Have you ever told a lie? It could be argued that not all lies are alike. There is the Little White Lie. Often teenagers will tell a lie to avoid trouble or being held accountable. There are serious lies done with malice. But, is there a cost associated with every lie?
I recall several years ago uncovering a lie that had a dramatic impact on me physically. The genesis of the lie was probably innocent in nature. It was later identified that the lie was probably the result of embarrassment. To some degree, the lie has still not been acknowledged as a lie. However, although I may love my mother deeply……….I believe she told a lie.
My father and I were having a conversation with a number of friends when the topic turned to cancer. People began sharing both sad and positive stories of friends and loved ones who have battled. During the conversation, I made mention that there is always a certain level of concern for my brother and me due to many cancers being hereditary and my grandfather dying at such an early age from prostate cancer. My father looked at me puzzled and said; what are you talking about? I replied; that mom’s father died in his early 30s from prostate cancer.
For my father to question my statement should have been my first clue that I would not be overly happy with his statements to follow. He quickly clarified that my grandfather apparently did not die of prostate cancer but actually committed suicide when my mother was about 3 years of age. My dad then told me how I must have misunderstood. Misunderstood? How could one possibly confuse prostate cancer and suicide?
My mother walked by as several of us were discussing this issue. I attempted to catch my mother’s attention and asked her if grandpa died of prostate cancer. She suddenly looked like a deer in headlights. She glanced at my dad and then back at me and stated, no. She then said that she needed to bring out more food and rushed into the house.
A man typically would not have his first prostate exam until sometime in his 40s but since the medical history I provided reflected a history of aggressive prostate cancer in my family at relatively young ages, the doctors thought it prudent to begin monitoring in my late 20s. I will never forget the first exam. I assumed the position of leaning over the exam table. The doctor said to let him know if I feel anything strange. Shortly thereafter, I felt a discomfort like I have never before experienced. I asked what he was doing to which he replied; squeezing your prostate. I am sure that I speak for men everywhere is saying that squeezing of the prostate would fall into the strange feeling category.
My loving father tried to make light of this new found information. In fact, he masterfully positioned the situation resulting in my feeling sorry for my mother and that her statement must have just been out of embarrassment of the truth – especially since I was still very young when the statement was made. He was right. It was an innocent mistake that should be forgotten – which meant forgetting the many, many exams, but he was right.
A lie may seem small, harmless or simply done to prevent embarrassment, but directly or indirectly the lie ultimately impacts someone. In this case, the impact was felt several times over many years. But in the end, all is forgiven.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.