I found out yesterday that a friend of mine has cancer. I think that most of us are in the same boat.  This devastating disease strikes so many people, that most of us know someone with it.

When I receive news like this, it knocks me for a loop, primarily because I am a cancer survivor and I know a little bit about what they will be going through.  It brings back unpleasant memories of the darkest moments of my life, memories that my mind’s defense mechanism has stored far away in order to help me move on. I don’t like to think about what I went through.

So they come back; and that is hard – but only because I am looking inward instead of outward.  Once I remind myself that I am here to help others, I can take the painful experience and use it to their benefit.

My reaction is to help – I think we all feel like that – but some things are bigger than we are, and we must realize that.  We cannot cure cancer all by ourselves; we cannot even cure our friend, and that makes us sad.

We reach out and give support and maybe some advice and encouragement. “Make sure you listen to the doctors,” and “Hey, buddy, I beat this and so can you.”

But does this help?  Does it help enough?  There is always that frustration of “I should have done more.”  It is haunting.

But I think that we (myself especially) need to realize that we indeed are helpful, and that sometimes all your friend needs is a shoulder to cry on, or someone they can scream to, or even someone to whom they can admit they are scared.  That’s all they need.  They need you to be there for them.

Of course it is also good to help out – tell them to let you know if they need anything – and then follow up and make sure they are okay.  Keep true to your words.  Be there for them.

I know this is probably selfish of me to write this because it is self-indulgent.  I am allowing some bad feelings to wash over me today.  But that is what I will have happen.  They will wash over me and be gone.  I will express my feelings and move ahead to what is important: to helping my friend.

Today I will not smile as brightly as yesterday.  Perhaps I will soon.  Today I will say a prayer because my friends is sick.  Today all I feel like saying is…

“I hope you get better.”

About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

2 responses »

  1. bpnana says:

    My husband & I empathize. We lost a wonderful friend to cancer three weeks ago.

  2. Jim says:

    Your blog today opens up feelings beyond those with cancer. Whenever a friend accepts who we are or what our life is or is becoming, we are very fortunate. Knowing you, Joe, and your deep compassion, makes me certain that your friend’s news is being cared for by you. That can be so helpful during this transition time for them. Thanks for sharing this.

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