Not the time for platitudes and sugar coating

At work earlier in the week I was asked to join a couple of colleagues in a meeting room as they needed my help.

Intrigued, I walked in, we sat down and the woman opposite explained she'd been diagnosed the day before with breast cancer. She was articulate, beautiful and vunerable. My heart went out to her, it took me back to the place I'd been nearly 18 months before. I wanted to show her I cared. Wanted to let her know I knew what she was going through and only too well. I wanted to cry with her, try and share the pain and anguish.

However I knew that wasn't going to really help, she didn't need a relative stranger to cry with her or even for her. She has friends, family, loved ones to do that with. So I sucked up my emotions and listened.

And then I had a choice. I hope I made the right one.

I said what she was going through was shit, total shit. It wasn't going to get any easier for a while and it wasn't fair. She'd experience pain, physically and emotionally. She'd do a lot of crying, a lot of why me's, a lot of appointments, tests, procedures, needles, lots of needles and even more waiting. Waiting in waiting rooms, hospital rooms, her living room. It's totally and utterly shit.


She'd also get to meet new people, special people. People who'll treat her, people who'll amaze and inspire her. She'll strengthen existing relationships, make lasting and binding new ones. Learn what a truly amazing thing the human body is. That although it goes wrong, it also has a resilience and it can cope with so much. That she'll cope, with lots more than she ever thought possible. She'll learn new things, new skills, see life differently.

It's shit, it's difficult but she was strong.

Of course, I wasn't that articulate, there were lots of face crunching as I tried to describe things interspersed with 'umms' and stilted sentences as I attempted to paint a picture and describe how I felt. But you get the picture.

I don't think I was asked into that room for sugar coating and platitudes but for honesty.

I hope i made the right choice, that I made a difference and helped in a small way.

But what do you think? What would you say? What advice have you for my new friend.

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