She’s athletic, smart, friendly. And only 22. And she’s dying of cancer.
My friend, we’ll call her Ann, has told me about her friend, let’s call her Z., the one who is very ill. Ann has been visiting Z. regularly. About one month ago, Z. took a turn for the worse. She’s been fading in and out of consciousness. She’s been throwing up a lot. And fever has afflicted her. Ann has been visiting Z. almost every day.
Ann’s husband, we’ll call him hubby, has been concerned about Ann getting involved. Hubby has suggested maybe Ann shouldn’t go over so much. Maybe she shouldn’t have gotten involved; it’s not family, after all. And it really has begun to effect Ann. She’s been less focused on her work, and sadness has crept into her daily demeanor. Ann’s mother died of cancer a few years back, and the old feelings are resurfacing.
Or is resurfacing the wrong word, and the feelings have been there all along? Maybe resonating would be a better word: to resonate, to evoke a feeling that is already there. Anyway, I can understand Ann’s need to get involved; how wonderful that she can share with this family that is suffering so. But I can also understand that hubby wants to protect Ann.
Last week she went to Z.’s house and sang some favorite songs. Everyone there had a good time. For the moment.
Can one care too much? Perhaps the tendency to shy away from difficult situations like this one is self-protective; not everyone has Ann’s ability to share deep pain. Also, not every family is as receptive as Z.’s. Sometimes people need a script to help others. And sometimes families need a script on how to receive help.