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To hate these kind of comments about surviving cancer?

(291 Posts)
SamU2 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:57:31

I am pretty sure everyone by now is aware my ex husband died in December of cancer leaving three of our young children behind. I know I mention it a lot but it has been a devastating few months.

I think I have mentioned my dislike of these type of comments elsewhere as well.

I go onto FB and see a friends status about how she has been recovered from cancer for over 8 years now. That is fantastic, I have sent messages saying how happy I am for her etc but I take great offence at some of the comments which are on the lines of:

'Of course you fought it, you are strong'
'Cancer could never beat someone like you'
'Hold your head up, this just shows what an amazing strong person you are, cancer never had a chance'

So reading this hit me hard this morning and I have since hid the status in question but I am sitting here feeling really pissed off. This is not the first time I have read stuff like this.

I just want to shout and say cancer doesn't care if you are a strong person or not, dying from cancer doesn't make you any less stronger than the next person. I know no one means any offence but how hard is it to just say congratulations I am so happy for you or something?

Maybe I am just hurting and bitter but I so wanted to comment on it but I did the right thing and just hid it instead and then came straight here to vent.

So am I an unreasonable to hate these type of comments?

Pawprint Sat 08-Feb-14 10:00:46


I hate those sort of comments. Cancer doesn't discriminate thanksthanksthanks

So sorry about your dh

Panzee Sat 08-Feb-14 10:02:42

YANBU. Vent away on here. I so sorry for your loss. sad

evertonmint Sat 08-Feb-14 10:04:02

YANBU. I don't know anybody with cancer who hasn't been described as strong, so by implication beating it or not cannot be about strength. It's about medicine and luck, and nothing more.

I'm so sorry for your loss x

AnyaKnowIt Sat 08-Feb-14 10:04:11

Yanbu I hate those comments. Always feel that if you didn't survive then you failed kind of thing.

So sorry for your loss thanks

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Sat 08-Feb-14 10:04:25

If you are unreasonable OP, then so am I.

Both of my parents died in their 60's from cancer. Neither was weak or a lesser person.

I do think that the posters on your friend's status are just being supportive though. I doubt they've given a second thought to how it makes others feel.

madasa Sat 08-Feb-14 10:04:36

Stupid comments. My dad was the strongest, bravest person I have ever know....he still died from cancer.
Sorry for your loss.

SamU2 Sat 08-Feb-14 10:05:24

Thank you. He was my ex husband. We were very close though and it has just been so traumatic for the children.

And I do take these comments personally, was my ex not strong because he died?

Extremewife Sat 08-Feb-14 10:05:25

Have a bloody rant on here they don't think these people they can be encouraging without being thoughtless.

Sorry about you DH you seem to be a strong woman keep going and when required have a wine

pootlebug Sat 08-Feb-14 10:06:01

YANBU. I can't believe that this doesn't occur to the people who write those type of comments.
I am so sorry for the loss of your husband.

MrCabDriver Sat 08-Feb-14 10:06:17

YANBU. I've had the same conversation!

Cancer does not only kill the "weak" people .... It does not care whether you are weak or strong!

Your husband died very recently, you have every right to be feeling the way you do.


MrCabDriver Sat 08-Feb-14 10:07:09

Ex sorry x

RuinedAndNotorious Sat 08-Feb-14 10:08:03

So sorry for your loss. YANBU. I hate the phrase 'battle with cancer' for similar reasons because it implies that if you fight hard enough you can 'beat' it. Not true at all. sad
thanks thanks thanks

SamU2 Sat 08-Feb-14 10:09:13

Not my husband, my ex husband.

It's been 8 weeks, my children are finding it harder now, not easier. I am very close to his widow so have been supporting all four of them and yeah, I am emotionally exhausted and these comments didn't help at all.

barleywood Sat 08-Feb-14 10:11:03


Nothing wrong with empathising but this idea that positivity is a cure all for all of life's ills including cancer makes me want to scream.

Vevvie Sat 08-Feb-14 10:13:01


So sorry for your loss.

