|Against all odds and the Sunset Garden Book, those plumeria are thriving in Austin|
For the last few nights I've sat on my porch in the cool, quiet, early fall evening, and looked at the moon and thought about life. Or more specifically, death. The terrible specter of death has crept into my life. My beloved friend J is gravely ill. Maybe. Of course not. I don't know.
Just two months ago, we all spent a wonderful weekend laughing and cooking and eating and feeling immortal, or as immortal as middle-aged people have any right to feel. If you had asked us to vote on who seemed the healthiest, ate the best, exercised the most, and led the godliest life, J would probably win. He was coughing a little, perhaps, but this has been a harsh year for allergies, and the smoke has been constant.
|We didn't know.|
He is so clever, so funny, and so dear.
J and his sweet wife went home to Texas and he drove his daughter back to college. Then he went on a cross-country road trip, relocating his Navy son from San Diego to Maine. But when he got back, he suddenly started to feel awful. So he went to the doctor for a check-up.
He got the news nobody wants. He has a very rare, aggressive lung cancer. It has already spread to his liver and bones, although not his brain. His pain is unbearable. Life is suddenly very different, precious, and frightening.
|J and B--two halves of a perfect whole|
In truth, this is not my story to tell. I feel greedy claiming pain and fear because his family has cornered the market on pain and fear. I have no right to expect constant updates or medical information. Would I feel better if I had that? Does carrying some of the anxiety help to bear it, or just duplicate it? Am I exploiting them by posting about it?
My tears won't help at all. If they did, he'd be better already.
Everyone he knows wants him to get well, not just me. J is my old friend--not my husband, my dad, or my son. I don't presume to want it more than they do because that's impossible.
But make no mistake: I want it so much. So much.