A Very Moving Essay
This essay by Susan Gubar is gorgeously written, very moving, and absolutely captures the essence of the relationships we make with one another. While I (and, I am sure, she) would never say that having cancer is a blessing, I am sure that we would both acknowledge the precious relationships that have developed along the way.
It is amazing that we likely never visit one another's homes, never meet one another's partners or spouses or children, maybe never share a meal, yet were intimate companions. I experience and see this most often in my groups, but the presence of something almost holy surely joins individual sessions sometimes, too. This past week at my group for women with advanced cancer, one woman was painfully talking about her recent diagnosis of brain mets, her fear of the planned whole brain radiation, her recognition that this development meant something new and terrible in her life. Another woman softly said:" How is your soul?" And she answered: "I am praying for it."
This is a quote from Susan Gubar's newest New York Times blog and then a link to read the essay. Please do.
Thinking of that conversation, of casting on as well as casting off, and of the coming fair weather, I went to my closet and chose a paisley silk sent decades ago by my collaborator and a lightweight pashmina brought to the hospital by a well-wisher. At my desk, I addressed a mailer and then found a card in which I wrote my message:
Darling, I am divesting myself of these scarves to invest them with you so you can divest and invest for us both. Love, Susan.
Only weeks later, when my friend’s chemotherapy failed and she enlisted the aid of hospice, did I find the words that convey what I really had wanted to communicate. A “Prayer” by Galway Kinnell expresses, much better than I could, my aspiration for her and for myself.
Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what
I want only that. But that.