My friend finally lost her battle. One year ago she called me to tell me that she was on hospice. A few weeks after that, she called to tell me she was in remission. She had a full blown miracle.
We met when I was 5 or 6 at the apartment complex I grew up in. It was the place where all divorcees went to live and hence, I recall knowing her. She was way older… by five years and our paths didn’t cross again til I was in middle school and she, a senior in high school. My sister had been a stage hand or something in a play called, Stages and I remember seeing her all grown up!
Twelve and a half years ago, while at Gymboree, I heard that voice and heard her say her name; I’d made a B-Line to get to her. We had kids 5 days apart and from then on, we’ve been connected.
When I found out she was sick, I ran to the market and got every magazine, candy and snacks I could carry, and dropped them at her house to show her I am here.
During her sickness, I, too became sick. From that moment on, she went from friend to “cancer coach”.
She told me what to expect, asked lots of questions and was very curious that I was on a pill and not traditional chemo. She would listen to my fears and understood all the emotions I was experiencing.
In turn, I knew all that she was feeling. We spoke all the time, through her hospital stays, car services up to Sloane Kettering and while away on trips.
We would joke with each other, “if you don’t hear from me….” and she’d say, “you’re dead.”
She was a wonderful listener and she understood that nobody else really got it.
I would ask her why she is not afraid in the least to die and she just would reply, “I’m just not afraid. I worry about my son but…” …She even shared a story that had to the day, bothered her. It was the only thing on her mind she just couldn’t get over. I told her, “ohhhh, I got this. Don’t you worry, I will make sure…”
Anyway, while standing in line at her funeral, I saw someone and was reminded by her story. The one where she couldn’t die in peace. Then, I remembered my promise to her that eased some of her discontent at the thought of it.
So, I did what any good friend would do and I kept my promise.
I know that her story is not mine (only because she told me) and that as long as there are options, that is good (only because she told me). I can hear her voice and know the things she would say to me still… but I am all alone in my journey now.
Sure, I have plenty of friends and family, but I don’t have someone who knows what it is like to no longer have control over your own body.
Sit with that for a moment.