Here we are on New Year’s Day 2022. We celebrated Christmas with all our children, two spouses, one fincée, and one grandchild. Gathering all of them under one roof at the same time can be challenging so it is difficult to know if that will be part of the future fabric but we continue to dream. Afternoons like Christmas 2021 are a source of great joy for me and I believe our children find those moments to be a source of great future memories.
To get my year off on the right tone, I headed into the shower to feel fresh and clean. Then I made a cup of coffee and dribbled in a once of J.D.Shore to celebrate the start of the day. Armed with my coffee, I sat down to write my first article for 2022. Here’s hoping it is the first of many to come.
With 2021 in the rearview mirror, it is now time to make plans for the upcoming year. It seems to me that the right place to start a countdown timer to 2023.
On New Year’s Eve, I had a wonderful surprise. I got a call from my friend Malcolm in Australia. We met in July 2018 as competitors in the Round Denmark Bike Race. We follow each other on Facebook and in many ways are kindred spirits so it was a treat to hear from him. It is the first time we have done a live call and that is so much better than text messages.
Malcolm made an interesting comment; he hadn’t called previously as he was fearful he wouldn’t know what to say. In fact, it was his partner Sonia who goaded him into making the call when she saw I was online.
Since my diagnosis, if I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard that, I’d have a solid downpayment for the Tesla I’d like to have. I understand why it is challenging to have a conversation with someone who is facing a life-threatening disease but it is not a conversation to delay. With each passing moment, the opportunity to reach out, call, and comfort a sick friend is like a countdown timer. If you wait too long, the timer may run out.
So you don’t know what to say or how to react. With anyone I’ve met at the clinic, we can carry the conversation and take the edge off. Once the dialogue gets started, it will be just the same as any past conversation. If you want to know about their disease just ask.
Most of my friends routinely ask how I’m doing and/or feeling when our paths cross. For the most part, they are asking to let me know they’re thinking about me and not really looking for a major update on my health. My routine response is, “I have good days and bad days but more good than bad.” If they really want more details, they’ll followup up with additional questions. That is rare.
I can detect when a friend is uncomfortable and carry the conversation talking about family, events, and other things going on in my life. This is always a segue into asking them to catch me up on the happenings in their life. Once the ice is broken, the conversation takes on a life of its own and lays the foundation for future conversations.
The note I’d like to finish on is that all of us in treatment against a life-threatening disease really want to hear from our friends and catch up with faded friendships. Most of the people I’ve met in the clinic understand this can be intimidating for others but assure you that the joy these conversations bring is a source of motivation to brave and courage as we face the future.
Please reach out and please share this message with others. If you wait too long, the opportunity may pass.
As always I thank you for reading my ramblings and serving as a support pillar. I will have an important health update to share mid-week.
And on a final note, it gives me great personal comfort that I can feel the presence of God in my life every waking moment.
Peace, Love, and Laughter
Phil (902) 497-6056