Ask any survivor and they will tell you that it is hard to hear of the passing of other women who have struggled with any form of cancer. If you know the person, or had any life interaction with them it is particularly hard.
Now maybe it is just because I am on Tamoxifen and some days emotions are just magnified, but I find myself very upset this morning, and yes, I will write about it. I can’t decide right at this moment if I am more upset than offended, which (again) in part is why I am writing about it.
The other day I wrote about the cycle of life and two losses I had experienced personally. I had written in both cases that these losses were women I found brave in their struggle and inspirational in their own right. They were women who weren’t my closest friends, but in both instances had just been part of the fabric of my everyday life for many years.
When you are a survivor of cancer, that fabric of everyday life is a big deal. It often represents normalcy in your world when things like surgery, treatment, post treatment, and whatnot turns it upside down. When you face a cancer diagnosis, you face your own mortality for the first time no matter how old you are. Mortality is something we all dance with, even every time a friend, acquaintance, or loved one passes. But when you receive a diagnosis of cancer it takes on a whole new sharpness. You feel it in Technicolor.
As those who have read my blog since the beginning know, I have been honest and open about my disease, my surgery, my treatment, my life post everything and while taking Tamoxifen. I chose to be open, which is a shock to many still. I chose to be open so I could remain positive. Also part of what helped me remain positive were some women who inspired me along the way.
Today my positivity is shaken to the core. I received a message this morning from a mutual friend regarding one of the women I had written about. Even though there is an obituary out there on the Internet for this person and a public viewing and memorial service, and even though when you die like it or not you become part of a public record , and even though this breast cancer blog is widely read and all-around respected, these people whom I have never met and am trying desperately to respect have told my friend that they want me to edit the post I wrote. In essence to make one of these women who touched my life disappear.
I cannot begin to express how utterly offended and hurt I feel. I am a writer, it is how I express myself, and I feel like I am being told how to grieve. And I am also upset that they sent their message through a friend. How I feel about this might very well affect another relationship I care about.
And how I feel about this is that I can’t and shouldn’t have to change what I wrote. There was nothing immoral, illegal, or untoward about what I wrote. It was a tribute to women I knew who were inspirational on some level to me. I don’t just write about random people. These people touched my life, and I am now struggling with the fact that while I understand these other people are grieving, I also understand how all of this makes me feel.
I am sorry to say, that I think for the time being I have to go with how I feel. I am not some awful person. I am a woman who survived breast cancer. And I am filing all of this under unintentional ignorance.
Hopefully the family will come to see your post as a beautiful tribute. That’s how I read it.
(hit enter too fast!) Maybe a nice compromise would be to remove the last name and use only her initial ? I’m honestly not sure what I would do in your shoes. Tough one.
I am not doing anything. This woman told me about her cancer before I barely even knew her, so she wasn’t keeping it a secret. And I resent being told how to grieve, even if I totally get this is her family. There’s an obituary, that in and of itself is public along with the memorial service and viewing.
You’ve done nothing wrong. Your post was a beautiful tribute, and you’re right–no one has the right to tell another how to grieve. Your blog is just that: yours. If other people don’t like what they read here, they can keep moving. I’ve got your back, girl.
Don’t mess with Texas! Thank you for weighing in on this, I look to you as a fellow writer/blogger who also is just very common sense and her approach to most things
Although this was a nice tribute, the family may have been concerned that the security of her home may have been compromised, as well as their own grieving process. Although obituaries are public knowledge, they are mainly to inform those who wish to pay their respects. If it were me, I would understand and respect the family’s concerns.
Your run the same risk with putting an obituary in the paper. Also nowhere does it say she was the sole inhabitant of her home does it?
It was a beautiful tribute but the problem i would have is i would not want the picture of the house up online and i would appreciate the no last names. i am so deeply saddened that knowing how private she was, it was HER decision to put her life WHERE she wants it. Not someone else’s decision. Any FRIEND would know that. So sorry that now that she is gone, she doesn’t have control over what people post who DON’T have her permission.
So you knew her then? And who are you? You are calling me out for my opinion yet you don’t seem to want anyone to know who you are. I am sure your e-mail address is made up, and if I really wanted to I could trace your IP. But I don’t care. I did nothing wrong, never said my photo was her house (I take lots of photos of old houses from public streets – I love cool houses) . If she was that private then the family should have bagged the whole public obituary thing. Careful “anyone” on telling people how to live