I have been in situations where I could not think of the "right" thing to say. Family and friends have faced horribly difficult challenges and I have found myself twisted up in a circle of I-want-to-say-something-but-what-do-I-say? So I get it. I get that sometimes it is really hard to speak to people who are dealing with tough circumstances. I understand that it's awkward and delicate and sometimes it's just easier to avoid that person.
But it's not okay to avoid that person just because it's hard for you to see their suffering. It's much harder to be the one suffering, buttercup. I say this not to elicit sympathy or ten gold cancer stars but simply because it is true. It is harder to be the one suffering because not only do we have to bear our physical and/or mental pain, we also have to worry about how our pain is affecting those around us. We have to break the ice and diffuse the tension and convince everyone that we are still the same person we once were (even if we are not the same person at all.)
Truth the First: there is no right thing to say to someone who is suffering.
Truth the Second: there is no wrong thing to say to someone who is suffering.
There is only the act of saying something. Anything. Even if it is just "I'm sorry."
I have been surprised by so many people since my wonky thyroid ordeal began. People who have been a significant part of my life since I was a
child have all but disappeared. People who I didn't share a particular closeness with before my diagnosis have shown up, time after time, even when I cancel plans at the last minute or show up smelly or cranky or exhausted. I am learning that some people show up. And some people don't. And I can't change who does what, or stop loving people, or expect people to change for me. All I can do is be someone who does show up. Who says something, even if whatever I say is the wrong thing. Because at least I will have said something. And there's a chance it will be the right thing.