I know your room.
I lived there for five weeks. Although you’ve shoved the bed over against the window in a brilliant move making you much more one with the outside and your goal.
I know your pain.
Yes, this phrase has become comical in its overuse but in your case, Madame Butterfly, you know I know.
I am glad we met. You call me your mentor even though I’m your daughter’s age. I guess we mentors can be younger but you also give me strength. It may sound convoluted but since you are probably smarter than me and learned English at a later age, I’ll attempt an explanation. By allowing me to feel all-knowing about this stinky disease and by letting me in to help, you are helping me. For the entire summer I’ve relied on others for help. Now by your simple act of wanting to know more from me, I am able to give a little back. God it feels good. Thank you M.
So here’s a little more “help.” I was sitting on our insanely comfortable couch while the rest of my family sleeps this Sunday morning and I was thinking about you, sending healing thoughts across Troy and up Dequindre your way. I realized you are in the thick of it right now. You are in that place where the drugs in the bag hanging next to you are really hammering your mind and body. This is “Go Time” M. This is when you rely on everything you’ve ever known to pull you through.
Remember your own comfy spot at home. Remember your garden and your green thumb, never mind that autumn will be in the air soon. Remember your husband and your daughter, both hovering by your bedside knowing and not knowing what to do. Remember why you signed up to join this planet in the first place. Remember health.
Mostly, remember health. Because it’s looking for you and continually asks me about you. It wants so badly to visit and your nurses and doctor most certainly are trying to issue it a day pass. I saw it in the ward knocking on other people’s doors but it was pounding on yours! Ms. M, you don’t know how badly health feels for you.
But truly, the most important note I can pass on is that very soon you will succumb to health. Even my five weeks in your room — with that insane cooling vent and the bed that adjusts even when, damn it, you don’t want it to adjust — seems to have faded a little from my memory. Only just a little, but a little nevertheless.
And that’s the thing. Our cancer is the kind that allows that. Our doctor has never had a failure with this type of blood disease. Life’s not over; there’s still much more to come. Your eyes tell me you know this and want this. Now let your body realize it. Yes, the medicine that’s destroying the cancer is also bringing other sicknesses with it. You can’t imagine what was lurking in my intestines a few months ago. But I’ve seen the way you handle those invaders and I’m impressed.
In some very real ways M, you are my mentor. And I am all the better for it.