Cancer Inspiration Journal

The Girlfriend’s Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Ashli Brehm

I’m working on a project for my personal blog. It’s what I’m calling my “Great Goodness Giftaway.”  And one part of it is alllll about girlfriends. Because as if I hadn’t already had it spelled out for me by the universe throughout my 33 years, since being diagnosed with cancer two months ago, I’ve determined that girlfriends can make pretty much anything possible. ANYTHING.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

Because my husband, he’s the bomb. He is my person. And my parents + in-laws + family = irreplaceable. But my girlfriends, well, they don’t really owe me anything. They could, at any time, walk away from this situation guilt-free. They aren’t bound by blood or vows. They just happen to have met me at some point and thought, we have stuff in common, let’s hang out. And now, now they are dealing with my cancer. 

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

Shortly after diagnosis, I told one of my very best friends, “Btw. Sorry about the cancer.”

And she asked, “Why would you be sorry for that?” To which I replied, “I’m just sorry that all you people have to be on my merry-go-round. But boy, am I glad you are. I’d get too dizzy alone.”

And then, she said the most perfect words {okay. Actually, we were texting. Because we’re both mamas. And so, texting}.

“Honored to be on this ride with you. Scary and sad at times, but it’s going to be quite the journey, with one hell of an awesome ending.”

And I loved her for that. Because she said the truth. That she is my friend. She is scared. And sad. But it will be okay. And she truly believes that. Because we all have to believe that. I can’t have people in my village who don’t. And she knows that. And she knew that she could be 100% honest. And say what she was feeling. Because she knows me.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

Because your girlfriends get you. They don’t always know exactly how you’re feeling. But they get you. They know the days you just can’t pick up the phone. But they still leave you messages. They know the days you need them to be at your door step post haste.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

They know when you need a coffee. And they know when you need a text of a sarcastic meme. They are the girls who go wig shopping with you. The ones who let you ugly cry sob into their shoulder and snot on their shirts. The ones who offer to wash your laundry. Fill your fridge with meals. Send you flowers and cupcakes and hats and bbq sauce and pomegranates from across the nation, or across the world. They’re the ones who even though you can’t see them in person, you feel their presence daily. And they call you an inspiration.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

They invite you over for meals because they know you can’t look at your bedroom walls any longer. They are the girls who rake your leaves and clean your toilets. The ones who offer you rides to church. Bring you calories because you need them. Make you smile every single time you realize you get to have them on your team. And they are the ones who pray for you daily.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

These girlfriends are the ones who offer to play “Driving Miss Ashli” for you. They are the girls who don’t care that you never want to wear a bra again or allow you to walk around with your chia pet head in full form. The ones who tell you they will use their personal leave to care for you after surgery. And sit in chemo with you. They tell you that you rock the bald dome. Take your kids at a moments notice. Wear t-shirts with your name on it. Talk to you about anti-depressants and diarrhea and your post-baby boobs being mushy deflated bags of mashed potatoes. And spend major moolah for a night on the town with you. 

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

The ones who text and PM you with youtube links. And know that a candle or a cup of coffee or just their presence can comfort you more than just about anything. They are the ones who stand by you when you don’t respond because you just can’t talk about it anymore. And the ones who listen when all you want to do is talk about it.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

They run for you. They’d walk through fire for you. They do more than you ever could have expected. And they tell you they are not going anywhere. And they mean it with every fiber of their being.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

So people have asked, “What do I say to someone in my life who has cancer? What do I do to help them?”

And I say, “I don’t know. Just do what my tribe is doing. Just be you. Keep being you. Don’t stop telling them about your kid’s diaper rash because you don’t think it’s as important as cancer. Stop over randomly… you’ll be able to tell if they’re not up for guests. Don’t stop complaining about your job because you think it’s not as hard as chemo. Text them every day if you want… seven times if you please. Bring them gifts or food or do their laundry… whatever makes you feel helpful will make their heart full. Don’t stop crying or laughing or venting because you don’t know if it’s the right thing for them to hear. Just keep being the person you were before they told you they have cancer. Keep being you. And never forget that they will forever feel love for you because they have a newfound love of goodness. Because you are helping them earn their title of survivor. And for them, it’s the biggest title they will ever hold.” 

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

So that’s it. That’s the girlfriend’s guide to having a friend with cancer. And I didn’t even write the guide. My girlfriends {you all know who you are} are writing it, daily. My girlfriends are showing me how to totally rock the role of cancer-girl-BFF… supportive confidante… bestie… tribe member… and cheerleader. They are the people who heard the words, I have cancer, from my lips or from my writing, and came to my side… to my rescue… instead of running straight for the hills. Even when they had no true reason to have to stay.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

There are far too many to even name {And no… it’s not even limited to the gal pals I featured photos of}. But today, I say thank you to allllll my girlfriends. I am sorry about the cancer. But I am thankful you’re on the merry-go-round with me. Because while it’s one heck of a ride, it’s made better with you by my side. And I know deep in the very depths of me that when I say the words, “I’m a survivor,” it will be, in part, because of you. 

The Girlfriend's Guide to Having a Friend With Cancer   www.herviewfromhome.com

About the author

Ashli Brehm

Ashli Brehm = Thirtysomething. Nebraska gal. Life blogger. Husker fan. Creative writer. Phi Mu sister. Breast cancer survivor. Boymom. Premie carrier. Happy wife. Gilmore Girls fanatic. Amos Lee listener. Coffee & La Croix drinker. Sarcasm user. Jesus follower. Slipper wearer. Funlover. Candle smeller. Yoga doer. Pinterest failer. Anne Lamott reader. Tribe member. Goodness believer. Life enthusiast.

Follow me at http://babyonthebrehm.com/