Have you ever been truly speechless? For the first time in my life I can honestly say that without a doubt, I know what it is to be speechless. I now know that there is a difference between a pause or hesitation and true speechlessness. I knew what she had to say was a possibility. What I didn’t know was how I was going to react.
There she stood, in all black, hair down, flats on, talking to the other woman in the room. I approached and I felt my body tense up. I kept my coat on and my bag over my shoulder. My feet slowed to a stop about 6 feet away from her. Mid-sentence she stopped, turned to me and said, “Sooo, I have cancer.” I didn’t respond. She turned back away from me and continued to tell the tale to the other woman. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. My bag stayed put, my coat stayed on, and my feet stayed planted. The other woman nodded and sighed, asked questions, and gave the usual response, “I’m so sorry. Please let me know what I can do.” I was speechless. I literally had no thoughts running through my head. I wasn’t debating what I should say or how to say it, there was nothing.
I felt the emotion well up in my eyes, my throat, my gut. Knowing each other the way we do, she looked back at me, “I know,” she said, “I’ve had more time to process than you have.” After she said that I took another look at my friend. My 31 year old, mother of 2 who just found out she has cancer friend who was in her own way consoling me. I couldn’t take that. I moved toward her and all I could say was, “I’m having a real moment here” and hugged her. We don’t hug.
I was eventually able to let her know that I am available for whatever she needs. Over the next few weeks, in brief passing moments, we would hug again and once we cried. She doesn’t cry.
I’m still unable to really talk about it. It’s too shocking. She, on the other hand, now speaks of it so nonchalantly. She talks of her new wig, of telling her just turned 4 year old daughter, or how her husband is dealing as if we are speaking about what she had for dinner the night before. It’s her way and if I knew her any less I might find it strange. Selfishly, it’s comforting that she is handling this true to form.
Completely unselfishly, I’m with you all the way. “FAFA4evaFAFA”