I have a friend who says that “cancer has been her gift.”
She says that it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
That perspective doesn’t suit me. Despite being optimistic and determined, I am a realist. I see the ugly warts.
I don’t think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me; in fact, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
A gift is something you want to share.
Something you want to give to someone else.
Something you say “Next time I need to give a special gift to show someone I care, this is what I want to give.”
Cancer is not that thing.
The words we use to describe illness, death, and emotion are important– we should choose them carefully.
Cancer is not a gift:
It’s what you get.
It’s what I got.
It’s a twist of fate.
A piece of bad luck.
But once you’ve got it, you have to decide what you’re going to do with it.
You can’t give it away, so you might as well make the best of it.
Fortunately, some good comes with it too.
And one of the best parts is the people you will meet.
Just because you don’t think it’s the best thing,
or a good thing,
doesn’t mean you are a negative person
or a bad person
or any particular kind of person.
In fact, it may mean you are a realistic person.
It may mean you are having a bad day.
Or a good day.
Or just a day.
And you will have those days:
And everything in between.
The days are gifts.
You can celebrate the days.
You should celebrate the days.
But don’t celebrate the disease.
Don’t treat it like a prize.
You are the prize.
You are doing the work.
You get the credit.1
- April 29, 2009 [↩]