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If I hear these one more time grrrr.(vent)

Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

If one more person says these things to me I swear I'm going to punch them in the face, then repent later. Ppl repeat these sayings without thinking about what they really mean.They try to sound religious, but it makes them look nuts, imo.

"everything happens for a reason." Oh really, and what reasoning is that.
Someone is dx with cancer, what's the reason?
A baby dies, what's the reason?
Depression, suicide, and countless other sucky things in life.

"what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Well you think. What if it does kill the person? Does that mean that person was weak? As if one can prevent their own death.
What about ppl who survive who end up: depressed, suicidal, loose their minds, that certainly isn't being stronger, now is it.

"God has a plan for you." This is exactly what someone needs to hear that has received a cancer dx, or just buried their child.
If a person says this to another then they need to tell the person what God's plan is for their life. That way we can get on with the plan, and quit wasting time. Of course they don't know, so they can't say, but they know there's a 'plan'. Funny thing is the person hasn't discovered God's plan for their own life at 55 years old, but will tell you that you have a plan.

Truth is bad things, good things happen to all people. That's life.
I have a saying, and it's what I tell myself. You have to play the hand you're dealt.
"It is what it is."

This is my vent. If you have ever said these things to someone, think about it. If it's not uplifting, positive, and/or encouraging then don't say it. Just my .02 cents.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

While I understand your frustration, the other side of the coin (pardon the pun) is that these people mean well for the most part and are trying to fortify you. Their solace and their explanations may be poor, but from what you describe, they are trying to fortify you, to give you hope, even to provide you comfort in the notion that there is a 'next place', whether you and I believe in such a thing or not.

I give them a pass unless I am really grouchy and usually appreciate their intentions.

It is, indeed, what it is.

Take care,


Buckwirth's picture
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

“Life is a club where they won't stand for squawks, where they deal you only one hand, and you must sit in. So even if the cards are cold and marked by the hand of fate, play up, play up like a gentleman and a sport."

From "Miss Lonelyhearts," by Nathanael West.

jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

I think it's a very human response and how often do humans
act logically or make sense? (Include me here).

How about this one: "He/She is in a better place now..."
I totally get your frustration with this.

I do think people generally mean well when they say these things.
Most of us have been in the situation where you just don't know
what to say or there aren't words that really can soothe a grieving

Another one: "Things could be worse..."

I experience that everytime I go to clinic or the hospital for my treatments.
While in the hospital, I usually try to walk around a bit (IV pole and all)
and it doesn't take long for me to see someone dealing with more than me.
I walked through the solarium on the cancer floors and saw a bench
dedicated to a young man who passed at the age of 24 (I'm 54). I realize
despite the current cirucmstances, I'm very lucky.

That is one of the benefits/purposes of this website, being able to share with others
who are in similar situations and understand first hand.

In our culture we are not very educated about death and dying. It's almost
a taboo subject for discussion. We hide our elderly and the frail so we won't
be reminded of our own mortality. We are uncomfortable with the whole topic.

For me, in dealing with all of this, I'm having to come to terms or peace with
the possible "finality" of this - which is something everyone has to face as part
of life.

Sorry if I got up on a soap box. Still coming down off prednisone :).



sea60's picture
Posts: 2618
Joined: May 2010

REALLY going through, unless of course, it's someone who has had or has cancer or a care giver of a loved one who had or has it.

I have to agree, some of these sound so cliche but I do feel most of them are just trying to somehow give you support. Before I had cancer, I knew others who had it and it is really hard to say something positive to them. I remember when I saw one person I knew who's health was worsening, I ask her "How are you?" Well, darn, what a thing to ask? I just didn't know WHAT to say. Even a simple "How are you?" didn't sound right. What should I have said? "I'm sorry?", "I'm praying for you?" What is the right thing to tell someone going through cancer? People are all different. What one might take as comforting words, another can take it as offensive.

So now, I'm on the other side and I've been told many things. I realize that they have absolutely NO idea what living with cancer is like, and I hope they never have to. So I just listen to the words of others who I know mean well. Whether I care for it or not. It's just far too stressful to be offended knowing now how short life can be.

