Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Taking the call

My dad called me today. It was slightly surprising, not the call so much as the time of the call. He usually calls at the weekend or he sends me a short email. We used to write letters, long long ago. This family friend who has cancer came up and I found it difficult not to cry a little telling him that the cancer, which started in the breast was now deep in her bones, attached like invisible leeches to her pelvis. Inoperable. He was emotional too because he knows her and he knows the other side of it too. He's a doctor and he saw the women come through the hospital, the hopeless cases, and the devastation those rogue cells left in their wake. The minor children and devoted husbands. It's nasty business and I could hear in his voice the sadness of knowing this woman was too young to fall victim to this fate and yet it happens day after day.

I can't tell if he is more emotional or if there is more to be emotional about as we get older. When my mother died I stopped trying to hold back the tears when I spoke about her and now 13 yrs later they still come, there is no letting up of this deep grief and he feels it too. His parents are dead, his brother is dead, his friends are dying. And he has the immense burden of the knowledge of a doctor with 50 years of experience watching people overcome disease and watching more fade away, succumbing to the internal webwork of mutant cells that consume their once healthy bodies and minds.

We talked a bit and then I had to go. It was good he called. I have been thinking about him a lot lately knowing I have been too busy to call and feeling guilty because one day he won't be there to answer my call and we both know it. Time slips by as he said today.

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