Hope Floats

red ink…

No surprise that I, too, have a favorite song from the play “Wicked” – It’s “Because I Knew You” and the refrain goes “Because I knew you . . . I have been changed for the better . . . I have been changed . . . for good.” My kids and I sang that song in my house at the top of our lungs for months after seeing the play last Christmas eve. It made me think of my besties, especially Barb, who are so very different from me in many ways, but who have loved and accepted me just as I am, and in the process have made me better and changed me. The tale of love and acceptance – true friendship – no matter what is my favorite thing about that wonderful musical that no one should miss – but maybe you don’t have to see it 5 times! (smiles to Barb!)

So the last couple of weeks of radio silence have been a little tough, I’ll admit. Now I understand how many others in my little sis’s life have been feeling all along. Texting during the Oscars was as close as we’ve come to a genuine conversation in weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I completely empathize with the need to retreat and focus, especially when you are trying to get through something, because I do it often, and can now better relate to how my people feel when I’m M.I.A. and they just want to “be there for me.” As I’ve said to pink ink many times in response to the reactions of others who she wasn’t in contact with, “this is your journey and you get to travel through it the way that feels best for YOU.” That advice holds true even when it means she doesn’t feel like talking to me!

Communicating, under these circumstances, isn’t just for the person facing the challenge but for the supporters as well. Supporters, it turns out, have a need to “support.” Barbra’s Backers were there because they wanted to support, and formed their team out of their love for her and Brendon, but also out of their need to do something. In every area of my life, I’m a fix-it chick – just give me a problem and I’ll try to fashion a fix. Not doing anything active simply doesn’t come naturally. I’m learning through this and through other challenges that it’s important to recognize that YOU (read “I”) can’t always fix it, and that trying to can be, well . . . annoying. Some things are simply out of your control – now there! I struggle with this mightily, but am learning to have peace with just being still. It’s a gift actually, to know that my actions or inactions for that matter, don’t always change the outcome because sometimes I just screw up and do or say exactly the wrong thing even with the best of intentions.

I believe there is a purpose to everything, so honestly on my darkest days (which are rare) I wondered sadly if God was preparing me to be without her as I looked to others for the every day banter and the soul comforting laughter they we usually share. That is an honest, unimaginable, thought that I have not dared utter before. On most days though, I just pray, wish her good thoughts, and think about our reunion in the Inkwell, laying on that beach, laughing and watching our chicklets enjoy each other, occasionally with the hubbies along for awhile. With the last chemo behind her (YEA!!!) and only radiation between us, let the countdown begin . . .

I also realize that I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog for awhile in part because Barb’s posts have been so powerful that my responses seemed inadequate. While my life continues, with some pretty difficult challenges of my own I can assure you, I have been feeling more and more like my problems were a distraction and my voice didn’t really have a home here, and that’s ok. This really is Barb’s story and she should absolutely tell it. I’ve witnessed that life in the cancer lane is at times all consuming and can take up all the air in the room. Barb’s need to just catch her breathe over these past few weeks, and find her own rhythm in the midst of it all makes perfect sense to me.

So while my own wacky life, with its not so normal ups and downs, spins along, Barb has been less a part of it (and I less a part of her’s) during these past few weeks as she focuses all of her energy on feeling better and spending time with her loves. I have hope though that what we absolutely require is provided and takes the shape of the most convenient container. So today is a day that I’ll focus on hope in the form of friends who show up in hospital rooms or take you out for drinks, family members who care for your children and come when you need them, or the true loves of our lives who share our story as it is unfolding. Barb’s journey demonstrates to me that hope truly defies the gravity of our situations. Here’s to Hope!

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