Monday, September 6, 2010

Hi Ho Cherry-O

We recently learned from a friend that she has incurable lung cancer. She's been given less than a year to live.

I wouldn't call her a close friend, we've not known her very long. But she is a true friend, says what she means, does what she wants, and has meant a lot to our family. She became very involved with us during Henry's illness. She was invaluable in many ways.

(If I had a bit of a persecution complex, I'd advise everyone to quit socializing with me. I seem to be a human talisman of death and destruction the last couple of years. I wonder, is it just my age? I'm older, I know more people, bad things happen all the time...but it really does seem excessive.)

In our first conversation after her diagnosis, she said to me, "I know you don't believe what I believe, but one of the things that comforts me about what is to happen is that I will get to see Henry again, and we'll play games again." They often played Hi Ho Cherry-O while he was sick. He usually won too.

I told her, "I really don't believe what you do, but that's ok. Nothing would make me happier than if that were to happen."

Up until now, insinuations that Henry was frolicking through a field catching butterflies with other dead people angered me. However well intentioned, it seemed such a silly, ridiculous thing to suppose. That it was supposed to make it easier that he was no longer alive was the bitter pill to swallow.

But something about what she said softened my heart. And while I don't believe that it will happen, there's a small piece of me that smiles if I imagine that it could.


radioactive girl said...

I am so sorry. What a terrible thing to find out/happen.

I feel like I am kind of a curse on other people (and myself) lately. Not really, but if I sat and thought too long about it I would definitely believe it.

I will think good thoughts for everyone, and even though, like you, I don't necessarily believe they will get to hang out, I will hope it because that would be so sweet.

Sybil said...

You know my lovely niece Beth thinks very similarily to yourself and at the moment my darling Brother in Law is dying of Pancreatic cancer John is her Dad and we have only known for 2 months and his time is now very near. It is 16 months sinse Jacqueline died her sister and Johns eldest daughter. John looks forward to seeing Jacqueline and Beth thinks it is a daft idea...or so she said however she then had to clarify that sentiment and she had to say that she could maybe just imagine it happening !! she certainly would not like to think she would never see her dad or Sister again...
Love Sybil x

Arlene (AJ) said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, she'll be in my thoughts and prayers. If you allow yourself to "Believe" then anything is possible.

socks said...

Chasing butterflies and welcoming friends and family, what could be better to imagine for Henry's afterlife - no one knows for certain.

My Dad was a minister of faith and believed that Hell is on Earth. He said that it only gets better, not worse.

Find comfort wherever and whenever you can. Henry would want that for you, and so do I.

...tom... said...


Before there were established religions early humans buried their dead with preparation and articles for 'use' in the 'afterlife'.

That we both mourn and celebrate our dead is a facet of human activity that separates us from animals that simply abandon their dead.

Perhaps our belief in an afterlife is a 'drug' conjured from over-active neurons and too much time to 'think' about things.

I am not sure any possible afterlife is best represented as 'frolicking in flowered meadows' . . .but I refuse to believe this mortal coil is all there is.

Perhaps that belief itself, and the power of it to 'soften our hearts', is reason enough to believe ...or at least grudgingly tolerate it. Certainly does no harm in the present.

Anyway . . ..


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the difference was that she was talking only about her hopes and feelings, rather than telling you how she thought you should feel and what your hopes should be?

Best wishes for your friend in her illness, and for you as you support her.