Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How To Introduce an Elephant?

I know, I know...I hang my head in blogging shame, it's been so long since I've posted more than a picture.  Though, I do think I have the best "Get Out Of Blogging Free" card to play.

I just haven't known what direction I wanted to take this blog in...Get all serious and cancery?  Even though we, as a family, are not walking around like stricken souls?  Keep it light and jovial?  Even if it seems insensitive to Trey's current situation?

I figure that most of you who read this are already a 'member' of Trey's Facebook group, so to simply repeat what you've probably already read seems pointless, too.  Not to mention, I'm not exactly rolling around in free time these days...I mean, when Trey gets discharged from the hospital, there are A LOT of TV shows that I need to catch up on.

But, I have a thought that has been poking my brain for a while and maybe, just maybe, you have $.02 to throw in.  When Trey was first diagnosed, we obviously let all of our family and close friends know immediately. Then, Jay pretty quickly set up the "Pray (and more) For Trey" page on Facebook.  I had sent out emails to Joe and Bella's teachers to fill them in on what was happening, and Jay preached at church the Sunday after Christmas (Trey was diagnosed on Christmas Eve) and filled in the congregation.  My point to all that was pretty much everyone we knew (plus a ton that we didn't/don't know), knew about Trey.  Our community is relatively small, so I became accustomed to people that I didn't know personally coming up to me to talk about Trey, and people from all over the world (literally!) posting on Trey's FB page.  So, for me, it's an awkward situation when someone doesn't know Trey's story and I have to choose to tell them or not.

That's my question...How do you introduce the big, white elephant in the room?  I have 2 situations that have come up.  One resolved itself, though.

Jay and I had discussed setting up Trey's page on FB and keeping the very detailed updates on that page only.  This, in turn, freed up peoples news feeds that we are 'friends' with but who aren't necessarily interested in ALL of Trey's updates, plus since Jay and I have a long list of 'friends' in common, they would all have to see the updates twice.  Very considerate of us, right?  But, that also meant that some 'friends' were totally unaware of Trey's condition at all.  If you're not a FB regular, you would easily miss my status updates about what's been happening.  I noticed that one friend in particular wasn't a member of Trey's page and had not posted anything on my wall...and this is a person that I'm friends with in real life. (IRL for those of you who are 'down')  I didn't know if I should be offended, or just fill them in.  What should I do?  I don't add people to Trey's page unless they ask to be added, lest I be presumptuous.  And I certainly wasn't going to post on the person's wall "Hey, even though you haven't asked, here's what's been happening!"  This is the situation that resolved itself when I commented on one of the friend's pictures...they commented on my wall "Thanks! How are you?"  I took that opportunity to send that person a private message explaining what was going on, and Trey's diagnosis really was a surprise to them.

The second situation is stranger to stranger.  Let's set the scene.  I'm home with all the kids, Jay was out and about.  Everyone was ready for bed, waiting impatiently for their bedtime sack when the doorbell rang.  Who could be calling at this hour?  Oh, wait...it was only 7:45.  So, I left all the kids safely upstairs to answer the door.  It was 2 college age guys going door to door selling sets of children's books.  I've been down this road before...or should I say, they've been down our road before (every spring!  different guys, same shpeel!) and I already knew I wasn't going to buy a set from them to the tune of $12/book.  But, dude was pretty aggressive and sat himself down on a lawn chair and keeps chatting away despite the cries of hunger spilling out the front door.  A minute later, Joe and Bella were outside and all over them and their books.  I think they mastered the Spanish language by the time the guys left.  I, of course, had to retrieve Trey from the top of the steps and bring him out, too.  So, clearly Trey is bald...and not just bald, like a military 'high and tight', but shiny bald with no eyebrows or eye lashes either.  Plus, you can see the top of his bandage dressing that covers his IV peaking out of the top of his over sized sleep shirt.  The book guy obviously noticed but was too polite to ask why he was bald and bandaged, so I said nothing.  I had no idea how to broach the topic, so I said absolutely nothing about the big, white elephant.

What would you have done?  "This is Trey.  He has cancer and that's why he doesn't have any hair"?  "If you're wondering, he has cancer"?  What's the appropriate action here?  Jay is so good at talking to people and can easily parlay Trey's journey into a gospel message, but not me!  Especially not with two book sellin' dudes, 3 kids and a looming bedtime.  But, did I miss an opportunity?  Should I have to state the obvious?  Is it Obvious?  Really.  What would you have done?  How would you introduce an elephant?