Providing the Normal
Sunday at the lake–it’s kind of a cloudy cool morning and Husband and I are on our laptops, just doing our respective stuff, sipping coffee, and chatting. It’s comfortable, easy–a nice life. And it’s made me start thinking about how blessed I am to have this life. A couple of years ago, I blogged gratitude every evening and I’m thinking I should probably reinstate that practice because when life gets harried, I lose sight of what a great life I have and how so many others don’t have such a great life.
Last night, I talked to my dear friend, Lucy, who’s on her way home from spending a few days with another long-time friend a few states away. The woman she went to visit just lost her husband amid a ration of tragedy too intimate and involved to go into here. Suffice to say, her life is awful right now and Lucy was moved to drive over 700 miles to comfort her friend. What an amazing gesture. Lucy is a good friend.
What makes a good friend? So many people tell me what a good friend I am because I help out my friend Dee, who is my little miracle. She’s in her third year of chemo for a cancer we were told would be the end of her two and half years ago. She’s fighting and so far, the tumor is stable and she’s alive. She’s survived the death of her husband, greeted a new grandgirlie, and will be meeting another new babe in November–something she never thought she’d be around to do. So f*#k you, cancer!
But here’s the thing about being a “good friend.” I don’t feel like I’m a particularly better friend than any of Dee’s other close circle. I’m sure my pal, Lucy, doesn’t think she is either. We’re just desperate to fix things for friends we love, you know? How I wish I could heal Dee with a touch–just as Lucy wanted so very much to heal her friend’s pain. But we can’t–we can’t magically fix anything, so we do what we can to ease their burdens.
Helping out, being there, isn’t just for Dee, it’s for me too. Maybe I’m thinking too hard, but it seems there’s a selfish element involved. Being with her through chemo, helping her out when she needs a hand eases some of my frustration over not being able to heal her. Is that dumb? I don’t know, but that’s the way it is.
And always, there is the fact that Dee and I are dear friends–the cancer hasn’t changed that. She’s still damn good company and often in our time together, the cancer doesn’t even come up. We share our lives just as we have for the last 33 years. We talk about kids, marriages, grandkids, wishes, hopes, desires, we whine, we laugh, we knit, we play cards, we do all the stuff we’ve always done together . . . that hasn’t changed at all just because one of us has a terminal illness.
Dee has told me that I provide the “normal” in her life. If I can’t be the person who heals her, then providing the normal is as good a place to be as any other. I’m certain that’s what Lucy did for her friend this week–brought some normal into a horrendous situation. Normal allows you to breathe, focus, prepare for whatever’s coming next.
Does that make Lucy or me unusually good friends? Who knows? But I’m sure that if we were the ones who were suffering illness or tragedy, Dee and Lucy’s buddy would be right there for us, too.
Five things I’m grateful for:
- My blessed life — general I know, but I’ll be more specific in the rest of the list.
- I sold books!
- Lucy called me from the road when she needed someone to help her sort through what she was heading into–I hope it helped her to talk to me. I was so glad to be there for her.
- Swimming in the lake–it’s been yummy!
- Fresh peaches!