A view from the valley

red ink . . .

So really, if my girl could manage to post today, I thought I could give you a view from where I sit — right here in the valley, with Barb. My conversation with Barb today was the first time (believe it or not) that we both literally broke down together. Now we’ve had other moments but not like today. We cried about the uncertainty ahead because at the end of the day we are chicks who like to have a plan and to know what’s coming next . . . We cried because we felt like our prayers were somehow not being heard . . . We cried because we are both scared . . . and we cried big tears about the loves of her life and how they would handle this latest devastating twist. Finally, she cried for herself and I cried for me. We both admitted that we just didn’t know what to do next and it occurred to me that we weren’t “supposed” to know what to do – neither she, the patient, or me, the friend. This should NOT be happening. We should NOT be here. But after lingering in the valley for a good little while, guess what? – we went about the business of formulating a plan that was about looking up. She asked me to call a few people to update them because she, understandably, wasn’t up to repeating things over and over again. I encouraged her to just go outside and let the sun shine on her face and then to see about getting a counselor for herself to pour out all of the things that she might not want to say to anyone else at this point, including me.

It strikes me that you learn a lot about who you are and about who your friends are when you experience a valley together. This is probably why the expression “we were in the trenches together” brings to mind people who are forever connected by a challenging common experience. Well, I’ll tell you, my girl, actually had the presence of mind in the midst of all of this to ask about me. She genuinely wanted to hear about my weekend away with my daughter and remembered to ask about each of my children. She also told me all about the breast cancer PSAs that she recorded with her friends in Phoenix and all about little B’s upcoming big “audition.” Believe it or not, we got off the phone laughing. . .about how crazy I looked (after our cry fest) as I was going to meet a friend who I hadn’t seen for a while for lunch . . . laughing about how relieved we will be to get to the Vineyard this summer . . . I told her that I might just jump ship and swim to shore when I see her waving!

While I know that there are many things that we didn’t talk about today, the things that we did talk about, really mattered, and helped us both look up just a little.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JC Ellis
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 16:05:24

    I’m @ a loss for words, but will also continue to look up as we pray for healing!

    Reply

  2. Adelle
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 16:42:08

    B, I too am speechless, but I do know how to say “I love you dearly and will never stop praying for your complete recovery”!!! You will beat this!!!

    Reply

  3. TME
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:35:37

    This blog is such a treasure. I’m so grateful to be connected in this way, to literally hear Barb’s voice as I read her reflections. And how I feel your strength as you literally stand in the gap with her, and Big & Lil B.

    I completely cosign on her amazing ability to remember to ask about others, even in the midst. I was recently very sad about my grandmother nearing her final transition. The moment the updates would go out she would contact me to encourage me and let me know she was thinking of me. It touched me in ways I can only begin to say! For this type of journey we sometimes fight and we sometimes flow. The wisdom in any case comes from intuitively knowing which response any given situation requires. And so I pray for wisdom today. Love, Tonya

    Reply

  4. Carin Ross Johnson
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 14:07:50

    I am Barb’s Soror and Link sister from Charlotte. I stand beside you all as I understand living with cancer through the experience and loss of my mom who was my best friend to stage 3a uterine cancer. Thank you for what you are doing to educate and keep it real.

    Reply

  5. Mary C Washington
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 21:48:22

    Hi Barb,When you mother, Lois and I were growing up next door to one another, We were too young to wonder what our children would be like. Later, when we where in college together, we could never have imagined how wonderful they would be.
    Lois has shared loving and proud stories about you with me, ever since you were a baby. Your website reinforces what a treasure you are….smart, accomplished, beautiful and loved my many. I send you my very best wishes..and prayers.
    Mary C Washington

    Reply

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