November 11, 2009

Just Keep Swimming.

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.

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