This Is What It’s Like To Love Someone Who Has Cancer (So You Can Stop Pretending You Understand)

Danielle Drislane
Danielle Drislane

Nothing makes my blood pressure rise more than when I hear you say, “I understand.”

Because who are you fooling, really? Do you say that to make yourself feel better? Do you find comfort in the thought that your “I understand” will somehow make me believe that you do? Because no, I don’t believe you do. I’m sure as hell that you don’t.

You don’t spend your Wednesdays and Saturdays sitting beside an ailing mom, as she gets herself “treated” for what seemed like the millionth time but she’s still not healed.

You don’t spend your workdays faking a smile every second so that people around you can just stop asking how you are doing. Because, come on, we all know they only ask that so they can feel fucking good about themselves. We all know that if, for one moment, I answer that question as honest AF by saying, “No, I’m not fucking okay and I don’t know when I will be,” it will just be all kinds of awkward so why allow them to suffer through such unforgivable awkwardness?

You don’t spend your life at home working up a facade because nobody can see your spirit crushed. You can’t allow any signs of weakness to be seen through you because you’re supposed to toughen the fuck up because cancer is tough and you can’t just let it get to you.

Shit happens all the time and you know you’re supposed to act like a grown-up, courageous and brave, and you can’t let cancer win without a fight.

You don’t spend your “free” time knocking the doors of government offices, asking for medical and financial assistance, trying to convince them that she’s worthy of medical care. You don’t go to private charities, as if you’re a beggar, trying to plead your mom’s case and wanting them to see that she’s as worthy of medical care as other ailing and dying patients.

You don’t sleep three to four hours a day just to make sure you’ve fulfilled all your responsibilities as a daughter and as a mom, double checking everything to ensure that your mom gets every medical and personal need provided and that your two-year old kid sits happy and satisfied.

You don’t lose sleep at night wrestling with God, pleading that He stretch out His hand and kick cancer out of the body of the most important person in your life. You don’t cry your heart out every morning while trying to figure out what God even means by, “plans to make you prosper, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).”

You don’t struggle with your faith as you become a laughingstock to people who are waiting for God to rescue you as you drown from the tempest that’s surrounding your small and insignificant life. You don’t find yourself wandering when it all becomes too much to bear and then going back to His arms, because you know you surely have nowhere else to go.

And last but not the least, you don’t get tired AF of being sick and tired of your seemingly hopeless life. Because your life is perfect and everything’s going well in your beautiful life. Everything’s running smoothly that you forgot to reach out and sit with the lost, left out, and the least of these.

So no.

Just don’t.

Don’t say, “I understand.”

Because you don’t, and I sincerely pray that you never have to. TC mark

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