A week ago, a very dear friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. I'm shocked, in the same way that I was shocked when I received my own diagnosis. This is the woman I turned to when I put down the phone after having been told that my friend had died in May, 2012. I remember dialling her number, blinking hard to try to clear my vision from the flood of tears. I spoke with her for only a moment, and she came right over. We went out and walked for a long time. I sobbed helplessly and she comforted me, in her soft and loving way. I don't know what I would have done without her, both then, and when I left the marriage after 17 years.
When I was frightened and anxious, her strength, humour and support were a blessing I clung to. When life has been going well, her delight in my good fortune has been an added fillip to my gratitude.
I recall the very first time I met her. I was new to the city, and to the Al-Anon group meeting. She smiled at me, and nodded, a tiny movement of her head that somehow made me feel welcome and contented. I liked her immediately. She's about the same size I am, small, slim, and beautiful. Her spirit, great kindness, and wicked sense of humour, make her delightful company.
I count her as one of my dearest friends, and I wish that we lived in the same city so that I could be there for her the way that she has unhesitatingly been there for me. I hope to drive up for a visit before I go for surgery in early December.
Another very close female friend has been told that she is facing possible health problems, and I feel so helpless. I talk to her, look at her beloved face and wish that I could do something, anything, to make it better, but I am only a fellow traveller along a frightening road. Illness is something we much each muddle through as best we can, even with the help of those who love us, we cannot do what isn't humanly possible. We can't turn back the clock to an earlier, more light-hearted time, when serious illness was a possibility we thought of, if we thought of it at all, as something perhaps to be faced many years in the future, not now, when we're still healthy. Or so we thought.
Since my diagnosis on Aug 10th, I've known 3 other women facing serious illnesses. I feel old today. I have nothing to offer but my own faith, and attempts to give loving support.
I'm going to go debone some chicken, and then work on my painting. I'm feeling the need for some creative time to counteract this morning's sadness. This too shall pass.