“Sorry, I forgot to tell you that I am nearing the last steps of this cancer,”.
We haven’t seen each other or spoken in nearly 10 years. She sent me a message on FaceBook just a few hours before remembering to tell me this. “You around later?”
Let’s do coffee on the beach.
I hold grudges. 10 years ago I got annoyed about something that now seems really unimportant. So we stopped talking.
When the message popped up I thought, why not? I needed to apologise to her.
She came over. He had once done some work together when I was at my first job. We used to hang out with each other most days of the week. Around 2006 was when I last saw her.
It was three years ago where they had spotted something. They removed it, but last year, it had spread to everywhere else in my body with almost no time to live.
I wanted to say I am sorry to hear that but all that came out my mouth was, you look perfectly healthy. Just as I remember her.
Every 2 months, I visit Helsinki for this medical trial but thank you, it’s good to know I look good on my way out. However, eventually, this treatment develops resistance at some point. I’m at 9 months now.
And then, it’s a death sentence. She laughed which felt like she was telling a, on the border joke.
There was, now, nothing, that I knew about her life. A tainted guilt settled within me for holding this grudge for a decade.
I’m happier now than ever. I finally realised that my relationships are so important and for me, as every day passes, it is more and more becoming the most important thing in the world.
I had always liked being around you. But there is always days when I am around people I don’t particularly get on with. Yet, I am surprised I am still alive. I puck my lips and taught myself to constructively tell them what I think.
At any moment in the day I am exactly where I want to be and with those, I want to be around and constructively stick to my values.
It’s a good think you still care about teaching others. I said.
So am I! Because of this, I am always happy, every day I know that I will be doing exactly the things I want to do.
I no longer worry about my future, but only in the present moment. I don’t care about any potential achievement. I no longer feel bad for missing little goals. I actually haven’t been shopping in almost a year, to make me feel better emotionally, I don’t need to. I am so happy.
We took the coffee to go sit on the stones, under the sun, on the beach. She told me how cancer worked. She described the frustration and stress she endured through each stage of cancer. Each individual who had helped her through it.
Although I have lost second branch family members to cancer, I really didn’t know any of this.
We would converse for hours but now, I didn’t know what to say. She was joking around and laughing. She seemed the happiest I have seen her. Do you say sorry?
When sat quietly, do you think about worries, anxieties or old conversations you have had?
Not in the last 2 year.
I live a life where I do things I have personally decided for myself. I was really anxious at first because I had so little time and so much to do. There was no way I couple of years was going to be enough. I was uncertain of what I wanted first.
This uncertainty made me anxiety attacks. I used to find all the worries for my, what would be for 50/60 year of living in one or two months of this treatment. When the treatment becomes immune to cancer, I know I am going to die. I cannot out run it. So I stopped worrying about uncertain aspects of my life and the feeling of anxiety stopped with it.
She became quite for long pause. I looked to tears in her eyes. It didn’t exist. She smiled.
I wish I had messaged you 10 years sooner. It’s funny as it may have been this anxiety which had stopped me. I would have liked to get to know you better.
When we used to be at work, I could listen to her for hours of her culture, beliefs and values. Her home, her family, her religion. It gave her a unique outlook on life.
World problems and issues we disagreed on. I think that time, we were debating a father’s responsibilities. She always challenged me mentally and pushed my ability to think.
At 17, I was immature. She also was almost, always, right. She was right then.
I made good friends through having an informative conversation about Judaism, which I learnt from her. I wonder what else I could have learnt from her in the past 10 years.
Especially in today’s world, learning of values and outlook of life from someone of a different culture has never been more important. Social or professional life. We still have so much more to learn with everyone we encounter.
There are things I regret in life because I was uncertain of the outcome.
Since then, I told someone what was on my mind without any expectation, I know I would have regretted if I hadn’t.
The very same evening, we hosted an event with the aim of bringing different values of different culture together.
I know I will regret it if I don't do it again.
But we are at now. I am not going to be anxious about the uncertain repercussions of my two decisions above. Instead, I am going to be here in the moment, concentrate on her as she reads this post before she presses publish.