I get asked how my dad is doing roughly 10 times a day, give or take. And I'm not complaining. It means the world to me that people care, and I would MUCH rather have people reach out and ask me then to ignore the elephant in a room and leave me feeling lonely and forgotten.
So, I don't mind you asking.
But here's the thing you should know.
You will not always like the answer.
I wish I could say "he's great!". But that's just not true.
He's really, really sick, and on any given day his status could decline further.
So when I'm asked how he's doing, and I say "not great", I see the look on your face. The sadness. And I quickly add little caveats like "but we're just taking it one day at a time!" or "but he's in good spirits!" because I don't want to leave you feeling sad or upset.
When I try to tell you his latest update, I feel like I just snowball into this long conversation that you didn't really ask to be engaged in.
The truth is that this is a really challenging time for all of us, most especially my mom, and that at any given moment we could break or snap at you because we have more emotions running through our veins than we know what to do with. The truth is that we just need you to listen, to help us get the self care we all so desperatley need, to understand that it's hard to make long term plans because cancer is the most unpredictable little booger. We need you to offer something tangible to do, instead of asking if we need anything, because that question is much to broad to try to answer. The truth is that when you ask us how we are doing, or how my dad is doing, we're scared to respond and we may either babble on too much or give you a quick, closed off response. The truth is we just need our friends to embrace us, literally and figuratively.
As hard as it is when you ask, don't stop, or don't feel like you can't or you shouldn't. It's far more hurtful when you ignore it. I know, it's confusing. I know you don't always know what to say. And that's okay. Just be there. Preferably with open arms, at least for me, because I like hugs.