You can’t make people do what’s best for them. You can’t make people do anything, really. But if you have any influence in the lives of people you care about, I believe that you have to speak your mind, even if they break contact with you as a result.
My mom found a small lump in her breast. She and my dad had planned a trip to Europe that she didn’t want to spoil. So she didn’t say anything, until 2 months later, when she came back. By then, the lump was bigger. The cancer had spread. Maybe it was already metastatic when she first noticed it, but maybe not. She made the worst decision of her life, and it may have cost her her life.
Now my friend has decided that it’s more important to pack up her house, then it is to drop everything and go across country, where she’ll be treated for cancer. She told her mother, who happens to be my best friend since 7th grade, that she didn’t want other people to pack her stuff…or something equally bizarre.
When people make decisions that are so obviously irrational, you have to ask yourself what’s really behind it. Fear? That certainly has to be one of the ingredients, maybe the biggest. My mother’s behavior, coupled with some of the things she said before she died, tells me that she had decided she was going to die. She really believed there was nothing she could do to change her fate, so she just gave in and stopped trying. She diminished her fear by deciding there was nothing she could do.
My friend and I both know the numbers aren’t in our favor. But life is about standing strong and taking what it dishes out. It’s not about evading tough choices, or deciding, like my mother did, that it’s not worth fighting for. My friend and I are both fighters. To the bone. I can’t change her mind, but I can hope that she’ll recognize what course of action she has to take, sooner than later.