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Monday, August 06, 2012

On cheery cancer culture in the media

In an online conversation today with a few friends regarding the file Pink Ribbons Inc.,  I responded with a comment long enough to be a blog post. Thought it worth posting here:

I have lost a few people very close to me to cancer and I can say that they displayed total humanity and vulnerability while going through it. They died but there was no failure in that. It is what it is, it's painful and raw and sad and not pretty, but it's life and death and all that comes with it. We are so oriented to want comfort, beauty, convenience, and safety, but all of those things are temporary and, at times, totally subjective. We don't like having any of those things threatened. We like to be comfortable and reassured. I suppose there are very few things that are "real" in our existence and in our experience.

Mindfulness, being present in the now, kindness whenever possible, gratitude, curiosity, creativity, honesty, love, gentleness, community, friendship, forgiveness. That's plenty to strive for. The people in my life who have been ravaged by cancer showed all of these characteristics while they were sick. Sometimes they were angry and depressed and lashed out or pushed people away. In the end, though, certain things remain with the people left behind. Struggling with/dealing with/beating/dying from cancer is, from my limited observation, a very real battle, but it's just about striving for life.

10 out of 10 people are going to die one way or the other. All of us. No exceptions. It's terrifying at times but it's also okay in a strange way. I don't know what I believe spiritually any more but I do believe in what I see of the seasons, of life, death, and rebirth. Energy. All that. So having said all of that . . . here's to honesty, whether or not it's comfy, and here's to loving each other and just being part of each other when the going gets tough, even if it's bloody and scary and smells bad.