The world is very keen on keeping things positive. Some people are a little weird about thinking about whatever they deem to be “negative.” They act as if thoughts are contagious, and if they can avoid others’ negative thoughts then those uncomfortable things won’t come live at their house. I understand avoiding a pessimist that can only see the worst in everything, and I can understand not wanting to be around someone who is always angry or sad. But what if something genuinely difficult is going on and you want to express your feelings? Are we supposed to lie and say that everything is peachy when it’s not? Are we supposed to suppress our feelings to make another feel comfortable? Apparently so.
A family member of mine is terminally ill, and I’ve discovered that many people avoid discussing such a thing. If I don’t say it out loud, it isn’t true, right? I don’t feel like I’m being negative; I feel like I’m being honest. One acquaintance will ask me how the situation is going but then blows air at me like a silent whistle during my entire answer. She acts like she’s afraid that any pain in my answer will float toward her to settle in her life if she does not take evasive measures. Interesting. It’s difficult to put a happy spin on things, I have to admit, so I choose not to talk to her about it. She’s young; maybe she isn’t ready for the real world when it hurts.
Another family member wants to deny that death is the ultimate ending because she only wants to think about happy things. Okay, I can see that she is unsure about how to handle it, but welcome or not, this is the situation we are given and the one with which we must cope. If only happy words are permitted, there will be a time when I will have little to say. Thank goodness there are still some good words for now.
I have to admit I’m a bit confused by the reactions people have. I try to be honest with myself even when it hurts, and I expect everyone else to be the same – a mistake. When I don’t have rosy news to report, I guess it’s time to change the subject. I can’t handle any more people blowing at me like I’m a curse. It leaves me feeling like I wasn’t heard and questioning the friendship.
Those of you who have been in this situation before – I’d love to hear any advice you have for my family. Thanks.
I spoke with the woman who was blowing at me when discussing the difficult issues. She said that it was a stress-relieving activity for her — nothing more. I’m so glad I asked!