It used to be that far and away my most popular post was My 9 Practical Tips for Those Starting Chemo. While that has remained a popular entry, it has recently been surpassed by my About page. For a long time, I’d get a few hits here and there on the old About page, but nothing major.
So what happened? Well, it appears to have spiked with my Pink Ribbon Overload series. One day, it dawned on me: people are checking my cancer cred. You know, they read my snarky posts about all the pink ribbon gear and they’re ready to tell me what an insensitive clod I am. So, thinking to themselves, “Who is this jerk, anyway?” they naturally make a beeline to the About page. There they find out that yes, I am indeed a full fledged member of the BC crew. They’re still not sure if it’s cool for me to make fun of the stuff, but the only thing more taboo than that would be for them to hate on me. Ah, I loves me some cancer amnesty.
Monday, while I was sitting outside the boutique, I observed a woman buying about one of everything in pink. I gathered from the conversation she was having with the clerk—yeah, I was eavesdropping—that she was buying these items as Christmas gifts. Yikes. I considered sashaying into the boutique and offering my sage advice, but chickened out. Later, Hubster suggested that maybe I needed to offer my gift giving advice here. Apparently, my subtle hints in the form of an entire series of posts on ridiculous pink ribbon stuff wasn’t quite enough. And so, with the belt of humor cinched snugly around my waist, and the shield of cancer amnesty grasped firmly in hand, I present to you…
Moody’s Helpful Hints for Holiday Happiness
Unless you are absolutely sure that Eunice has completely traded in her identity, and now prefers to be known not as Eunice, but as an unpronounceable symbol shaped curiously like a pink ribbon, do NOT assume that she wants a pink Christmas. Put the powder pink pajamas down and slowly back away. Eunice likes to sleep in the nude anyway.
Maybe Eunice collects teddy bears, and so giving her one would be normal. But, if that’s not the case, then forget the pink ribbon teddy bear. Eunice is a grown woman. What is she supposed to do with a teddy bear? And don’t say “Take it to chemo.” You want to get Eunice something handy to take to chemo? How about an iPod? Or better yet, a gas card so she can get there and back without taking out second mortgage.
Perhaps you’re shopping in the bookstore, and you spy a copy of Chicken Soup for the Departing Soul on Her Deathbed—Breast Cancer Edition. “Why, I bet Eunice would LOVE to curl up with this on a cold winter’s night!” you think. Stop. What kind of books does Eunice normally read? Dean Koontz, you say? Then why not get her the newest Koontz book? Seriously.
Now it could be that Eunice loves the pink ribbon stuff—your clue would be if she buys it for herself. If she’s all about the pink ribbon purse and the Save the Ta-tas hoodie, then doggone it, you go ahead and buy her that five pound, gem encrusted pink ribbon pendant. She’ll love it.
But otherwise, use a little common sense. Don’t get all wrapped up in the emotion of this thing. I know loved ones often feel like they want to DO something, because they can’t really DO anything about the cancer. But, folks, it’s not about you, okay? Eunice has had her life, for the most part, hijacked by cancer. There are a lot of things that she can’t control right now, and so she’s most likely cherishing whatever normalcy she can manage to scrounge up.
So, the best gift that you can give her is to treat her as you normally would. Have normal conversations. Not every conversation has to include cancer. In fact, Eunice would probably prefer that none of them did. That way she might occasionally, in spite of being completely bald, forget about the whole ordeal for a minute. Go normal places. Don’t make assumptions about what Eunice “feels up to” doing. Just ask her if she wants to do it—in a normal way—not prefaced by “if you feel up to it”. Trust me, Eunice will tell you if she doesn’t want to go. And give her normal gifts. If Eunice likes coffee, then why not get her a Starbucks gift card? Sure, her taste buds might be jacked up right now, but they’ll get better. And when they do, she’ll savor that latte even more. Or, if you want to feel like you’re doing something to help take care of Eunice, how about a gift certificate for a pedicure? Eunice may not have eyebrows, but doggone it, she’s still got her toenails.
May you and your Eunice have a very Merry Christmas.