Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Question that Crushes

Tomorrow marks 5 years since my mom took her last breath after a 17 month battle with cancer.

I am pretty open to talk about it, but there is one spirit-crushing question that many people ask that puts me on the defense, and makes my heart sink a little deeper into my stomach.

I wanted to write this blog post to caution others who might think to ask this question.   I am hoping that - by reading this - you may have a heart softened toward someone who has lost a loved one to this particular kind of cancer.  I hope to heighten your sensitivity toward a surviving loved one, and how they might feel when asked said question.

So what is the question?

Here is a typical example of how it comes up in conversation:

Person: So where does your family live?
Me: Actually, we're all over the place!  I have a sister in Chicago, brother in Florida, another brother in North Carolina, and my Dad just moved here to Indy.
Person: Wow! And how about your mom?
Me: Oh, my mom is with Jesus.
Person: I'm so sorry.  How did she pass?
Me: She had cancer.
Person: That's terrible.  What kind of cancer?
Me: Lung cancer.
Person: Oh... did she smoke?

And there it is.  "The question."  The person says, "Oh, did she smoke?" but what I hear is, "Oh, did she deserve it?" "Oh, was it preventable?" "Oh, did she bring that upon herself?" "Oh, did she have that coming?"

I understand that for many, that is far from what the question was intended to mean.  However, I think anyone who has lost someone to lung cancer would agree, it is not a fair question.  And honestly, does it really matter?

My mother's family was riddled with cancer.  My grandmother had brain cancer, grandfather had stomach cancer, aunt had colon cancer.... I honestly believe that had it not been lung cancer, a different form of cancer could have taken her life just the same.

So friends, I just wanted to make a quick post about this.  I hope that when confronted with this situation, instead of asking for details, you offer comfort and your sympathies to the one who lost someone they dearly loved to a horrible, ugly disease.

Thank you for reading to the end and tolerating my little vent session. ;)  Please share if you think this would help bring awareness to someone who may not realize the impact of this question.

Much love to all!