I’d love to blame it on the damn psychic.
Many years ago, an intuitive told me I had fulfilled my purpose for this lifetime in 2006 and was “sticking around” solely to bring strength to others. She made it sound like from there on in, it was all extra credit.
I don’t mind extra credit. In my grade school years, I did quite a bit of it while raising my hand far too much. But the idea of simply being a pillar of strength from here to the bitter end sounded a bit somber.
And yet. Since then, I have had more people in my life get ill, go through horrendous hardships of all ilk—and yes, die—than I ever thought possible. I’m beginning to think that if you and I are friends, your odds may not be so great.
As tempting as pointing a figure at this psychic might be, I know psychics don’t create the future. They just clue us in to possible versions of it.
It was with a heavy heart, then, that I saw a friend’s Facebook post just eight days ago:
“So when you least expect it, ‘it’ can come creeping back in to your life. ‘It’ being cancer.
It is with an exhausted body, tear-filled eyes, that I share with you what is going on.
Since February I have not been feeling well. I see my oncologist monthly and we have been monitoring certain things that may be ‘off.’ After my February appointment we decided it was time again for another scan. That scan happened yesterday and the results are not what anyone wants to hear.
The cancer that in 2010 was found to have spread to my bones has now in a 6 week time frame taken over my liver. My liver is failing unless chemo is given.
I begin weekly chemo on Thursday. I have been living with extreme exhaustion, nausea, inability to eat, dehydration, retention of water for a solid 3 weeks now & even though the chemo can help alleviate some of that because we have to “hit” the liver hard & fast with chemo it is going to wipe me out.
My warriors are coming and I know many of you will want to help and I will take you up on that as soon as I know how or what we need help with.
As always I am the optimist and believe I am not done here on earth and that I will prevail, it’s going to be a tough road. One day hopefully sooner than later the shit cloud that I feel has plagued the 4 (now 3) of us will go shit on someone or something else. Keep us in your thoughts, positive energy is always helpful.
❤️ you all.
FYI, I sleep the majority of the day, please be mindful of coming by unexpectedly or phone calls. Text, email or good old fashioned snail mail works wonders to lift my spirits.”
My online response to this friend was: “Oh, Anne. This just seems too much. I am not there physically but please know I am with you every step of the way in spirit. I am sending love. And courage. And the biggest hug you can stand right now.”
My offline response was to let the tears come.
I was not one of Anne’s in-person warriors. She and I have remained friends since our youngest children were in preschool together almost a decade ago. But, she moved to another state so we communicated mainly electronically. We both have eldest children that have given us heartburn more than once. We both have had to be strong mama bears. We both feel things deeply.
I won’t share the bulk of those communications because they contain some things I think Anne should take to her grave with her. They are not mine to share. Mixed in with those very deep convos, though, are things like recipes for cold winter nights. Recipes that take zippo thought because you’re going through a hard time and too exhausted to deal with a proper dinner.
I found out, via text, that Anne passed away last night. My heart broke. Just nine months ago, her husband was killed by a driver who was too high not to hit him as he crossed an Arizona road. Her death leaves a high school senior and an eighth grader parentless. Without the mom who was still guiding them through their grief after their father’s death.
And, as life would have it, there’s a large case of Hint water on its way to her house because another friend and I thought it would help her stay hydrated and battle nausea during her chemo. That shows you where our heads were at the beginning of this week—not remotely close to anyone dying any time soon.
I share just a brief bit of Anne’s story because she loved this God-forsaken blog. She loved that I created what she called “goodness” from my deepest pain. She was a cheerleader from hundreds of miles away. It was not uncommon for me to get a message from her saying, “Holy crap, Kristine, your latest entry hit home!” or “Thank you for reminding me that it’s ok to not always be so strong—that everyone has cracks and those cracks are ok.” Friends that support you that consistently—and from a distance—are oh-so-rare. I know you know this. They’re the ones that we don’t forget.
When my ex got cancer–twice—Anne was the one who turned me on to a local cancer center with programs for kids going through what mine were. It was a godsend. I turned her onto some books that would help her kids learn about the Old Masters before they visited art museums in Europe. We shared in little ways, but they meant something to us.
I never thought I’d be thankful for electronic communication versus face to face, but the distance between us leaves me a sweet record of our back and forth. One that now makes me cry but also is a stark reminder that what we put out there while we’re here remains. And still has power even after we’re gone. I think that’s why many of us blog, right? I see, on my screen, the support we offered each other—alternating being “the strong one,” depending on which of us was facing another hurdle. That, for me, is a record of the magic we can all be for each other.
My last private words to Anne were: “I am here for you, despite the miles. I have been praying for you and sending love every single day.”
Not very profound, but these are the words most of want to hear when we’re hurting, I think.
I’ll leave you with Anne’s wise words to me—words she shared when she moved many years ago: “Being a kid who grew up moving every 2-3 years, I have learned that I never really EVER say goodbye. I have learned that I keep in touch with people no matter how long it has been or how far apart I am from them.”
I’m holding you to that promise, Anne. It may be a while before I see you again. I’ve got these boys who continue to need me. But, I’m counting on you to stay in touch. However you manage to do that. Even if it’s through that damned crazy psychic.