Though the sign is actually promoting coffee, it had a special meaning for me this morning. Cancer (NOT ME!) – damned Big C – my 5th friend – this time a recurrence – now metastasized through her body – eating her from the inside out. Two adorable three-year-old grandsons and only in her 60’s.

I want to scream with rage, but the weeping won’t allow me that luxury yet. I race through the stages of grief as fast as the Star Was ride at Disneyland – spinning into anger – sadness – denial – acceptance – and back to anger. Rolling through emotions, unable to settle on one. And, really, who can? One emotion is no better than another at this stage. I only found out last night.

I think back and count the years. 33. Not the kind of friend who meets for coffee weekly or calls often. Not the kind who does monthly lunches even. But every few months – a lunch, a symphony, a party, and yet –

The one I called when my divorce turned ugly; when my teen daughter started using; when a relationship was destroying me. A listener, a hugger, a therapist, a funny, honest, direct and loving friend. Yes – that kind.

Grief spreads beyond her situation to wasted moments, months, years in my own life. Passes by my advancing age and the few good years left; passes by the faces of my children, my friends – neighbors; passes by my lack of direction, my reason to get up each day, my unfinished novel, my blog put aside for months.

She stands with me (or I with her) as we look into the same mirror – the mirror of future, of lost possibilities, of death.

I dissolve into sadness and sit with it ….

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