A woman and a man sit on opposite ends of a phone and wave to each other

Give a Call

This morning as I took my walk I thought of a friend who lost her husband to cancer a few years ago. I have reached out to her over the years, but not often and I wondered why.

I think part of it was that we were boating friends and only saw each other occasionally outside of the marina. I also knew she had many friends and it seemed she was closer to them. I thought she would probably want support from them instead of me.

Still, looking back, I wish I reached out more. I know I would have made myself available if I thought she needed me, but she never reached out and I didn't as often as I should have.

Knowing what I know now, I definitely should have tried a little more to stay in touch.

Cancer is lonely

But I’m also writing this because some family and friends may not know how lonely cancer, including blood cancer, can be. Maybe they think giving you time and space is the right thing to do or maybe, like me, they think you’ll call if you need them. Unless your family or friends have gone through something similar, they may not understand the importance of companionship during a cancer journey.

Even if, like me, they have - they may still feel unsure with how to help or whether or not to call. They may also think they are doing the right thing by giving space. And depending on you and how you feel, they may be right.

They may really like your company

But what if they’re not right? What if you would really like to have their company? Here is my suggestion. Give them a call. Let them know how important they are to you and, if you are able to, let them know you need their help. Sometimes people just need an invitation or an eye opener to to see what is needed. You could call and just invite them over for tea, a glass of wine, or a walk.

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Reach out anyway

I was never quite sure of when to call or if I even should. Was she busy, did she have company, was I intruding? I should have called and let her answer those questions, but I didn’t. Now I’ll never know.

Let them know you want them in your life

There’s a good possibility you will lose some of your friends once they find out you have cancer. Some family members may even disappear. It’s hard to know why, but you don’t need those people in your life. However, before you let them go, maybe reaching out once to let them know you would like them to remain in your life might be wise.

I don’t know if my friend needed me or not. She didn’t ask and I didn’t offer and I feel bad about that. I can’t go back and change the past, but I did reach out to her today to see if we can catch up. I hope she takes me up on my offer. Even if it’s been awhile, reaching out may be the best thing to rekindle a friendship that wasn’t meant to end. If it was, then move on. They're already gone. Do what’s in your heart and what will make you feel good - whatever that is.

Wishing you health and happiness.

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