Saturday, November 19, 2016


When I left California a few years ago, I went thru all my keepsakes, trying to winnow them out for the wheelchair flight to my new state.  In a pile of photos was a printed thank-you note that at first I didn't recognize.  The message inside was short, but powerful.  And made me feel cared-for.

Dear M--

Words cannot express how much your friendship has meant to me. 

It might be tested a lot in the next few months.

Love, Rik

It was written after she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.   Breast cancer thought to have started in a flat disk on her chest - beyond the reach of the mammogram.

My work days started and ended early then, so I had time to spend with her --and later time to spend visiting the hospital.  Her roommate and friend of long years was a nurse in the same hospital, and able to have a schedule that kept her near Rik quite a bit. And she had another long-time friend or two in the neighborhood.  


I got a birthday card a few months ago that makes a pretty  bookmark.  On the front, in the top corner is a miniature sketch of the beaky little birds Rik liked so much on our endless walks by the ocean. Some sunsets, the wind blew so hard we got little red lines on our cheeks from flying grains of sand. This new card with the tiny birds brings those sunsets back stronger than I expected.

But now, far from the ocean, I remember Rik, our walks, the real birds, through a new filter - the voice on the phone: "There was cancer" when my DCIS was found.  

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