A letter to… dark and stormy friends

Cancer can consume you. It becomes the thing you talk about because it infiltrates every part of your waking life, if not your dreams. Your support system is key to navigating it and that support team includes your family, doctors, nurses, work colleagues and charity volunteers. But for me, the really important people are those dark and stormy friends.

What the hell is a dark and stormy friend, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

The dark and stormy are the special ones. The ones so close to you that they can be their real selves even in the face of calamity and chaos and a terrible illness. The ones that get you through the long evenings, days, weeks and months.

They are sarcastic, dark and heartless.

They think your shitshow of a double cancer life is in equal parts awful and hilarious.

They answer “I mean, yes? Like, absolutely” to the question “God, do you think we’re cursed?”

They send cards that say ‘Sorry life shit on you’ alongside a giant poo emoji.

They won’t let you wallow in your bad times, they revel in the awfulness and make death jokes.

They use the C word alongside the other C word and don’t care if another human in a cafe or bar hears it.

They show you no pity.

They tell you that chemo will finally help you lose the weight you’ve been bitching on about losing - for years.

They blame your marriage, or repeatedly blame your husband, for your cancer and your mad bad luck.

They let you get a bit too drunk and don’t mind that it always results in a lot of tears.

They tell you you’ve got a pretty face so you should stop moaning about losing your hair and count yourself lucky for your features.

They get so bored of the cancer chat and the way it hogs conversation that they tell you to move on, to be quiet. Or just ignore the latest cancer comment and jump right in with their own stories, regardless.

They would drop their world as your own collapses around you, whenever required. Whether that means picking up a phone call, quietly picking up a dog whilst an ambulance technician works on you in the living room, paying for a taxi to get to your house because they’re not sober enough to drive but know you need some help, or feeding you for months by posting it to you in the form of Gousto.

This is a love letter to our dreadful, sarcastic, mentally wobbly, challenged, hilarious, loving dream team who have their own shit going on every day, night and week, and still prioritise our cancer shit, above all else.

This is a love letter to the dark and stormy.

Dark, hilarious, drunken, cute, mental, stormy.

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  • Rebecca McIntyre-Smith

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