"While we have the gift of life, it seems to me that only tragedy is to allow part of us to die - whether it is our spirit, our creativity, or our glorious uniqueness."
Gilda Radner (1946 - 1989)
New York City
I met an old friend for the first time in New York yesterday. We’ve corresponded by phone, e-mail, and short notes for years as I’ve developed this radio show, and grown to feel like we’ve known each other for decades. We’re both cancer survivors.
Have you ever known someone but not known them? How often do we allow ourselves to wall-off people we work with, side by side, day after day, week after week, and month after month, but we can recite the most minute details of a person’s life who lives half a continent away?
There are a lot of things that bind co workers. Sometimes it’s a band of mutual survival that ties people together.
Us vs them.
Workers vs management.
Management vs ownership.
Good vs evil.
You draw the parallel—it’s there in every form.
Then there are the special ties that bind people together that transcend comparatively mundane alliances in the workplace. There is no bond like that which exists between true survivors, whether they be brothers- and sisters-in-arms, or brothers and sisters whose arms have been punctured for all kinds of vile attempts at curing illness.
My friend is just now emerging back into the world of the living after living in the realm of the near-dead with cancer. The face is lined with new maps of the pain and rigors cancer patients all find traced across their features and their psyche, but the heart beats stronger for the experience.
The hair is coming back, the smile is broader, and the eyes twinkle as they recognize the sights of each new day as the gift that such days are.
Our doctors have told us both we are cancer free. That’s the best news in the world. Now our docs are charged with curing us of the cures.
Sometimes the physical healing is easier than dealing with the psychological scars. Knowing my friend is healing well makes it easier to accept my own rate of progress. Regardless of what challenges are faced, today will be a good day.