February 8, 2008
It’s so beautiful outside today.
Last night, during a phone conversation with my sister on her cellphone headset as she made her two hour evening commute home from West Palm to Miami, I learned the friend from Battle Creek that I referred to in my earlier exhortations to donate to the leukemia and lymphoma society passed away. She had not been sick very long. I expected to hear that she was going through treatment and that things were uncertain. I had—forgotten is the wrong word, because it is something more willful than that–refused to consider that cancer is sometimes an illness that doesn’t give always people a year or two years to fight. She was 26.
We went to different schools, so I knew her mostly from our mid-teens, when we would sometimes end up shuffled together for some county-wide purpose or other. She had a goofy sense of humor that she was confident enough to let show at an age when most of us were busy hiding ourselves. She was a generous person even then, and incredibly intelligent.
We weren’t close, but I suppose I see enough of myself in her to have her death stop me utterly in my tracks, which too often of late have been going around and around in circles of second-guessing and self-imposed regret.
So, I don’t mean to be a downer on a Friday, but right at this moment I am feeling more than ever the need to remind myself (more than anyone who might read this, although I don’t know, maybe it will speak to you too) that there is an end to opportunity. There is an end to opportunity, and it isn’t getting the wrong degree, taking the wrong job, moving to the wrong city, getting a rejection letter, or screwing up a big project at work. It isn’t any of those things. None of those things are the end of anything, not while you are still lucky enough to breathe.
A moratorium on cranky Tuesday’s that last all week, tears over spilt milk on the roads not taken, hating Florida, thinly and not so thinly veiled forms of self-pity, complaining about getting a year older every year. I won’t always be happy, but I will no longer let myself be the cause of my own suffering if I can physically help it. I just won’t. I can’t do anything for Carol, anymore, but she, amazingly, is still doing something to help me.