This is a great thread ms. sunshine. It would be good for us patients to list some things we would like to hear from others. Here's a few of my top picks:

"we're praying for you"
"I'm sorry you had to experience such an ordeal, let me know if you need anything"
"I'm here for you"
"If you need our family to run any errands for you, just let us know"

What are other positive and uplifting comments you would WANT to hear?

son of hal
Posts: 117
Joined: Mar 2011

Funny how good intentions can get a bad rap. I think I would still prefer to hear the things you mentioned over someone just being honest. Imagine seeing friends or aquaintences that heard you had cancer and said; "Wow, sucks to be you"...Or what about "Boy, you are in for a world of hurt. I understand chemo kills more people than it helps.." Then there's always, "You sure look sick, you must hate the world right now..." You see, people lose either way. The other side of the coin is how to reply when someone says "how do you feel" or So, how is the treatment going?" Do you tell the truth about how much it hurts and how you can barely get out of bed in the morning or do you just say you're OK? Regardless of what people say, I think cancer patients need to give everyone else a pass on their awkward moments because we all know that most of them are thinking "I'm glad it's not me"..... And for most of them I'm also thinking, "I'm glad it's not you"....

PS. I do believe (not in the religious sense) everything does happen for a reason. If you trust in cause and effect but still believe in chance and coincidence then you can see how everything could happen for a reason that you will never know. Every event or occurence that has ever happened and was thouroughly investigated has been found to have a reason or a theory why it happened. Rarely if ever has an investigation or research study concluded that "there is no reason this happened". It would take something supernatural to go against the laws of physics or nature to make something spontaniously happen without reason or that any event or occurance will have no effect on the rest of the world.
Just saying, maybe people say that for non-religious reasons.....

sure_hope's picture
Posts: 61
Joined: Feb 2009

PLEASE DON’T MENTION TO ME THE PEOPLE YOU KNOW WHO HAVE DIED OF CANCER. I have had so many (well meaning) people do that to me. Why not mention people you know who are living with cancer instead.

One of my best friends actually said the worst thing to me when she found out about my metastasis. [She didn't mean any harm, though]

She said: “Do you need me to help you make any arrangements?” Now, in my mind I’m thinking: ‘MY FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS??’ --- I don’t know what I was seeking emotionally when I told her about it, but it certainly wasn’t THAT!

Anyway, I was reading an article in the Awake magazine about breast cancer and how you can show your support to a family member or a friend with breast cancer or any type of cancer for that matter.

One husband said that they regularly have a ‘cancer free day.’ They would take a vacation from the disease by not talking about it for a day. Instead, they would spend the whole day focusing only on positive aspects of their lives.

Another husband, whose wife has breast cancer, would tell people that ‘they’ have cancer.(AAAWWW :)

One woman, who was a cancer survivor herself, suggested that you should just go up and hug your friend, and if your friend wants to talk about it, she will. (I love this suggestion)

The principle behind these suggestions is to ‘rejoice with people who rejoice; weep with people who weep.’ – Romans 12:15

1. Pray together
2. Read comforting scriptures together
3. Express your love and concern; telephone calls; emails; cards; brief visits;
anything to let them know that you are thinking about them and that you are ready
to support them if they need it.


bluerose's picture
Posts: 1109
Joined: Jul 2009

I read all the posts under this subject and what kept coming back to me was that those things that people say, and I too believe most have the best of intentions when saying them, aren't wrong to say in themselves but the timing is something that might be lacking.

One of your examples was about a situation where a child has died and now I forget what the quote was but it was inappropriate for that particular situation but would be fine for another situation perhaps. Not all things that are nice to say to someone individually can't be used for any situation, only those where the timing is right.

I think too that many people don't know what to say at all in times of tragedy of one kind of another so they either stay clear of the person in trouble so they don't have to say anything or they try and sometimes unfortunately don't think it all through as to when might be a better time for that particular saying or quote.

Sounds like you were at the end of your ropes at that point anywho and there probably wasn't much that anyone could say right then, you just needed to be alone and maybe talk and think about something else totally off the subject. Just a guess, maybe I'm wrong.

Anywho I guess the other side of it is that at least you have people who are willing to try to help you, even if they aren't always politically correct about your situation, and that's better than not having anyone there at all to at least try to help you through.

It's hard for people to know what to say when someone is hurting and I know it's hard sometimes to hear what people have to say when it's you who are the one hurting. We go through so many stages in grief and fear - people miss the stages and the wrong thing is said many times. Know that most people mean the best and try to take what they say in the spirit it was meant.

Just my one cent's worth.



