Monday, January 12, 2009

Prayers, please

When I got home from NY last night, Rhett came over to have dinner and bake some cookies, but before we were able to sit down to eat, he was shocked to hear from a friend and learn that one of his close friends was just diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer.

I've only met this friend once or twice, so Rhett was obviously much more upset than I, but later that evening, as I looked at my boyfriend and happened to think that I hoped our kids would have his profile (I've always hated mine), it hit me that our friend has plans for the future, too. Hopes and dreams and plans and fantasies for the next five years or more (though probably not ones that involved kids with Rhett's nose). Now his chances of being alive in five years are very slim. As theoretically aware as any of us may be of our own mortality, I don't think it ever really occurs to a healthy 22 year-old that he might not make it to 27. As theoretically as I may have ruminated on the fact that Rhett and I would have sad times in our relationship, would have to help each other in grief and possibly tragedy, this always revolved around the funerals of distant uncles, or the very far-away deaths of our parents - the kind of things that are so remote that they don't yet have the power to inspire emotion.

Tragedy was not supposed to strike so soon.

I have a tendency - one that drives Rhett crazy - to take any negative situation I read about or see on TV and wonder aloud "What if?" "What if you you die of a heart attack and leave me and our three boys unable to make ends meet?" (Compliments of Secret Millionaire.) "What if we have trouble having kids?" (Thank you, Baby Mama.) "What if I miscarry once we do get pregnant?" (Courtesy of that episode of King of Queens I watched last week.) "What if our kid gets cancer? (Why on earth did Jon and Kate have to go to St. Jude Children's Hospital?)

The possibility of bad things is often in my mind, and I thought that, as a result, I'd be prepared for when bad things actually happen, as I know they inevitably will. I was not prepared. I was not even prepared for hearing news that did leave a possibility of hope, slim though it may be. I was not even prepared for bad news about the health of an acquaintance I barely know. I can't even begin to fathom how he must feel.

I know that this blog doesn't have what you'd call a "readership," but to anyone reading this, please pray - hard - for the health of a 23-year-old med student with brain cancer.

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