By: Ariel Fixler
The words denial and beguile rhyme in an off-putting Dr. Seuss (and in an astute Freudian way).
What do I mean by that verbose statement?
I mean those statements are in a sense, well very much tomfoolery meshed with optimism, mixed with drop of denial. They form a perfectly pleasant and rather banal cocktail that goes down easy and makes coping “easier”. No tricky truth telling hangovers. It goes down smooth right? WRONG.
Whether it be celebrating you or reminding to reach out on a recognized social occasion or holiday, people do not know what to say. You can’t send the usual pleasantries you would send to everyone and anyone on these common occasions. It has to be specialized and that usually is traced with tinges of optimism and a lack of reality of what is really going on.
HERE ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES:
“Good news will be coming you way soon”.
“Since your message is humorous I can tell you sound like and are back to your old self. I am assuming you are doing well since you responded, are writing me and reached out. There are medical miracles all the time so I know you and your dad will be one of those miracles. Terminal is not a death sentence”.
“I hope you are feeling GOOD”.
“Be well and get better”.
“I hope you are well”.
“I hope all is good in your neck of the woods”.
“Miracles happen every day you will be one of them”.
“This year is your year”.
“We will celebrate soon”.
“Don’t give up”.
“You have never been a quitter, so don’t quit now”
“Keep being determined”.
“You have overcome so much, just keep doing that”.
This list goes on. Notice a pattern?
These are phrases that are SUPPOSED TO normalize the patient. That shine hope on a rather hopeless situation. Like the Rihanna song that everyone used for his or her wedding clip videos, “We found love in a hopeless place”.
But did you really? I think you found LOVE period.
Those phrases and actions are proactive and preemptive. However they do not address your real wants, desires and most importantly FEARS.
Do you know how many times I had people who I thought were more based in reality (because they had faced illness and death in their own family and inner circle), who basically were pushing their own needs on me.
Their wants and desires and in turn were showing the lack of awareness of what a patient needs to hear and does make us do an eye roll. I know they did not want to experience loss again and were in self-protective mode. However, it was accidentally showing a keen lack of awareness.
We don’t want to mumble, “You just don’t get it”. Denial is river in Egypt. Beguiling is a border town not based in real support or reality. Comfort is a beautiful city based in reality.
Want to be helpful? Don’t send us phrases you think will push us to get better. Don’t push us at all! Don’t put your needs on us.
The greatest gift you can give is to wish, peace, comfort, support and most of all REST. Let us not force our bodies to fight for YOU. Let us decide who we want to fight for and if we want to fight at all. Rest is such an underrated source of ESCAPE and COMFORT. Let us be in tune to our desires and let our body and mind communicate when they are ready.
You want to helpful and be mindful? Don’t send us commonplace pleasantries and banal assertions. Be real, be truthful, SHOW us know you understand. Let us know you will be there and SUPPORT us, whatever the journey we decide is best for ever-lasting peace and comfort. That will show you GET IT.