A friend asks if I’ve “picked out” my prosthetic yet, as though I’d have my choice of titanium-plated cyborgiana at my disposal, like some amputee Second Life World of Warcraft character. Another friend, upon hearing my news, utters an unedited, “Oh my God, that’s so depressing!” Over supper, I am asked by another, “So if it goes to the lungs, is it all over?” Regrettably, very possibly, I reply, and when I go on to mention as how they no longer give much radiation for Hodgkin’s he says, “Well, you got twenty-five years out of it,” as if the radiation was a defenseless washing machine I was maligning, and what did I expect, really?
But here is the part I wish I could tattoo on the inside of my eyelids as a reminder for myself:
...But here’s the point I want to make about the stuff people say. Unless someone looks you in the eye and hisses, “You fucking asshole, I can’t wait until you die of this,” people are really trying their best. Just like being happy and sad, you will find yourself on both sides of the equation many times over your lifetime, either saying or hearing the wrong thing. Let’s all give each other a pass, shall we?
Yes let's! Because as much as I get upset when I think someone has said the wrong thing to me, I worry much more about when I think I've said the wrong them to someone else who's suffering. It's all awful and awkward. We're all trying our best. I hope I can always remember that.