Ok...here's what I knew
A friend of mine from high school passed away earlier this week due to Breast Cancer
And I knew she wouldn't survive it when I heard the news 5 years ago.
At the time, I worked for a Physician and this Physician was my friends doctor.
It was after my friend had left the office...after the appointment was over and done with
when my boss, the doctor, kindly told me that the cancer my friend had was aggressive.
That it was one of the worst kinds of breast cancer to have, that my friend would not survive it.
But survive it she did, for 5 years.
This friend of mine was also our neighborhood pharmacist.
And a good one at that.
Kind, caring, loving....knew every patient by face and name
Even knew the names of their extended family members.
Our sons had gone to school together for 12 years.
Our sons were both in track & field together.
Our sons had both qualified to go down state in their respective track events senior year.
This State Track meet was held on the exact same weekend as their high school graduation.
After running his event my son came home for his high school graduation
to walk through the Pomp and Circumstance and receive his diploma.
Her son did not.
He opted to stay for the whole weekend to watch the rest of the races.
And I knew that that decision of his hurt her Mamas heart.
She only had the 1 son and she told me that it made her sad
that she never got to see him graduate from high school.
She told me that her son started talking down to her,
"Just like his dad" she told me one day while I picked up my prescription.
She started to let slip little digs that her spouse was saying to her.
Shitty little things he would say to undermine her in front of their son;
their son who had suddenly moved out and on with his life,
their son who had stopped talking to his mama with any respect.
I knew this hurt her.
She called both her husband and her son jerks.
She would joke about it....them both being so much alike.
But I knew it wasn't a joke.
By the end of that same year, her son would move across country to Colorado.
6 months later her daughter would leave for college
And her jackass of a spouse would come home one day and announce
That he had a girlfriend, that he didn't love my friend anymore
and that he was moving out and she could file for divorce or not.
Said he didn't care either way.
She opted for the divorce.
It was strange...all of a sudden she started to laugh a bit more.
Started throwing her own digs back at him a bit more
Would tell me things at the pharmacy window
that probably should have been told to me over a couple of glasses
of wine instead of my newly purchased blood pressure meds.
I soon realized that it was all a coping mechanism.
Her laughing and saying things about him
Took me too long to realize that she was hurting.
That he had wrecked her.
That she was humiliated and sad and angry.
2 months later her gynecologist found that lump.
1 month later I knew she wouldn't live to see her grandchildren.
After her radical mastectomy, she told me that it was great to finally have them gone.
She patted her shirt and said look! Like she was glad of it.
Is that a normal response for breast cancer patients??
I don't know about that but I knew that she was glad
to have the weight of those offending boobs off her chest.
She was 51 years old.
She died a horrible death that she didn't deserve.
Well shit! Does anybody deserve to die that way??
No, but it seemed especially cruel to have so much happen to one person in the last 5 years of their life.
She was kind and funny and she laughed at my cornball jokes
She confided things to me about her life
And I confided things to her about my own.
And I know that when she died, she left a hole in my life
and a huge hole in this world that no one else will ever be able to fill.