Food For Thought
I told very few people about my cancer diagnosis because I saw it as a double-edged sword: I would receive their love and concern, but it meant more people I had to update on the latest developments. The burden of notification outweighed the care I needed; after all, I was overwhelmed and focused on determining my best course of treatment.
I decided to tell one girlfriend because she and I knew how to be honest with one another and hold those feelings in a safe and trusted space. She responded to the news with love and concern but didn’t overreact – behaving differently toward me or the situation.
One day, she casually asked what I bought from the grocery store. It was a bit of an odd question, but I answered. When I arrived home three days after surgery, she showed up at my house with a bag full of – you guessed it – my favorite and typical items. She wanted to be sure I had what I needed and wanted without burden.
But she didn’t stop there. On that same visit, she sat by my bed and talked to me. Exhausted and barely able to keep my eyes open, I told her I needed to get some sleep. When I woke, she was still by my bedside. I don’t know if she stepped away while I slept or stayed there the whole time, but I felt tremendous love that she was plainly and simply there when I woke – not busy, not distracted, not ready to go . . . there . . . present.
By Tyra Mariani