Monday, June 27, 2011

Dear JenniJazz,

Okay, Girlfriend!  You are on - for catching up and Subway lunches and transportation to manicures or radiation treatment or wig shopping or whatever.  I'm calling you the day after you get home from watching your kid compete on the international stage. 


How nice of your cancer to allow you to travel.  How very very convenient of it.  Seriously, I'm thrilled that you are going to the event; I just hate that you are traveling with the knowledge that disease is not now a part of your life.


And yes, that was a Freudian slip - my brain wanted to include the disease, my heart typed not.... which is exactly where I'd like it be be in relation to you - not.


You Suzi-Sat at 7am so TBG could make an airport run.  You brought me carry-in and sat at the table and told me secrets from your past as I revealed some from mine and we made a very unlikely pair, you and I.....


Until I remembered that I've always had a pretty, energetic, blond woman in my life.  At every stage there's been someone whose background and talents and interests are far from mine and yet with whom I form some mystical magical instantaneous I can tell her anything bond.  We laughed about it as you left that Saturday morning, agreeing that we were, in fact, two of the only people we knew who could be asked yesterday to do a favor real early today and who would say "I'd be happy to!" and be believed.  


You brought me sunshine and happiness and a glimpse of the normal world outside my cocoon and then you were gone, taking the carry-out trash along with you.  Easy-peasy as Mr. 6 tells me.  Easy-peasy indeed.

And now cancer has reared its ugly head, right in the middle of what might have been a really really nice summer.  The nerve.  I am peeved on your behalf, just as Tucson hurt for me in January.  I want to hug you, just as the lady in Target wanted to hug me last week.  It might make you feel better.... I would hope that you could feel the love .... but I also need to reassure myself that you are here and okay.

Believe me when I tell you that I know how taxing it is to take care of those who care about you.  Everyone says they want to hear about it, and your friends are asking without thought to the gossip value of the information, and you know that they would take the time to hear it but ......  

You need them to be strong for you to lean on; you can't complain when the facts are so encouraging : it's early and there is good news on the treatment and the prognosis is excellent.  Sometimes you can share just how very very bummed you are about the whole situation, but then your listeners feel an obligation to cheer you up, to solve your problem, to show you the light at the end of the tunnel.

Those who love us can't leave us in a puddle of sorrow and walk away; we don't surround ourselves with callous fools.  So, the sunny side of the street is where I always end up walking when they are around.  Because most of the time that's where I am anyway, and because it serves no purpose to wallow in public. I just know you are doing the same thing.

But sometimes that's just not going to cut it.  Sometimes I don't want my problems solved.  Sometimes I just need to take them out for an airing.  We cheery people need a little bit of angst, too, don't we?

Solidarity..... Been There, Felt That .... Little Cuter says that's what should come back to her when she calls to talk about her day which was filled with calamity and woe.  This is just another example of her innate brilliance and her ability to intuit what psychologists spend years proving: Misery Loves Miserable Company.

Stanley Schachter proved this in 1959, and I learned it in Psych 101 in 1969 and I'm proving it right now, with JannyLou by my side.  Janny-Lou's diagnosis came mid-way through my non-weight-bearing recovery and there was nothing for us to do but laugh.  And then cry. And then wonder when the next shoe would fall.  Then we heard about you.

So, I'd like to invite you to join JannyLou and me in our "Whenever We Need It Pity Party."  

I get the whole upbeat thing, as you well know.  I know that it will help you beat this every bit as much as will the radiation and the surgery.  I believe that profoundly.  But sometimes you just wake up to the realization that it sucks and you don't want to depress your family or friends who certaimly will listen but who are already so sad that they just can't handle one more drop of it.  

That is when you pick up the phone, go into a closet, close the door and make the call.  We will agree with you that it is unfair, unhappy, rude, and should go away RIGHT NOW.  

We get it.  You can be whiny and complaining and nauseatingly specific about your physical or emotional self and we'll agree with you that you are absolutely right to be so furious at the world.  After a few minutes we'll all feel fine and go on our merry ways.  

Fast Eddie calls us the Bobbsey Twins.  How about the 3 of us as The Anderson Sisters?

3 comments:

  1. Nothing hones empathy like experience. May JenniJazz heal and know the return of the energy and well-being she brought to your process. We know she'll continue to pay it forward.

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