It was at this time last year that one of my best friends was diagnosed with lung cancer. Lung cancer! Not J! It's pneumonia, it has to be, I remember thinking. She's so healthy, she's never smoked a day in her life. This is not real. No she wasn't around second hand smoke. I want to bury my head in the sand, stick my fingers in my ears and not listen, not hear it, don't tell me any more. And I'm not even living it, I'm just the friend of the person living it. But it was crushing. And I cried, a lot. Every time I thought of her, of that disease, I cried.
I didn't look things up online because I couldn't bear it. Finding out more information seemed like a really bad idea to me. And out of respect for J, who was having her own bouts of denial at knowing more, I opted to just take whatever information her husband was giving. But my heart knew it was not good. And I cried some more. I cried because I love her. I cried because it was the most unfair thing I had ever heard of. I cried because she'd had enough to deal with in her life already. I cried because I don't want to lose her.
We met because of a silly soap opera, one I have a website for. As she likes to tell it, she wrote to me to disagree with something I said. And when I wrote back I was kind and understanding, not a raving lunatic like so many others tended to be at the time. I don't remember exactly, but I do know how I write back to people who are respectful when they write me. I am respectful back. An email friendship grew from there. And one year I asked her if she wanted to come to NYC with me for the All My Children events. She did. We actually went together several times, with our friend T. And the three of us had the greatest times.
I've found over the years that because of that All My Children website, I have met some of the best friends a woman can have. And those friends are people that, without that website, I would never have had a chance to meet or know. Truly how would a punk rock loving, purple haired and tattooed up freak of fucking nature in Ohio ever meet a woman from Cincinnati who works for a big medical insurance firm? A teacher from Germany? A New Hampshire home schooling mom? A mother of two who works at her husband's company in upstate New York? A freelance writer and foodie extraordinaire from Indiana? A daycare owner in Austin, TX? A caregiver, mom, and Corgi lover in Las Vegas? A kick ass computer guru in Virginia? And so many others. They've enriched my life in so many ways.
When J stopped watching AMC, as eventually just about all of my good friends I've met because of it have, it didn't stop our friendship. We had long since stopped talking about it anyway. We had other bonds, other commonalities, a real solid friendship. She's been there for me at the worst of times. She's had my back and been a voice of reason when I felt beyond all reason. And now I'm doing the best I can to be there for her, to listen when she wants to talk, to be the supportive friend she's always been to me. And I hope I'm doing at least half as good as she does. Love you J... Shrink, Erase, Eradicate!!!