Conchal's picture
Posts: 42
Joined: Apr 2011

ms. sunshine...

My wife (who had cancer surgery in April) and I have heard a lot of these same things, some based on genuine feelings, others less so. When I am feeling really ungenerous, I tend to think some say these things to simply convince themselves that they have done their religious duty of trying to comfort others when they fall so, so short of that. That said, I tend to agree with others here who have said it might be best to give them a pass regardless of the origin of the intent.

In general, our sense is that most individuals feel really uncomfortable with even thinking about cancer let alone trying to voice any kind of sentiment to someone experienceing it. Even when some have tried to comfort us it has at times come across as condescending, if not offensive, but we chalk it up to ignorance of the realities of cancer. We try to take the high road in our replies and often remind others to be thankful for their own good luck.

My best to you.


catwink22's picture
Posts: 280
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey Ms Sunshine....maybe this is not the right topic to say this, but once I got through your rant (and I have to admit I did feel a little better after reading it and I hope you do now too),and I'm sorry I just couldn't help it, but I cracked up laughing when I saw your name! What irony that Ms Sunshine let loose and got that anger out! I can't imagine someone saying something kinda dumb and being punched in the face by Ms Sunshine hee hee!! I heard a saying once "Anger is a hot coal that you hold in your hand waiting to throw at someone, and in the end you both get hurt." I hope you have let go of some of your anger by venting here and are not throwing hot coals at your friends and family. I don't mean to make light of your feelings because they are completely understandable, but after you calm down I hope you can at least get a chuckle. Or I truly am sorry if I'm one of those kinda dumb people.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Well said, Cat, and your point about the irony is actually quite funny. It made me laugh. Thanks.

Take care,


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4870
Joined: May 2005

Like others have mentioned, people often don't know what to say and feel they have to say something comforting (for them I think, not always for US!) I have to say that the God's plan is one of my favorites. One might ponder why the Hitler's & Stalin's of the world get a bye and plenty of good honest people get cancer but then again, the Lord works in mysterious ways... I'll say!

You're right, "it is what it is". And don't forget the old standby, "**** happens".
I try to be very careful as to what I say to people who are going through something difficult.
Don't worry, things will get better

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

I heard an old man say that He would rather keep silent and let people think he was a fool then to open his mouth and remove all drought. Sometimes people say things because they have nothing else to say. While in treatment I would rather someone come and just sit with me and talk about the world rather than remind me ever moment about my C.

You are very right that bad things happen to good people too.


Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

All of you are right, of course. Thanks for your words of wisdom.

I posted this because a friend of mine buried his child, son. A well meaning lady (I know her heart was in the right place) says God has a plan. WHAT !!

People throw out a religious saying that they have heard others say. They don't bother to look it up in the Word to find out if God said it, or in what circumstance He said it in. They take it out of context, or misquote, or it just isn't in there. Saying such things to people who are devastated can cause more hurt/harm than good/comfort.

Many years ago the elders in the church hurt me deeply, it crushed me. I was young, and divorcing an abusive man. The elders told me that God was angry at me. So what did I do, I was angry at Him. I thought how unfair for God to expect me to stay in the abuse, not change this man, and then when I decide to leave He's mad at me.
I divorced. I did terrible things to get back at God. I still believed He existed. I looked up the sins God lists that are an abomination to Him, and decided to commit some of these. Hateful I know.

Almost 2 years later when God, and I got back on track I realized He was not mad at me. Never was. The things the elders told me wasn't in the Word, but I believed them.

I am thankful that God never gave up on me. I also learned the meaning of that scripture, "those that are forgiven much, are loved much."

Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

I to was laughing while I was posting that rant. I wondered if anyone would notice it. I thought for sure Soccerfreak would call me out on it.

Hondo: I agree. I remember when my sister drove me to chemo. She says, "hey I snuck this in here for you." (as if it was something illegal) She pulls out a soda, and M&Ms. We busted up laughing.

My little boy always kept me laughing. He bought a 200 page joke and riddle book. He would read it to me, and laugh. I would laugh more at him laughing than I would the jokes. I didn't have the heart to tell him sometimes it hurt to laugh.

The tares and the wheat grow together. Just food for thought.
Take care

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

...Abraham Lincoln

You don't look that old, hondo!

Take care,


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

I guess you are right Joe, thanks I am only as old as I feel and that is very young.


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