So I didn’t say goodbye. I didn’t cry, or tell you that I love you. I didn’t tell you how you changed me – how you made me strong by believing that I was strong, when all I felt was weak and scared. I didn’t get to hold you tight, or really let you go.
You were just gone.
But it still felt like you were here. No, it still feels like you are here. Sometimes anyway. Sometimes when I am not thinking and just feeling, I forget that we will never laugh together or play together or steal bread together again.
But you’re not.
And I missed out on when you were, because I didn’t know what cancer was – that it would kill indiscriminately. Caner was for old people, not the young, the beautiful, the vibrant. So you had cancer – big deal. You were strong, smart and fierce. We would have plenty of time to catch up after you beat this thing – “now” was for the people closest to you; the people I knew would help you beat this thing.
If I had known that last time would be the last time, I wouldn’t have let it be. If I had known that even your amazing strength, combined with the strength of those who loved you most, wouldn’t be enough to defeat cancer, I would have given you my strength too, even if I knew that it wasn’t going to be enough either.
So why now, Christina? After all these years without you, why do I suddenly NEED to drag myself out of bed in the middle of the night to talk to you?
My friend Tracy has stage four colon cancer. This isn’t news though; it’s been over a year since we (she) found out. She’s too young; but you were even younger.
The thing is, I know I screwed up with you. I should’ve been there, and I wasn’t. Who knew that lesson would be applicable to my next friend with terminal cancer though. I don’t want to screw up again. Except, I can’t be there for Tracy. Or, at least, it’s difficult. For starters, we live on opposite sides of the country. For seconds, she’s married to my ex brother in law. Oops. Their whole family kinda doesn’t really like me, and that’s putting it nicely. It makes it awkward (for me & her) when I am there, or if I try to do things to help.
But I know what you’d say. So someone doesn’t like me? Sounds like their problem, not mine, right? Right.
Once upon a time, when I was a little college freshman, you made me stronger by believing that I was stronger than I was. Maybe that’s why I feel like I need you now.