Late, late Sunday night I received an email from my friend J. For those of you just joining the program, J is a long-time friend. The one with whom I went to high school, but who I really got to know in college. The one who lives in Vegas with her husband and 2 year old daughter. The one who was diagnosed in June 2008 with a neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer that spread to her liver.
J's recent email was disheartening and per usual, the future is uncertain. I was supposed to go to Vegas to see her in September, but then we found out that J cannot have visitors who have flown via a commercial airline, thanks to the Piggy Plague. And since my private jet is sitting on blocks in our front yard, this meant I could not go to see her and my trip would have to be delayed until April or so. Quite simply, I was crushed.
I do not talk about J or this situation very often. It smacks of self-indulgence and melodrama for me to do so. After all, I live over 1300 miles away, safely ensconced far, far away from a world filled with endless doctor visits and a rigid routine of drugs that all seem to counteract each other.
It hurts to feel so useless, but what galls me the most is to know that I have not been such a good friend to her. Not just now, but also in the past. We went through a freaky, complete misunderstanding in 2003 but we made things right in 2004. I am forever grateful that J made that first move to figure out what the hell went wrong. And I am still ashamed at how I acted in 2003. She was the bigger person and there is a lesson in that. Something I struggle with, that whole "being a bigger person" thing. There is a beautiful quote from George Eliot that I use quite often: It’s never too late to become what you might have been.
Obviously, sometimes it is too damned late.
Again, I do not write much about J. It is her story, not mine. But what is happening with her runs deep with me and sometimes I need to let it come to the surface.
And now? I need to dive back below, into the deep waters that are my life.