Tag Archives: prostate cancer

On not knowing what to say

It’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot in the last week. “I don’t know what to say”. Said with shock, with sadness, with terror, with honesty and sincerity, and so often with more than a hint of guilt. As if you feel you ought to have just the right words there ready and waiting; words that would make it all better; words that would somehow convey that you care so much better than you feel you are doing.

Well here’s the thing. There is nothing to say. No words to ease my terror. No words to soothe my anger at this massive injustice. There is no reason that you should know what to say. You have no more power to change this than I do. I wish you did. And I know you don’t.

What matters is that you care. And when you say “I don’t know what to say” there’s a beautiful honesty in that that says you care more than anything else can. There is no need to say more. No need to feel bad that you can’t say more. When I tell you that I have cancer, “I don’t know what to say” is exactly the right thing to say.