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!
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