Thursday morning I have to go to my friend Dee's funeral. I can not believe Dee died. I could not believe it last week when I heard Dee was home on hospice with a few days left.
Screw you, cancer.
When I got the news that she was indeed dying and soon I felt ripped off. I told Paul that the only think I could think of was so cliche--"I thought I'd have more time." And Paul said that's how cliches become cliches--because they are true.
Dee and I were on the Library Board together. We were colleagues. We didn't really see each other outside of that realm. But I have a deep admiration and respect for her. I always really enjoyed being around her. I know she felt similarly toward me. I trusted her judgement. I could confide in her my personal opinions or misgivings or frustration regarding things board-related, a bit unusual in a politically-charged arena. I could trust her to correct me when I was wrong, shoot my ideas down when they were stupid, support me when she thought I was onto something and fight for me when she knew I was right. She played devil's advocate to ensure that we really thought things through. This sometimes slowed down progress but I was never sorry she made me think. We always volunteered each other to do things because neither of us wanted to do it but knew the other would do things in a way we approved of. "You should be board president." "No, YOU should be board president!"
A few times we went for coffee after meetings. Most meetings we stood around afterward and talked. I thought when I started back to school I'd get to see her there. I thought we could meet for lunch. I thought I'd get to know who she was outside of the Board. I thought I'd ask her advice and she'd give me encouragement. I thought I'd talk her into being board president. I thought there would be time.
And now there's not.
And Thursday I will go to her funeral.
And in a few months somebody else I know will die of cancer. Like my grandparents and aunts. Like Amy's mom. Like Dixie and Marion. Like so many people you guys know and love.
I am sick to death of cancer.
But I will pray and pray and keep praying that those who are fighting cancer will win. Like my dad did. Like my neighbor did. Like my mother-in-law did before and is right now. Like all the people I see at the Relay for Life wearing Survivor shirts and I think, "I had no idea!" did. Because it doesn't always end poorly. But why it ever has to start is beyond me.