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Friday, November 19, 2010

When Someone You Loves Becomes Ill

I got the news in an email. "Preparation for our meeting this weekend," she said. "I didn't want you to be caught by surprise." Surprised? No. Shocked, frightened, sad? Yes. My friend is healthy. She takes are of her body and mind. She has healthy relationships and has learned to balance her life with things other than work, like family and friendships. Her family has no history - how can she have cancer? Yes, I said it. The "C" word that is uttered in hushed whispers, lest it be contagious. It is only by the grace of God that she found out in a routine colonoscopy. An exam we all put off, saying we'll get around to it, but really hate doing. Some never do get around to it, at their peril.

She tells me her prognosis is good. She is just at the beginning, exploring her options. She has promised to let her friends support her; to let me support her. "There is no pain like powerlessness," a line from a Jon Gailmor song, comes to mind right now. I have asked her to let me help so I don't feel powerless.  I ask myself if my offer is for me or for her. It really doesn't matter, since she is willing to allow me to accompany her in her journey.

All I can do now is to be present. Let her tell me what she needs. For now, that will have to be enough.

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