I recently sent an email to my readers about a friend of ours who was diagnosed with a tumor deep in her brain.
I’m still processing things. How it affects her, her partner, family, friends. And me.
She recently elected to forego chemo therapy because it was causing a number of adverse effects and her oncologist suggested she stop.
As I said in my email, you don’t know how things will turn out. We have a lot of data, facts about glioblastomas that suggest things are bad and won’t get better. But there are exceptions to almost everything, things that happen we can’t explain.
When my wife Elle told me about our friend Sue (not her real name), I didn’t say much. After all these years together (as I write this, 37 years), she understands me. Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I don’t feel things (nor does it mean I’m shy) or that I don’t care.
I’m anything but insensitive. You can ask Elle and she’ll tell you I might be the most sensitive person she’s ever met. I’m not bragging, just stating the case.
But I get it. Quiet and reserved can sometimes be mistaken for cold and uncaring. In fact, one of my student classes awarded me, at the end of the school year, with a hand drawn image entitled, “Stone Cold Kelsey”. This was in jest because my frozen exterior became something we joked about over the semester. I think it was something about a warm fire inside an igloo…or something like that.
Anyway, I write and do other creative things precisely because the creative part of my brain has more of a AutoBahn highway for emotional expression.
So, here I am writing to you about me and our friend.
And I’m trying to figure out what to say that would help me and you.
Maybe it’s this.
The days pass slowly while the years fly by.
And as you age, the speed seems to increase.
Right? Wasn’t Christmas just a couple months ago?
I worked with Sue in the hospital on the neuro floor. This is a woman whom I admire for her intellect and courage among other things. One time, she was speaking with a neurosurgeon about a particular patient and in the middle of the conversation, the doctor turns and walks away (talk about ignoring the bid). Sue starts briskly walking, almost running, after him shouting, “Hey! I was talking to you! We are not done with this! I SAID I AM TALKING TO YOU! TURN AROUND!”
And turn around he did.
Now at the time, NO ONE spoke to a doctor like this much less a neurosurgeon. Not Sue. She could care less about that. She had something important to say and that damn surgeon was going to hear it.
That was over 35 years ago.
Yet it does not seem that long ago. How can this be? Where did all of that time go?
And, have I done anything good with it?
No, not good. I mean great. Something that lasts or as Steve Jobs liked to say, puts a dent in the universe.
I don’t know. Mom Niles (I have two mothers, one on the Kelsey side of the family and one on the Niles side – that’s another story though) called me on my birthday this year and said, “You’re probably starting to feel the time now…around this age it usually happens and that’s ok honey. You’re doing just fine.”
Maybe the take away is, at the risk of sounding trite, be present in each day and wring all you can out of it. Maybe that’s how you put a dent in the universe. Because while you’re doing that, you impact a lot of other people who can also impact other people and on and on.
Maybe the best thing we can do is do our best and enjoy the best we can do…day by day.
That’s all I have for now.
Thanks for reading.
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