My friend Ann has a friend, Ben, who is battling cancer. It may seem a bit strange but I feel a kinship with this person whom I’ve never laid eyes on - mainly because his cancer is my cancer. We were both going through chemo at the same time, experiencing different side effects but walking the same path. I was a little big ahead of him – just a step or two - and even though we’ve never met, he and I, we are linked, connected, Hodgie-kins. Ben just finished chemo like 1/2 a second ago. They just got word that the cancer is back. Big and bad. Doctors are shocked. Friends are shocked. His parents are shocked.
Ben is 16.
I’ve been praying non-stop since I heard. Big prayers. Little ones too. I speak words of supplication under my breath at stoplights and while out for a walk. I knit my brows together – thankful to have brows again – when I’m doing the dishes and I whisper, Please God. Please. And that’s all I say. Because I don’t know what else to say. Because I’m without the right words.
I’m without any words.
You’d think I’d know what to say. What to say to Ben, to Ann, to God. You’d think, based on my experience, I’d would have been given the key to the giant lock on the book of All the Right Words or that I'd at least know the secret handshake and password that would allow me entrance into the place where All Things Make Sense. But apparently I was absent that day at chemo. Which enrages me. What does a person have to do anyway? What box do they need to check, what routine do they need to master, what passages do they need to memorize and recite back? Why this one and not that one? Why now and not then? Why me and not him? Why him?
I don’t know
I don’t know
I don’t know.
What I know is I am fumbling, falling, hurting for my friend. And my friend’s friend. And I know this disease is horrible.
And I know I hate it.
If you’re the praying type, will you pray for Ben, please?