Its Daffodil Day today, and in addition to my daffodil pin I also have a ‘frieze’ on my Twitter profile. Clearly, I am a big-time supporter of the Cancer Society.
They say one in three New Zealanders are affected by cancer, but I don’t know anyone who isn’t affected by it. At the moment it seems like an epidemic. It’s unbelievably hard to see people fighting illness, and it’s also really hard knowing what to do when friends are going through the pain of watching a loved one battle cancer, or for that case any illness.
I’ve recently made a deal with a friend with a sick family member that goes like this. You know I care about what’s going on, I’m trusting you to tell me the news, and I’ll (try to) refrain from asking questions all the time. It’s not easy, but really, it’s not in the least about me.
When I was nineteen my role model and favourite person in the world, my mum’s dad Gordon died on ANZAC Day, and less than a month later my dad died of cancer. As life goes, that time was sub-optimal. I have ANZAC Day as a particular day to think Grandad thoughts. With Dad it gets me, still after all this time, at odd moments. I’m good most days, and just yesterday when I realised a new acquaintance had actually known him, it was a nice thing, rather than a sad one.
I like to support good causes – and most of the time they only want my small change, and then they give me a ribbon or something so it’s not exactly a big commitment.
I’ll treat you to a blog on my favourite charities and causes another time, but today, since its Daffodil Day, here are some thoughts on dealing with the horrible big C.
· You can’t deal with it. It’s impossible. But you have to hope, and you have to be there for your friends and family who are going through it, because you’ll regret your absence if you don’t.
· Sickness and death is part of living. While we live in a time of never before seen medical genius, bad things happen, and I think conditioning ourselves to believe otherwise is really unhelpful.
· Don’t let bad things that happen make you afraid to feel. I’ve refused to see movies with cancer in them for years because they’re too upsetting. As part of my personal rebrand, I’m trying to stop being such a wuss. Crying isn’t all bad.
· It can be surprisingly nice to talk about people you’ve lost, even for a minute. Try it sometime when you think you might be ready.
· A gentle reminder that life is for living.
· And on a less serious note – it’s really not cool to recycle daffodils, poppies or ribbons. That’s kind of missing the point.