Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Why You May Not Get a Thank You From Me

There are times when it’s extremely difficult to find words that accurately convey a certain thought or feeling – even for me! Sometimes in the act of looking at the words themselves, you’re left with a feeling that something’s just “missing”. Such is the case when I read these two words:

Thank you

Now, this phrase is one that shouldn’t be unfamiliar to most people (although, sadly, I have encountered my share of people who could use a quick refresher!), yet somehow when I look at it, it’s just not enough. I’ve tried thanks, gracias, danke, merci, mahalo, grazie, much obliged, cheers, and even “back at ya” but no luck.

Over the last 10 months, I have been so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by acts of kindness from friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers. Cancer can be extremely isolating, yet somehow the whole “it takes a village” philosophy stood up, took over and surrounded us with support and love that was truly beyond my comprehension. For Type A personalities like me, it can be extremely difficult to hand over the reins and ask for help at any point, even when faced with a challenge like facing – and beating – cancer. It can be extremely easy to push people away in an attempt to prove how strong, independent and capable a person can still be.

I’m so glad my ‘village’ didn’t listen.

So even though these two words will never fully convey the sincere appreciation, gratitude and love behind them, I would be remiss not to take the opportunity to provide a special “shout out” to the best support network a person could have.

Thank you for the countless emails, cards, voicemail messages, tweets and more that not only served as a continued reminder of the support that surrounded me but also kept me engaged and connected with the ‘real world’.

Thank you for the amazing meals, snacks and desserts that magically appeared on my doorstep a few times a week during times of intense treatments. It was such a relief to have one less thing to worry about – and has now become quite a challenge as I attempt to replicate some of the incredible meals we were all treated to!

Thank you for the random surprise gifts that showed up on occasion – the lattes & lemon poppyseed loaves, the books, magazines & DVDs, the bottles of wine, the chocolate treats, the “just because” gifts… All the things that somehow miraculously arrived when I was at my lowest points and served their purpose by lifting my spirits to get through another day… with a smile.

Thank you to the incredibly talented individuals in my life who shared their gifts with us by capturing positive memories during a less-than-ideal time. From beautiful family portraits at the onset of the journey to celebratory pictures commemorating the end of the treatment process, I felt so incredibly blessed to have our lives documented in such a creative and amazing fashion – by such creative and amazing individuals.

Thank you for the company – whether it was catching a ride to various treatments or appointments, or just hanging out on the couch watching bad TV, it’s an incredibly comforting experience to pass such unpleasant times with such amazing people.

Thank you to those people who just “did” rather than “asked”. Now don’t get me wrong – when your life is in constant turmoil, any positive thought, energy and prayer is always appreciated. And sometimes it can be difficult to know what people truly want or need. But it was such a relief for me (in a weird non-Type A sort of way) to just have things done for me, rather than have to figure out what could be done. Not having to schedule, ask or even think can definitely be a blessing!

Thank you for remembering my family – the phone calls & emails to my rockstar husband just to make sure he was alright and had someone to talk to if he needed it; the playdates, activities & even little gifts for my amazing little boy so that his world could remain as “normal” and “fun” as possible. After spending so much time as the unwanted centre of attention, it meant so much to me that the two centres of my world could take their own much-deserved turn on the pedestal.

Thank you for keeping things normal – when something shakes up the normal routines of life like this, it can be quite normal for all thoughts, activities and conversations to revolve around the situation at hand. Obviously, I have had no problem discussing any part of my journey to-date, however it’s definitely a welcomed change of pace to chat about the crummy weather, bratty kids or the crazy lineup at the drive through. Just because my “normal” was put on hold, doesn’t mean anyone else’s has to be – it’s nice to stay connected.

So there you have it – some of the countless reasons why “thank you” just doesn’t cut it. This is the reason why all of the incredible people in my world who helped us through this won’t get a thank you. Instead, please know that you have touched my life and my heart with your kindness and have helped to make this journey memorable for the right reasons, rather than the painful ones.

 “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” Oscar Wilde

*Photo credit: www.tumblr.com


  1. It's so hard to just leave it at thank you, isn't it? When I think of the people who helped me through the very hard times - basically I just want to cry and hug them all. :) Though I suspect not everyone would be comfortable with that. Your post is lovely, and pouring over with gratitude. I'm so glad you had so much support. ~Catherine


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