Healing Words, Wounding Words

I’m glad someone said these things to me:

  • “You’re doing great.  Keep up the good work.” (Thanks.  I’m trying so hard to do this with grace and dignity.)
  • “You look beautiful.”  (Wow.  Three little words that made my heart sing all day.)
  • “It’s amazing the courage you’ve shown during this.”  (Again, wow.  I’m glad you can’t see me when I’m weepy and scared.)
  • “We’re engaged but the wedding isn’t for a few years.  Will you and Jerry be our witnesses?”  (Yes.  Yes.  I will be here for you in a few years.  Yes.)

I wish someone hadn’t said these things to me:

  • “Gosh, I hope the chemo works.”  (Yeah…me too.  They might as well have said, “I hope you don’t die.”)
  • “This is not going to be easy.”  (Referring to chemotherapy, before my first treatment.  Oh, really?  What a disappointment, I was hoping for something like a trip to the beach.)
  • “Ewww….chemo brain!”  (Again, referring to chemotherapy before my first treatment.  No further comment needed.)

I cling to the cheerful encouragement like it’s a warm puppy.  The “encouragement” that targets the scary parts is just plain scary.  And thoughtless.  But maybe I’m just being an emotional sorehead right now.  

Thinking back over my own conversations with people who have life-threatening diseases and their family members, I wonder what painful or insensitive statements I’ve inadvertently made, and I sure hope they weren’t too many.

For the friends and family members who have steadily shoveled the happy stuff at me…God bless you.  And for my relentlessly cheerful and positive husband, who locks me in his arms and vows, “we will get through this just fine”…you’ll get a special crown in heaven someday.

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  Proverbs 12:18


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