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.