The emotional toll of cancer

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You all know who you are.  People in places I no longer live or visit. My family pronounced me dead with my mother, although my step sister teased me with phone calls while she was unemployed but now that she's working has no need of me. Not one person from my family has even reached out to me, not even to allow me the final goodbye I desperately needed with my mother. She died and you all kept me in the dark about the funeral. My brother messaged my ex husband on Facebok the night before her funeral in south Florida. I got a text saying my condolences and I had to ask my ex why he sent this text to me. 

But we get used to our friends and family deserting the sinking ship that is our lives, don't we? I miss hearing laughter and the sound of thunder during storms or bumble bees or the condescending sounds of the Atlantic Ocean as it slaps the shore calling me in for a swim in its warm body. Florida, weird and wonderful. New York City still calls my name and I want to die in the same hospital I was born in. That's my only wish if I should slip into a bad spot when we decide no more chemo and no more pain.

But to those of you who probably know I have the dread disease, did I hear you say I'm over you? You really still miss my cooking and our dinner parties? Our walks in the trees near the trailer in Gainesville where your mom kept that horse? I still laugh at your funny David Attenborough impression you'd use to narrate my 30 pounder Buddy, or Olaf Budson the Norwegian elk cat? Your recovery from Vicodin on my couch as I shooed away your nasty ex boyfriend while he just wanted the tv as you laid there barely breathing and I still have the silver dollar I found in the dirt at the hospital that day? You remember how your crazy cousins tried to convince me you were in the mob and how you handed me 10,000 dollars in chips at the craps table at MGM in Las Vegas and I lost it all but a 100 dollar chip which I keep hidden in a book in my office? When I asked you why you did it you said scared money don't win and don't bet what you can't afford to lose. God, that was good advice. Do you remember us going to pick up guys at a bar in Miami and how hard we laughed when you realized you had toilet paper stuck in your tights and it had been attached to the roll and about 300 feet of it were behind you like a chemtrail? Do you know I have the photos of our wedding in Las Vegas and my favorite is probably one of the first selfies ever of you riding down in the elevator at the Golden  Nugget, mirrors around you and a Marlboro light hanging from the side of your mouth with a look of a deer in the headlights on your face? Do you know our cat Pedro lived to be 23 years old and he made it to California with me? Did you know I hated you for having me come to your hotel room in Sausalito to shave your back for your date with the woman to whom you're now married and though I doubt she will read this but if she does, fuck you for leaving me here in California after dragging me away from my home to a place where I knew hardly anyone and the market took a shit that year and so did the job market with it? I saved you from certain distruction when you had no job and no home and let you live in my house when you were tossed out by your wife and then you moved in your girlfriend and took over my home and the rest of what I had left in the world after being stalked by a nutty rebound boyfriend? I remember the guilty smear campaign you and she went on to cover over your fear and guilt. I used to really love visiting with the great friend who hired me at Cisco after you'd moved onto Google and we'd have lunches about once a quarter for years. And that the last time I saw you in New York City you complimented me for continuing to blow my then boyfriend and current husband in the shower even after I'd broken my nose on his pelvic bone. And how we skipped out of the telecom show to go like little kids to universal studios that day and had so much fun riding roller coasters after my panel on the rise of social media before it was even called social media. Thanks to a roommate and once dear hearted asexual with the infectious laugh with whom videos were made of our friends including thre singer of the band and the guitar player in Gainesville, and don't forget the girlfriend of the singer who married and divorced my most cherished friend of all to whom I gave a job so she could eat when she arrived in Gainesville from along visit to Russia. And to the one who I never believed would leave me so plainly due to a fear of tears, it's you scarecrow I miss the most. Not the one in the trailer that year but the one who called me for career advice and bailed me out of an all too frightening extortion scheme while my husband was releasing the toughest software for security's sake ever to be released. 

But I've not heard from any one of you. 

As for those who kept their hearts open and arms wide for hugs and for tears, I have the constant and same for you all, too. My ever present respect and love of your souls and energies carry me like air carries a bird in its thermal winds.

You never let me get too far, my dearest and first love with whom a lifetime of ditching one another for sport became a true and long friendship. Thank you for remembering me from the French territory where we spent many cold weeks decorating and listening to Coltrane. Thank you for remembering me even though you're finally and proudly full time employed and you have more wonderful children than one could be blessed with and a husband who treats you right. Thank you my favorite Cisco SED who I had no idea had a wife with a lifetime illness and your emails make me feel cared about. Thank you to the woman who spent hours with me on the phone who I worked with at Nuance and is not just a fine mother, marketer, and maker of merriment but friend, too. Thank you to my biker buddy who has spent countless hours with me allowing my venting sessions to go on as long as they needed. Thank you for asking me via text how I am from over in Capitola and for letting me know I always have a home if I need one. Thank you for showing me another way to do my business and for being there since day one in the hospital to my good but tough friend who loves me but can't say it easily like I can. My neighbors for being closer to me than I'd ever known a real neighbor. One who is just as talkative as I am, the other who diligently writes me cards and gives me quiet support since she too has had a bout of breast cancer. And thank you, my most favorite person, my husband for coming back for me from a dark place and getting bathed in light with me so my laughter is the last thing you hear at night not my tears.

Friends cannot always understand cancer, priceless are my new friends who check on me even when I refuse to be loved, and I thank you.

But love comes in all shapes and sizes and colors, but isn't it always the times we need love most when a cat on our lap is really all you can handle? It's those friends who can recognize us as not being assholes on those days, but they gently put us to bed, kiss our foreheads metaphorically and tell us, it's okay, I'll see your beautiful face tomorrow?

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