Wednesday, August 19, 2009

To a friend

This is a requiem to inspiration; from whom and where we find it is of little consequence; that it exists; is divine.

Yesterday, a friend of mine passed away. We weren't close and I really didn't know that much about her. In fact, we had never met, but I felt an unusual connection to her. She was also suffering from cancer. What kind? I don't really know. The more I learned of her resilience and stoic dignity, her intractable perseverance ( for almost 5 years I was told), the more intense my admiration for her became.

Her inspiration to me was imperceptible at first, as I struggled with my own cancer. I had not yet experienced the revelations that prospective brings. It has taken time, time that continues to unravel to reveal that the spectre of uncertainty isn't so unrelenting, if only for a little while; my friend reassured me of this.

Throughout the last eight months I have met many cancer patients experiencing the success of remission. I have been inspired by their insights and rejoiced in their determination and good fortune. I have also shared my treatment experience with many others in the hospital, while I was there. We rarely exchanged words, only knowing glances and a nod with the understanding, in that moment, that this wasn't going to be the same for both us. Would we see each other again? I feared not.

That fear is still an abstraction. It won't seem to release its steely grip. My friend could always give me solace. On occasion I would hear of my friend, doing well, seemingly not constricted with fear and I imagined to myself, with an elegance that we all aspire to, that I aspired to.

With gallant dignity, I had heard, she confronted each day undaunted by her irreconcilable future; content with the comfort that pride in her children brings. I am blessed to know this pride, it comforts me everyday.

I've known my friend's son for a fairly long time, and as I learned of his mothers' condition I couldn't help thinking of chivalry and other anachronisms. Endeavors that inspire imagination of such an overwhelming order, to the extent upon which we are seldom tested. Quixotic and extraordinary, reminiscent of ones' steadfast commitment to someone else in the most desperate need, stalwart and undeterred by impossibility. Qualities rare indeed these days.

Alas, I think of my lovely wife, a handful of friends, and my own family; perhaps not so rare after all, and I'm thankful for that. Today I'm most thankful for my friend, who I only knew as Jim's mom. She meant so much to me when I didn't think I could survive, or felt frightened and uncertain. She provided me illumination and faith, her light is divine.

Thank you Jim's mom... T.

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