This morning after yoga class I talked to my instructor. We had a short discussion about her neighbor, someone we both knew. She told me her neighbor’s husband had passed away from Pancreatic Cancer. She explained how she saw their adult daughter and said, “I never see your dad around.” That’s when she found out about his cancer and recent death. I said, “Oh that’s so strange they didn’t tell anyone.” My teacher seemed to get defensive and said she wouldn’t tell anyone either if she had cancer.

I guess the old me might have similar thoughts. But the new, emotionally healthier me, understands how critical it is to have deep relationships and authentic connection. If I were dying of cancer, I would call on all my people to help me through.

I believe humans are wired for connection. It’s in our DNA. Some people don’t need connection but usually it’s because they’ve been hurt along the way. 

One of my clients recommended a movie several years ago. It’s called Lars and the Real Girl.  Imagine learning to stay away from love because it hurts, be it from abuse, abandonment, divorce, or early death of a parent. For many people the pain of losing a loved one is too much. They pull back; afraid to love again. That’s what this movie is about.

Eventually Lars takes the risk to love even though the object of his affection is a life-sized doll. Later we learn that that something is going on in Lars’ family. Lars invented his “real” girlfriend for a purpose.

I’m not going to spoil the plot but I thought this movie offered many examples of love. From the town that chose to honor Lars, to the church members who asked what Jesus would do, to the psychiatrist who understood the pain of loss, and creatively walked with Lars as he took the risk again.

You might think this sounds like a corny movie, but it is a tender display of people joining to help a wounded soul return to the land of the living.

If you had cancer, would you tell anyone? How well do you trust people? 


Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty teacher at Colorado Christian University.

She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."