I was having a chat to someone a few days ago and we were talking about mums chemo journey and how she’s coping with it. We chatted about how hard it must be for mum to go through and I made the observation that it’s been hard on all of us. Interestingly, my statement was sort of shut down. I was frowned at and got told that “Well, it’s hardest for her because she is going through it.” I smiled and agreed that yes, it is hardest for her and slowly retreated. The comment bugged me for a few reasons: firstly, do you really need to point out to me that it’s hard for mum? It’s not really something I could miss, if you know what I mean. I know it’s difficult for mum because she is the one that is on the receiving end of the chemotherapy and I know that chemotherapy is awful and painful and destroys your body while trying to keep it alive. I got the memo already. Secondly, don’t minimise how hard it is for those that play a supporting role with chemo. One thing that was never pointed out to me when we started this was how hard it would be for me to see what chemo is doing to her. No one warned me about how heartbroken I would be watching my mum shrink from the pain. No one told me how helpless I would feel listening to my mum cry out, literally cry and pray and beg for the pain to stop. And there was definitely no warning about the fact that I would cry so much that I put myself at risk of getting dehydrated! No one warned me about any of that and you know what, it’s HARD! It’s hard to stand by while your watching someone you love and adore and look up to crumble before you, week in and week out. No one has any idea how many times I have sat on my bed at night with my head in my hands asking God if we made the right decision in encouraging mum to do the chemo.
I know people that have lost loved ones to cancer or other terminal illnesses and one thing I would constantly try to make a point of is asking them how THEY were coping with it. How are THEY doing. Because it’s them, the mother, child, wife, partner, brother, friend, that is standing by this person and watching it all happen. Sometimes they can help by providing care and sometimes they can’t. Either way, it’s still hard. Don’t disregard the carer/family/friends because they are struggling as well. Most of the time, the carer puts their life on hold, or makes endless compromises to ensure they can be there to provide the support needed. And it’s not done for the glory, it’s done out of love (for most). I’m not saying that all the focus should be on the person or persons providing the care instead of the person needing it. Not at all. What I’m saying is that it’s hard for everyone involved. I know that people in my life are in this with me; they are carrying my burden and at times are experiencing the pain I feel. People in my life are making adjustments to accommodate my family and I to ensure mum gets first priority. And I appreciate that because for the most part, they don’t see any of it, they just know what’s happening because I tell them.
So yea, it’s hard for mum because she is the one having the chemo treatment. But it’s also hard for the rest of us. If I’m being out of line or selfish, please call me on it, otherwise, please save the rebukes and negativity because honestly, things are hard enough as they are. Instead, give me a hug, or chocolate, or a smile. Better yet, give me all three!