It can be hard to know what to say to a person who is going through something difficult.
I can relate.
I once told a hysterical co-worker crying over her cat in my office that I’d probably just put it down if I were her, because it was nuts to spend so much money on a cat. At my uncle’s funeral, I told his granddaughter how much I admired the wedding photos she’d posted on Facebook earlier that year, only to find out later that day that she was going through an annulment.
Since that bizarre Twilight Zone episode of a Halloween night, Aaron and I have gotten emails from long-lost acquaintances and friends of friends of friends, have been stopped in restaurants and on the street by total strangers, people who just want to tell us they they love our love. It’s like a never-ending firehose of love and energy that we get to dance in like sweaty children on a hot summer day.
We’ve also had some really crappy things pop up in seemingly normal conversations. You know, things like, “So, what’s the prognosis? Is he going to die?” and “Cancer is just, like, a rite of passage. I mean, we all get it, right?”
Things like “do you think Aaron would have wanted to marry you if he didn’t have cancer?” and “well, it’s all a part of God’s plan.”
And even though you know these aren’t bad people saying these things, even though you know they are just responding to an uncontrollable compulsion to respond to your unfortunate situation with the first thing that pops into their heads, even though you smile and find a diplomatic and kind enough way to reply without totally derailing the entire interaction, what you really want to do is grab them squarely by the shoulders, look them right in the eye and let them to know is that it’s just fine not having the perfect thing to say about an imperfect situation.
But in case you’ve had any of those words on your mind, he didn’t really get a prognosis, I think that’s just something that happens in movies, and besides, would you really want to know “how long do I have, doc?” Not really. And it really does suck that Aaron has cancer, and yes, a lot of people get it, crazy, huh? And we talked about marriage on our second date, when his cancer was secretly growing inside of him, and I could care less if any of this was a part of God’s plan, it’s in our hands now.