I also hate the words "be positive".

MarvellousMechanicalMouseOrgan Sat 08-Feb-14 10:13:55

Yes, hide threads like that, those sorts of statements are pointless, the typing equivalent of verbal diarrhoea.

Cancer kills people of all mindsets, if it was just a question of being 'strong' then many more people would survive.

Is there any way you could talk to someone in RL about how you feel? You're under tremendous strain, is there anyone to look after you while you're looking after everyone else?

winterhat Sat 08-Feb-14 10:14:28


MrsBungle Sat 08-Feb-14 10:15:44

Yanbu at all. I detest these sayings - my mum died aged 52, 4 months after diagnosis. She was not weak or not 'strong enough' it wasn't that she wasn't prepared to 'battle' against it. The cancer was too far gone and there was nothing her nor the doctors could do.

I understand people are trying to be supportive but it's insulting to those who have died IMO.

Really sorry for yours and your kids loss, it must be devastating.

vestandknickers Sat 08-Feb-14 10:16:00

YANBU and I am so sorry for your loss.

I also hate these stupid comments. My Dad and Brother both died of cancer and I hate the implication that they just didn't try hard enough.

puntasticusername Sat 08-Feb-14 10:17:35

YANBU. I never thought of it that way. I don't think I've ever made a comment like that, but I'll make damn sure I never do from now on!

I'm so sorry for you and your children's loss.

firesidechat Sat 08-Feb-14 10:18:01

My husband has cancer.


It is one of the triggers for completely irrational rage on my part. Cancer is NOT overcome by any personal strength of character on the part of the patient. It is cured by wonderful doctors and advances in medicine and, in many cases, a huge amount of discomfort and inconvenience for the person with cancer. Those who do die from cancer are not weak or passive, they are just terribly unlucky.

I am so sorry for the loss of your husband OP.

MorrisZapp Sat 08-Feb-14 10:21:02

Oh what a dreadful situation for you, no wonder you're feeling very vulnerable.

I think that at times like this, its normal to be upset and offended by what is really just normal conversation. It's great that your friend has been well for so long, but even a 'well done' could be taken as meaning that others who didn't survive didn't try hard enough.

I think the comments were meant kindly and obviously not aimed at you. The truth is, life is so shit sometimes and there aren't any words that can make it better.

So sorry for your loss xx

manicinsomniac Sat 08-Feb-14 10:21:34

I'm on the fence.

Emotionally, YANBU. I feel exactly the same. My Dad died of cancer when I was quite young and I have a close friend dying of it right now. They were/are both amazingly strong people and couldn't have fought/be fighting harder to live.

But, taking emotion out of it, I think YABU. Those kind of thought processes help people and there is even evidence that a strong belief that you will get better can, in some cases, actually help people to recover.

Even though we are all aware that, barring miracles, my friend is going to die people are still saying things like 'he's a fighter' and 'he won't just roll over'. Those things hold true whether he dies or not but the attitude certainly helps him and his family/friends day to day.

I expect it also helps if you are years out of cancer. When you've been to hell and back I think those kind of congratulations would make you feel amazing. Because you have been incredibly strong, fought etc. Acknowledging that doesn't, in my opinion, take anything away from those who so sadly lost their fight.

SamU2 Sat 08-Feb-14 10:23:52

Marvellous, my mum and husband have been great but I do need some more professional help I think.

I have an appointment with palliative psychological team next week for all of us.

I dream about him every night, I wake up with his funeral songs in my head and while we were divorced we had an amazing relationship and I talk to his widow a few times every day as she still has the children often and we are very good friends. We really were like one big family but I also have some guilt because towards the end of our marriage I did some things I am not proud of. We put it behind us but the guilt is still there.

My almost 15 year old refuses to talk and is full of anger which has been hard to navigate. My youngest has developed severe health anxiety (I have it too) and he is scared he is going to die all the time of cancer.. he is 10!

I think one of the hardest things is that for the first two weeks we all got great support but now most people have moved on but the children are left with the reality of the situation and people's support is waning.

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