From the beginning of their illness till several years after their deaths and sometimes even now, their illness was a story that lived in my head. It was a story that looked for opportunities to be told again and again. It wasn’t that I intentionally told my story to everyone whether or not they wanted to hear it. I really understand that some people did not want to hear the details of our crisis, and that was OK.
However, I found that when I was around someone who was interested and would listen, then I found myself starting at the beginning of the story and unable to stop until I reached the end. It was like a faucet that I couldn’t shut off.
I had never before experienced this compulsion. This desire, this need to share my story about my parents from beginning to end over and over again, in the same way, saying the same things to anyone who will listen.
After talking to families of patients on the oncology floor when my parents were hospitalized, I realized that I was not alone. Every family had a story and time after time I listened to their stories from beginning to the point their family member was in their treatment or recovery at that time.
I have a precious friend who one day shared with me the story of her mother’s passing away at least fifteen years ago. It took her 30 minutes to tell me the story, but once again she did not stop, could not stop until she got to the end.
You know, I really think we have a need to ‘pick up’ the emotions surrounding our story, feel them once again as we talk, and then release them to the back of our mind for a while……. I believe this to be a good thing. As long as we understand that not everyone wants to hear everything and most people don’t want to hear it multiple times. We must, of course, be considerate of them.
This ‘story-telling realization’ helped me understand myself and my need to talk, talk, and talk some more about my family’s cancer story, but I also began to be understanding when others had a need to talk, talk, and talk some more about their family’s story. We all have one or one day will have one, you know.