Sunday, October 7, 2012

What not to say

It is awkward to know what to say to a friend who is going through something horrible. You don't want to pretend its not happening but how much should you acknowledge the elephant in the room?

There have been some supers and bloopers over the last months.

Hospital art

The worst was a checkout operator who noticed the beanie and spirals in my eyes so felt she had to tell me about her sister and mother both dying of breast cancer. Then she added that it had been devastating for the family and asked if I had a rewards card!!! It was okay. In fact it was so ludicrously clumsy that it was funny.

A green complexion can compromise the whole look.

Then there was the well meaning friend who commented as I picked up my daughter that 'it' had taken years off me. I hope not, I thought to myself, and wondered how crappy I must have been looking before chemo! Maybe hair does not suit me.

Maybe I'm more of a hat person.

My all time favourite so far was my four year old nephew's comment. His Mum and I had been chatting on the verandah and I had removed my hot hat and forgotten about it. John, who is a devoted fan of Plants versus Zombies, walked out, observed for a while and said, in an admiring voice, "Aunty Annie, you look like a zombie!" I chose to receive this as a great compliment, the way I decided it was intended. Next time I visit I'll wear a fancy, contact paper zombie tie like his. 
It will take years off me!

Aunty Zombelini

24 comments:

  1. I think you are incredibly patient.

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  2. I agree with DMC - you are patient . In fairness to the checkout lady, people find cancer so confronting they freak out a bit and blurt the first thing which comes into their head. You do look pretty good with your No-Hair which is what my son used to call me, as if my baldness was something i could take on and off.

    Hope you are going okay.

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    1. The checkout lady was an anomaly. The nephew was a delight!
      I'm going just fine without that 'orrible chemo to deal with.
      Thanks!

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  3. it is so true that even with the best intentions people tend to say clumsy and potentially hurtful things when they feel confronted. that you have the wisdom and the humour to write this post and that I get to read it makes my monday morning happier. re: the hair/hat/baldness dilemma...rose does not have much hair and it makes her look very youthful too ;)
    p.s the labels on this post are my fave.

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    1. I told my Dad not to be upset about the hair thing because it was how I was when he met me.
      Although apparently I did also have a hairy back!

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  4. If we ever meet I'm sure I'll say something really awkward and start whistling Thriller or something equally zombie-like. I love your sense of humour about it all though. And Ghandi Warhol is brilliant! xx

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    1. We would probably just start talking about Italian bark glass or fat German vases...

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  5. I hope you're okay too. I haven't seen you since you lost your locks, which is good because I'd probably say something dumb if I did. It's hard to know what is the right thing to say sometimes. Though some people are just plain stupid and insensitive. Take it all in your stride and when the day comes that this is all behind you, it's your job to say the right thing to the next woman with cancer that you see at the supermarket. The one 'right/sensitive/meaningful' comment will outweigh all the thoughtless ones. (Remember the lady with the roast?)

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    1. You would just cry, you big softie!
      Then you'd laugh because you were crying.
      Then you'd probably agree that I look better without hair!

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  6. Don't come to Samoa, most days I am out with the boys they ask me if I am their grandmother, I have now decided to take the easy way out and say yes. I think it will be much less annoying when I then don't have to confront their absolute mouth open gobsmacked ook of shock when I explain I am the mother. You wear it well.

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    1. Gobsmacked look, I am not wearing my glasses.

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  7. I've done it myself, said the wrong thing when I was trying to say the right thing, and then made it worse by attempting damage limitation!

    I've never forgotten the day my cousin's small son said, in a loud voice, at a family wedding, "Auntie Annie has a chin like Derek doesn't she Mummy". Derek is their tortoise!

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  8. It's always hard to know what to say as everyone is so different. I love that you can see the fun in it. Expecially your nephews comment - they really just say whatever comes into their heads at that age. You really do do the no hair look very well. Gorgeous pic of you and shorty too.

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  9. pretty sure i have probably babbled something insensitive at some stage because I can waffle a bit.
    Not too delve into my past but my favourite insensitve comment was when a friend asked how i was doing and i responded with ok but i just cant stop crying. Her response was "well you always were a bit sensitive" and being sooooo sensitive I was offended.
    On the flipside at the same occasion a true friend in fine form noted when I started to quiver (during a sermon) and started to tell me a really funny joke about smartie poo.It was just what I needed and I have never forgotten.

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    1. Please tell me the joke about smartie poo in case my lip quivers!

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  10. Annie, everytime I leave a comment on your blog I have to try and decide whether I've said the right thing or the wrong thing. Just hope that you know that along with everybody else around here I'm trying really hard to say the 'right' thing.

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    1. Don't try, Fiona. You couldn't say the wrong thing. In fact there is no wrong thing. These were just a couple of comments I found funny, especially John's. Say whatever you want and I'll just be pleased to hear from you. Really!

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  11. Oh gawd, it's so horrible! The number of people that tell me that they know some old granny with emphysema from smoking that died. I did not get a freaking lung disease at 15 from smoking. I wish they'd just learn to zip it!
    PS I think you're a very pretty zombie

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    1. Zombies are way cool at our house!

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  13. I have no problem about the shiny ball point look, but the info that you have/had a hairy back was a little too much infomation.
    BTW - I'm sensitive too.
    But don't let it worry you.
    I've become insensitive to my sensitiveness.

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    1. I would just like to clarify that I met him as a newborn not a twenty year old with my hairy back!
      Then Hugo said "You go" and I said "Lanugo!"

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  14. It's obvious that this post has really hit a raw spot because , I'm sorry to say, I have a third comment.
    The zombie image is perfect. Very now.
    You might say that you're a committed zombie phrenologist.

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