An Open Letter To Anyone Who Loves Someone With Cancer

To all of the friends, family and loved ones of someone with cancer: we know how you feel. We understand the sharp pain in your gut, as you are consumed by agony and overwhelmed by a complete loss of control...all while not really knowing if you have the right to feel that way. It’s not you who has cancer. But it is you who has to watch your loved one go through it. It may be a different set of emotions but those emotions are very valid and need to be talked about.

So when we found this open letter on Reddit, we had to share it. It hits the nail right on the head -encompassing that unique position of loving someone and hating the disease in their body, but knowing that the two are now inseparable. This particular post deeply spoke to us because of its striking balance between anonymity and a kind of suffering we, uniquely, can immediately recognize. It speaks to both the individual and the community affected by cancer, and for that reason we're happy to share it with you.

To Anyone Who Loves Someone With Cancer,

      I see you.

      I see your strength and I see your sorrow. I see your stomach churn with hope and worry as you continue your days at work, at school, wondering how to prepare for the crippling unknown.

      And you don't have it. It's not yours to analyze or gauge. You love a person, and that person has it, and sometimes it feels like it has them. And here you sit, reading these words, while they and it live and breathe. And for how long?

      I see you. I see questions and memories flash through your eyes like ticker tape. I see

your confusion and your struggle

      . I see your fear.

      How do we interact with the world? What is the correct response? Are we entitled to one? It is not our experience but they are ours. They are our parents, our grandparents, our husbands and wives, our best friends. They are ours and this is not and there is no rule book when there is no cure so here we are. Lost. Encouraged by well wishes and convinced it will all be fine.

      And you can't see it. And you can't feel it.

      Until you're enveloped by 30 seconds of silence and survival instincts and your brain tries to

prepare your heart for the worst

      . For a world without...

      And now you are a traitor. You've broken an unspoken promise to not go here. Some understanding that you will commit your thoughts to a world without it but not without them.

      And you feel everything.

      I see you. I see you choking back tears and wearing a mask of synthetic comfort. I see you and I have nothing for you. But

you are not alone.

      Fuck cancer.

What are some of the feelings you went through if you loved someone who was fighting cancer? Share in the comments below or sign up here.

Photo courtesy of Aily Torres.