Last Tuesday started off as a very pleasant fall morning, with the sun shining bright and a lukewarm breeze in the air. I had some old-school tunes buzzing on the radio on my drive to work and was ready to get my day started.
Then, out of the blue, I received unsettling news that threw a bit of a wrench in my morning. A close family friend had been diagnosed with cancer – and it completely knocked me off my feet. I felt a whirlwind of emotions since I know all too well what it feels like to have a family member go through that kind of trauma. I was just in such disbelief. How could this happen? Why? Once I calmed down and had a better understanding of the situation, I just in awe at the incredible strength of this person more than anything else. Their level of positivity, strength and normalcy really humbled me and just made me gain even more love and respect for them.
I had reached out to them a while back to say hello and hadn’t heard back, but never thought much of it since we all get busy in our every day lives. Never did I suspect something so much more serious was actually going on – another stark reminder that you truly have no idea what someone is dealing with when you’re out of touch for an extended period of time. (In another recent post of mine, I talked about the importance of reconnecting and fostering healthier relationships with your peers.)
So I spent the better part of the day just speaking to other family members and trying to get up to date on the situation and just did my best to extend my well wishes and support. In a time like this, it can be a difficult decision to decide to reach out to other members of the family – because on one hand, you don’t want to bring up what is already weighing heavily on their minds, but at the same time, you wouldn’t want to stay completely quiet either. Honestly, you can’t lose by simply sending a one-liner extending your well wishes to someone in a time of difficulty. They will, at the very least, see the message and hopefully get a smile on their face.
Personally, I am all about reaching out because I want to establish that connection and let that person know I am thinking of them. In this case, I would have reached out much sooner had I known about it sooner, but I totally get it, when you are faced with a very difficult situation, it is crucial to initially have your time and space to process everything. The last thing you want is for people overwhelming you, albeit with good intentions, but it often only adds to your stress. However once some time passes, it should be encouraged to share your story with others so that they can send their positive energy your way and hopefully help lift your spirits. The more you keep to yourself, the more strain it will be on you and it may come across the wrong way to others who are there and willing to support you. But you do need that alone time first, in order to have the strength to talk about your ordeal after.
In this case, not only was my reaching out appreciated, but it felt like it was almost needed as I found myself engrossed in some deep conversations about how everything unravelled. It felt like the people involved just needed someone to talk to, someone to unleash their inner most feelings towards, someone to vent to, and that would not have happened had I not reached out. It was humbling and I was glad I could be there for them.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this Friday happens to be “Wear it Pink” day so I urge you to join me along with so many others and wear pink on Friday and donate whatever you can in support of the continued fight against cancer. My workplace is holding a special lunch in support of the cause and we are all going to wear pink bra stickers to show our support. If you have the opportunity to, perhaps suggest something similar for your own team at work – it’s for a great cause and a little will truly go a long way.
The events from yesterday reinforced, once again, how fragile life is and how important it is to remain humble and appreciate each day as it comes.
We have come so far in the fight against cancer. Together, with all of our positivity, light, and continuous love and support for each other, we will overcome this battle once and for all.