I WROTE ABOUT the BEST PART of this past year, Now, its counterpart.
“What’s been the hardest part of this past year?”
Pinpointing the answer has NOT been easy. Several things compete for first place. In the end, it’s this: The hardest part of the last year or so has been . . .
. . . the way the diagnosis
inserted itself into relationships,
making AWKWARD what used to be easy.
I needed to say that somewhere, just once. In other words, it just became so awkward with
some many people. Our appearance at things changed the tone in the room. We could feel it. We could see it. Friends and acquaintances searched for the perfect things to say to us and nothing came naturally anymore.
No need to cite examples of things handled poorly. Far better to tell of something that went right, a moment where awkwardness never got a foothold.
In the evening of the day that word went out about the leukemia – out beyond the immediate family, that is – I was outside watering flowers when an unfamiliar car came down the street and pulled in the driveway. Out popped a friend of ours.
“Got the news. Had to come,” he said.
Fifteen months later, I still recall them and I get a little teary.
He then offered profuse apologies for having come unannounced, unexpected, unprepared to do much beyond just showing up.
He didnt tell us about someone else’s cancer
or that everything would be alright
or that he knew how we must feel.
There was just something SO RIGHT about that moment and he is one of the few people with whom there was never any awkwardness.