My Seventh Friend
He left, and I felt loved!
My first friend came and expressed his shock by saying, "I can't believe that you have cancer. I always thought you were so active and healthy."
He left, and I felt alienated and somehow very "different."
My second friend came and brought me information about a variety of cancer treatments. He said, "Whatever you do, don't take chemotherapy. It's a poison!"
He left, and I felt scared and confused.
My third friend came and tried to answer my "whys" with the statement, "Perhaps God is disciplining you for some sin in your life."
He left, and I felt guilty.
My fourth friend came and told me, "If your faith is just great enough, God will heal you."
He left, and I felt that my faith must be inadequate.
My fifth friend came and told me to remember that "all things work together for good."
He left, and I felt angry.
My sixth friend never came at all.
I felt sad and alone.
My seventh friend came and held my hand and said, "I care, I'm here, I want to help you through this."
To My Friend
Just be yourself, be near, and persevere with me.
I know this word cancer is frightening to you. It is to me also. . . .
You ask what you can do for me. There are many things, but perhaps the most important are these.
Please do not stay away because of fear. I'm afraid also. I need you near to know that I'm not alone.
There are times when I will want to talk about my cancer, sometimes not.
But, most of all, just be yourself, be near, and persevere with me.
I know it will not always be easy for you, but I thank you for caring and for being my friend!
Linda Mae Richardson
Sixteen-year melanoma survivor
From Silver Linings: The Other Side of Cancer, published by the Oncology Nursing Press, Inc.