Something Simple

 

Yep, that's us

Yep, that’s us at about age 3.
We’re sitting on my great-grandmother’s couch when she lived in an apartment on Oltorf in Austin, Texas.

When Seana told me she had cancer, I was in the drive-thru line at Starbucks.
She called me, all doped up from her preventative outpatient surgery to tell me that she already had the big C. As I reached through my window to pay the Starbucks employee, the work “cancer” ripped through my ear canal and shot out the other side.
“What?” No! I didn’t hear that rightJust keep listening. You heard it wrong.
Cancer came through again and I knew there was no mistake. “O-K.” I grabbed my latte and drove out of the parking lot, not sure what to do or where to go.
I needed to think…of her.
So many things ran through my mind at that moment, most of them were profane, but none of them were necessary because I knew what I had to say.
“What do you need?”
Because she had heavy drugs on board and I’m sure had to be shell shocked, she said “nothing right now.”
After we hung up, I pulled into a parking lot and cried–snot pouring out of my nose sobbed. I cried because the idea of her not being there when we were 90, the thought of her not being there when I needed advice on a recipe, simply her not being there…well, I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
I wanted to do something, anything to fix this. To make her well and yet, I knew I didn’t learn magic powers,  buy a wand, or construct a tricorder (I think I skipped that week in school).
We talked on and off everyday then after a week, she called me and asked if I’d participate in the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) 5K run/1K walk here in San Antonio. “Hell yea! Something I can do.”
I got to feel productive, because I felt totally and completely helpless.
Once I’d registered for the race, I texted her to tell her about it. Within moments, we’re sending each other messages when my husband walked by.
I told him I’d plan to participate in the race, but I wanted to do more. “I want to do something for her.”
He pointed to the phone as another text rung. “You’re doing it. That’s what she needs right now. You to be there.”
Sometimes it’s the small things that are what people need. A note of “what’s up?” today or “How you feeling?” or “Want to hear a dirty joke?” It sounds too simple and maybe it is, but I know she needs me to be, well, me. I’m no good to her if I’m frantic and acting like an idiot. She knows I can’t fix it, but I can be there when she needs me and when she simply wants a cheerleader.
We’re going to be given many obstacles to jump and avoid in our lifetime, but sometimes you’ve got to hit them head on and think of nothing but what someone else needs.
Is that the meaning of friendship? Maybe.
Can it really be that simple?
Absolutely.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. carmenmendes@me.com
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 11:34:28

    So beautiful…thanking you for posting and sharing it…
    Carmen

    Reply

  2. candid about cancer
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 18:48:16

    Thank you, Carmen!

    Reply

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