The thing is, I am still me. People who are willing to admit where they are tell me they don't know what to say. I said to someone today, since when do you have to know what you are going to say before you have a conversation with someone, or answer a question?
During our conversation it came out that the person didn't want to talk about their troubles that seemed minor in comparison to "cancer." Time and again I try to tell people that comparing is no good. Wherever someone is in relation to their life is real for them. I suggested that if they really had an issue with their issues, they consider seeing how they might apply whatever perspective they get through the lens of cancer.
The person also acknowledged that they realized that their distance was all about them - and really had nothing to do with me. And yet they said they think of me often, and care about me.
That last bit is kind of hard. Some would say how could someone care, and act that way? I get that they can - all too well, actually. This is not the first person to have an issue, and am I certain it is not the last one I will hear from, either.
The sad thing is that I am fairly certain that most who have been this way carry a great deal of unnecessary guilt. All they have to do is talk to me. I don't need anything special. I don't need solutions. My conversations do not always revolve around cancer. There are times I welcome things that have nothing to do with me.
I realize part of the problem is time. The longer a person goes with the awkward silence, the more awkward it becomes, and the harder it is to say, "I don't have a clue what to do here."
I told the person that I no longer considered them a friend, not because they were not welcome, but because I did not feel welcomed. I was ready to walk away. Interestingly, out of the blue they showed up after a very long absence/silence.
I was told I could have had an attitude after all this time, and I suppose I could. But the thing is, I was lousy when it came to the topic of cancer pre-diagnosis, and never had anyone particularly close I had to figure out how to be with.
I have no idea how I would have been, but I am guessing there would have been a level of suck. I think that is partly what allows me to be compassionate.
Another piece is that I would much rather release the valve between me and someone else with the awkward, and not so surprising, truth. I know they feel a sense of relief, but the fact is, so do I. You can't do anything about a situation or a person of they won't get past the wall of silence they erect.
That person asked me at some point what List they were on. They wondered if they were on my Sh*t List. I told them they were on a list of their name. In other words, there is no pecking order.
I also explained that I am all too used to things like this, and that going forward, they were gonna do what they were gonna do. I would consider contact a bonus/gravy.
Does this apply to all situations and people? I was thinking about that, and the answer is another blog post in the making.