There is a saying that goes “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. When I was a child, I was puzzled by this as I took the ‘in need’ part to mean the friend. During the last few weeks, the true meaning of this saying has been brought into sharp focus for me.
To say my friends have been amazing over the last few weeks would be a gross understatement. I have been overwhelmed, humbled, astonished by the love and kindness shown to me. From dear friends who I have known for many decades (you could call them bosom buddies) to those I have met more recently to those I know online but have never met in real life… they have all, without exception, been wonderful.
I know how fortunate I am to have this web of support around me. Many people face cancer alone. I hope they know that there are people… strangers like me… thinking of them and hoping they find love and comfort in their hours, days, weeks, months, years of need.
When we are told by someone that they have cancer, we don’t know what to say. And that’s fine. It is rubbish news and there is nothing anyone can say to make it better. Would that there were…
However, when you are faced with this, please don’t let a lack of appropriate words preclude you from saying something. Speak from your heart, even if you say what you feel might be ‘the wrong thing’. If words desert you completely, the simple phrase ‘I don’t know what to say’ is perfect. Then, whether literally or metaphorically, be there to walk alongside your friend.