not exactly handling those “sympathy” calls and visits very well. I really want to say . . . well, what I want to say isn’t fit to print. See above.
So I just suddenly have to go do something. And then chalk that person off my taking-calls-from list. Not terribly spiritual, is it. Not so guru-like of me. But I know my limitations right now, and someone twisting up my day worse than it already is, well, it’s just not on my list.
And I finally realized as well, guess what, I don’t have to hold the spiritual certificate right now. Someone can do it for me. And thank god for true friends, they do. No platitudes, no trumping the story, no any of that. Just a, “I’m so sorry, and I love you.”
And that diffuses everything. And brings the tears to the surface that were hiding under the fear, masquerading as anger, to begin with.
So right now, I, too, am sorry that your friend’s mother’s daughter-in-law has whatever. But I don’t have it to commiserate with you. I don’t even have it to feel guilty because I choose not to listen. To be the sounding board that I always am.
I don’t have any place to put it. I’m full up.
Right now, my sister has cancer.
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.