“Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.” -Wikipedia

Apparently there are a few levels to denial. (I don’t usually dwell in denial so this is new to me): simple denial – deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether, minimisation – admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalisation), or projection – admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility.

Denial is a mechanism of the immature mind, because it conflicts with the ability to learn from and cope with reality.


Denial. My family lives there. My parents and my brother apparently have property in Denial and never plan on leaving. They would rather live in denial than in reality with me and my family.

Denial is a suburb of Reality. I have lamented about my upbringing in this blog before, it involved a lot of church which in my humble and not so humble opinion fosters major construction in DENIAL. My parents invested a lot of time and money and most of their lives in the doctrine spewing out of the mouth of the man who stood behind the pulpit and exposed my brother and I to too much of it.

I eventually grew tired of the taste of the cool aid and stopped drinking it, this allowed me to break free and escape the walls of denial my parents erected to protect themselves from reality and as they continued to live behind these walls I moved on with my life…questioning everything as I stopped buying into the crap, and got on with living my life.

I blame church for most of the “denial” in my parents lives and therefore hold the Assemblies of God partially responsible. My parents apparently needed denial in order to survive.

I was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on December 19th 2006. I broke the news to my parents. They heard me but never uttered the word CANCER around me. My mother always said she was “Faith Believing” I was healed…or would be healed.

This “Churched Denial” infuriated me. The Chemotherapy worked and I am 3 years into remission. In February of 2009 my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Small Cell Carcinoma (metastatic Lung Cancer)…there appeared to be a sliver of “Oh shit” acceptance but after several radiation treatments it seems denial set in as usual and treatments and the will to fight it was given up. No attempts to plan passed what was originally a terminal diagnosis were discussed. She has survived it almost a year and a half with no clear sign that things are unraveling as fast as previously thought, my parents just exist at this point.

No planning ahead or family meetings with my brother and I. No discussion of treatment options when they would have made sense…my family NEVER talked about important things…(I blame this on Church too). as a result of the lack of communication in their house my parents and I are not close. Never have been. Because of Church for some reason my parents NEVER talked about the hard shit in life. No conversations about anything substantial ever took place in my parents house. It was almost as if we don’t talk about it it doesn’t exist.

Oh wait that sounds like denial…if my parents didn’t have to say “cancer” that means I didn’t have it.

To date my mother is bed ridden and not using the wheel chair she has been capable of using earlier in her radiation treatment days. It seems they just deal with “what is” on a daily basis because this is the bed they have made almost as if waiting for death to arrive already.

Yesterday, my son graduated from Kindergarten. My in-laws came and my son asked “Why didn’t Nana and Pop Pop come to my graduation?” I didn’t mention it to my parents because they have not chosen to “live” while my mother has cancer but just exist with it. They have made no attempts at using the wheel chair, changing the house where necessary to accommodate the wheel chair so she can live in her house and not just the hospital bed in the living room.

If I told them about graduation they wouldn’t have come. My mother hasn’t seen the sun in over a year. This has been her choice apparently as she has made no amends to try to get outside. A friend of mine and I built a wheel chair ramp over a year ago to allow her access outside when she was being transported to and from radiation. The ramp is just attached to the house now.

Her choice to not “live” while dying drives me to distraction. I don’t understand the inability to accept reality, but collectively my parents did not accept my diagnosis either. My brother believes it is their life so let them live it the way they choose…so be it. I don’t have to like it.

Their decision to not make changes in their lives to accept and deal with the long-term situation of her cancer has impacted my mother’s ability to be involved in my kids lives, so my disagreement of how they are living is also based on the fact that my kids are not enjoying their grandparents like they used to. My parents have chosen to deal with my mother’s condition the way they have and because of their decision, last year I chose to again, get on with my life and my family.

My brother appears to have put his life and family on the back burner enabling our parents to live the way they have chosen to…why? because my stupid brother subscribes to his “live and let live” mantra so no one can tell him how to live his life. Opinions being what they are (and I have plenty) always get in between my brother and I. Because I will speak my mind, question authority and push the envelope…he does not, we do not agree on anything.

This difference between us has driven a wedge between us and I chose to walk away from that toxic relationship as well.

Life in denial is not a life. My parents are missing out on living life to the fullest in spite of cancer, fight it and give it the finger and get out of that bed and into the wheel chair and do what you used to do…instead just lay in that bed and waste away, complain about it but do nothing to change it.

My parents seem to have missed the fact that my mother has not died when the doctors said she would. So I ask why not live to the best of your ability?

It comes down to a matter of “wanting to” (in my opinion). If this is how she wants to live the rest of her days so be it. I can’t change that. I think it sucks that my kids are losing precious time with my mother and one day it won’t matter anymore.

As far as “Faith believing” goes…I never hear either one of them mention God’s name or Jesus anymore. For the 20 years I spent in church and being force-fed doctrine and a lifestyle I disagreed with I have noticed all their spouting off about “worldly this and secular that”  and “God this and Jesus that” I have seen no miraculous healings…not in my body or hers.

God has not stepped in and fixed my parents problems. For all their faith and time spent in church like attendance every week mattered as if God taking roll call, God has not intervened. I don’t fully believe he can. He may have established the universe and the laws of physics but has not and did not ever reach down to earth and alter these laws to change anything.

He may not have created cancer but it exists, and he can’t do anything about it. Cancer is a product of man’s sin and mistreatment of this planet. 

(this a topic for another post on another day)

God mourns those who have cancer I’m sure of that. God mourns everything that has befallen man. He may have provided salvation but that is it. The daily intervention people talk about, pray about etc doesn’t exist. God did the best he could be providing salvation but the rest of the crap we have to deal with HAS TO BE DEALT WITH! God has his own obstacles, we have ours.

Denial has allowed my parents to miss out on a lot of life. They might argue that is not the case…but that is how I see it. And this is my blog and basically this is my opinion and it is what it is.

Deal with it.

To paraphrase John Lennon: “I am the Black Sheep coo coo ca’choo”


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I understand why your family’s way of dealing with the hard times in life puts distance between you all. That would be so frustrating.

    If we’re really walking with Christ, there is no need to live life in denial. We walk forward in faith that whatever comes he is still in control. He is sovereign.

    I put a lot of faith in God’s healing for Michael, but it was not to be. I don’t understand why, but I do trust that someday when I’m with the Lord he will help me understand. I know of many other people who have received miraculous healings. Why them and not Michael? That’s not for me to know now, and I have peace about it. His ways are not our ways. He is not like us. He is God. I’m reading a great book you might like called If God is Good, Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. I will gladly send you a copy if you’d like me to.

    I hope that in some way this experience will lead your family into a place of understanding and grace for one another. I’ll be lifting you up in prayers.

    ((BIG HUGS))

  2. We all make our choices.

    My father died from bladder cancer. His first reaction after it was diagnosed was to jump in his 30′ yacht and set sail for Chile. After exploratory surgery determined that the cancer had metastised and spread well beyond the initial site he was offered chemo with the prognosis that it might give him two years more.

    He declined the offer and died about 18 months later.

    He spent that time going back to many of the places he had been in his life, and many that he had wanted to visit but never had the chance.

    We all make our choices.

    As you have.

    As your mother has.

  3. I don’t know why I have the problems I do with the way my parents have chosen to live their lives but much of it has affected me personally. (like the church upbringing and the different ways they raised me and my brother) My opinions run deep and will probably always be a source of frustration until my parents no longer walk this earth.

    That’s just the way it it.

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