The process of telling others about John and cancer has been… a process. We learned about the cancer this summer almost to the day his children flew out of the state to spend 6 weeks with their mom and extended family. Since John (rightly) felt so strong about informing his kids, in person and before informing others, we spent most of those 6 weeks privately adjusting to the news ourselves. We included our parents and a few select friends and family into our inner circle and then waited and prepared to tell our children. It was simultaneously difficult and oddly freeing not to be inundated with cancer. The one thing our wait did do, was give the two of us time to reorganize around the news and assume a different lifestyle.
We prepared for talking with our children by visiting the counselor who works with the cancer center. We choose to privately and separately share the news with our own kids. The anticipation of sharing with them was equally as intense as actually breaking the news. And now that we are on the other side of it, I can say our kids are dealing with the news, the way they deal with other challenges – each individually in their own ways.
We have since begun sharing out this information gradually. Actually, I’m rather grateful for doing it this way, because it’s made the process a bit more digestible for me. Caring for someone with (having) cancer is such a big thing, sharing the news with others can evoke a range of responses. This reminded me of an article I sent to my friend Kris Patrick, who also has stage IV lung cancer. If you are interested, you can read the article here. It’s titled, How Not to Say the Wrong Thing, and the gist of the article is about how to respond to hearing ‘bad news’.
I like the idea of providing comfort in – to those who are closest/closer to the challenge. And then dumping out – so seeking your own support and kvetching away from the one who is most affected by the trauma.
I am so incredibly grateful to be surrounded by loving, kind and prayerful people. For example, our friends, family, and my cohort from George Fox are fervently praying for John and our families. My friend Stacey has brought us meals during chemo rounds and provides me unending support, guidance and reflection. Our parents and families have been emotionally with us every step of the way. People have pitched in and helped with our kids. And offers of help and support keep coming. I know it takes a village and it’s during these times that the village shows up. Every prayer, positive intention and act of kindness is appreciated.