Someone who is close to me and is soon to be not close had a scare this week. She found a lump during a breast self-exam. Naturally it scared the shit out of her and me too, despite the fact that I am driving the ‘soon to be not so close’ part. I’m talking in circles for privacy reasons. I reached out to two friends (and would have reached out further if needed because I have many awesome friends). These two female friends, both of whom are very special to me as friends, were supportive in positive ways I just have no words for. One is a breast cancer survivor and one is a very smart life survivor.
For two days the ‘close to me’ person went from her calm and investigative frame of mind to her “I’m trying not to be scared but I am” mood. I was as supportive as I could be under the conflicting circumstances.
The best phone call I got all week was the one from her this afternoon during which she told me it isn’t cancer. I immediately shared that news with the two supportive friends and got wonderful “I’m happy for you and her” responses.
If the news had been bad, it would have been awful for the obvious reasons and for reasons I won’t explain here. One of my conflicts was feeling a little guilty for the possibility that bad news could have interrupted the ‘soon to be not so close part’ of this story. I would have delayed my inevitable actions to help her through this, if that had been necessary. I felt bad for having the conflict but I felt good for knowing I would have done the right thing.
This scare reinforced two things for me. First, I am a lucky man to have the friends I have. The two I mentioned here will be among my best friends for the rest of my life and I love them both on so many levels. I feel the same way about the other friends I would have reached out to if the situation had developed differently. Second, that Tim McGraw song “Live Like You Were Dying” keeps playing in my head. The simple synopsis is this: carpe diem. Live for today. Live like it was your last day. Do the things you keep putting off because there might be no tomorrow.
I know I will continue to be a somewhat overcautious geek about some things. But my feelings during the last two days have reinforced the keywords of my self-discovery journey: play and simplify. I will do more of both and concentrate a little more on the idea that today could be the last day. If I knew I only had a couple of days to live, what would I do then that I don’t normally do? I’d drive eight hours east and south and plant a big, sweet wet one on the beautiful lips of one of those friends then I’d drive sixteen more hours south and do the same with the other, a friend I’ve had most of my life. It’s the most affectionate thing I know how to do and I wouldn’t over-think it for a second.
What’s going on here tonight? A couple of “I really mean it” hugs. That’s exactly the right action.
The main point of all this? I am a very lucky man to have such awesome friends.