I want to send a special thank you to my friend Mary Wu, who inspired this meme. No, she’s not the one I lost. She just knows how much cancer sucks and when I told her about my friend, this is what she said. Of course she (and I) used the uncensored version. (If you want the uncensored version, let me know. I’m happy (??) to share.)
Cancer is sadistic. It wreaks havoc on the afflicted and doesn’t stop there. It screws with those who love the patient. My friend told me, in a rather frank manner, “I’ll be dead in 2 years.” He told me this four years ago. I got comfortable. I shouldn’t have.
We met about 27-28 years ago. His name was Mike. We hit it off fairly quickly. He became someone very important in my life. When I first met my husband, I, like many young women, was not quite sure what to do about this “interesting new guy” I met. We were very different. Mike encouraged me to get involved and explore a relationship with Antero. He said, “have fun and take it as an opportunity to learn.” I did, and here we are, married with two beautiful daughters. Mike was at our wedding and, though they may not remember it well, he did meet and interact with both my kids. He was amazing with kids. As a matter of fact, I think the last time I saw him in person was when I took Valleri to deliver Girl Scout cookies he had ordered from her. I am so glad they both got to meet him. He was an awesome person. He was funny. He had a hearty, infectious laugh and had such a quirky sense of humor that worked so well with kids – and adults.
Mike was one of the coolest people I knew. Seriously, he was cool. He was always willing to explore new things in pop culture, though he had his tried and true favorite classic interests and activities. He was way into racing. Way into it – like racing pictures all over his office walls and all over his Facebook page and of course attendance at racing events. He even had racing strips on his little red Miata. I teased him about that. He just beamed.
Mike was seriously cool, and yet, he made me feel like he thought I was cool. I am passionate about my music and whenever I told him about a new album from a group I loved, or when I was going to go see a band in concert, he checked into them, if he didn’t already know about them. He told me that I introduced him to some very cool music. Oh, he knew how to make you feel good about yourself!
Mike was very insightful. He helped me put so much into perspective about myself. When I couldn’t see my value, he pointed it out to me. He helped me see the parts of me that I thought were crazy in a whole new perspective. He helped me to see that those things were actually my strengths.
As life had it, Mike and I went in separate directions, but we always managed to keep in touch on some level through the years. When Facebook came around, we found that as a great way to keep up with each other, along with the occasional call or visit here and there.
So along comes this insidious monster, cancer. Two years later, I see Mike and he looks ok. He’s supposed to be gone by now, and yet, here he is. I got comfortable. I kept seeing his posts on Facebook. Life goes on. He had one post thanking the medical staff at the hospital for saving his life. I was lulled into complacency. Cancer does that to those on the outside. Everything looks fine on the outside and then it’s not. Cancer robbed Mike of life extraordinaire. Cancer robbed me of my friend.
Cancer f-ing blows.