Just As I Thought

Wish I was as strong as them

People tend to get involved when something touches their life directly rather than indirectly. And that’s why I support breast cancer research.
You’d think that, being a gay man, I’d be spending all my time at AIDS rides and supporting AMFAR and such — and of course, that cause is no less important. But surprisingly, I don’t know anyone with AIDS or even HIV. But I have two friends with breast cancer. Two women with very different personalities and demeanor, who have more than just breast cancer in common: they are also both determined and strong, fighters with grace, and never let pain diminish their sense of humor.
Before I moved to California, I was only too happy to shuttle one of my friends for doctor appointments, to donate sick leave and put together little packages to cheer her up. By the time the other was diagnosed I had moved and have always felt guilty in some way that I wasn’t there to help, although I was so happy to see them both healthy and cheerful during my visit last month.
But the future is less clear. Cancer sometimes reasserts itself, in other forms and in other places, and I am not there to help — perhaps that is egotistical or selfish of me, to think that anything I could do would make it better. Perhaps it is just to make me feel better. I look into the near future for one of my friends and see chemo sessions, sickness and pain to come, and knowing that I am on the other side of the country bothers me. I want to make her laugh to forget for just a few minutes. It’s funny — it seems like the person diagnosed isn’t the one crying, it’s the friends.
It’s time to start making care packages again.

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