Today my friend (who has just undergone major surgery to remove cancer tumours) was finally well enough that I could go to the hospital to visit him. When I walked into the hospital room, I had a second's pause of my mind utterly refusing to believe that this ghostly pale, thin. weak man was my wonderful, loving friend. Only a month ago, he was still a vibrant energetic man. Now he's lying in a hospital bed too weak to speak much above a whisper, with IV's in each arm, and various drainage tubes, catheters, pain medication feed lines all running into and from his arms. I didn't break stride, and I asked God to please grant me the strength not to let the shock show in my face, or body language. I bent to hug him as gently as possible, and kissed him, saying how lovely it was to see him, and agreeing that the view from his window wasn't too bad, since he could see mostly trees.
He patted the side of his bed for me to sit, so I did, and was joking with him, teasing him lovingly, talking about gardening and my little dog, while the shock of seeing him looking so dreadfully thin and ill resonated through me like a cold ache. I stayed for a half-hour or so until he said he was beginning to tire, then hugged and kissed him again, went out into the hallway, took the elevator back to the ground floor, and walked slowly back out to my car.
I'm still feeling that shock of my first sight of him, and the prognosis, told to me by his partner, and by my friend himself - he has been given 3 months to live because the cancer has metastasised to his liver in "hundreds of places" according to the oncologist. When I was sitting there with him today, he looked at me, and said softly, "I might not make it." I gave him the little silver ankh I'd brought for him, the Egyptian symbol of everlasting life, and reminded him that doctors are just trained people with opinions, and that he has a ferociously strong will and life force.
I'm writing this while wearing a leather vest he gave me not long ago, it somehow brings him near to me, and reminds me to keep on praying for him. He's been a source of love and kindness for many of us in his 61 years, one of those special people with a loving generosity of spirit.
I wish that I could find a way through tears to break up the stone of aching grief in my chest, but I can't weep. I'm feeling bottled up, trying to find my way to acceptance through praying for my friend, and for my little dog. I love them both so, and I can do nothing in either case, it's beyond my control, I can only live with however it will be. I am grateful for the live that each of them has given me, and for the love I've felt for them. Love is a precious gift, and I've been blessed in my life.