My friend Don is battling cancer. Many of you know him and many only know him through the blog he keeps, “Let’s Radiate Don,” a sometimes hilarious, always poignant account of his battle.
Lately things haven’t gone as well as anyone would like. Most especially Don, and right next to him Kate, his lovely and amazing wife and of course, right behind them their equally wonderful children. Don and Kate and their kids are known to many, many people and we all want to help.
It’s hard isn’t it? At least it is for me. What can I do? How can I help? It’s especially hard when the fact is that there isn’t much to do. I am not equipped to give the help that is needed.
For those who want to know how Don is doing I will tell you that he is resting comfortably and he has been with the people he loves the most, his family and his very close friends. He isn’t in much pain and he is able to converse at times and not as much at others. I don’t think he would want to share much more than that. It’s funny. When we really think about it, we don’t need to know much more than that do we?
Kate is also with her family and with her closest friends, including, much of the time, Don. Classically, one of her big points of stress is an inability to answer all of the loving offers of help she gets via text, voicemail and email. I think she wants those who know her to know that she knows you are there and she is grateful and she needs time and space, if for nothing else than just to give as much of both to Don at this point as she can.
We never know quite what to do in these times do we? Prayer seems such a hapless pastime. Is God really there? Does He really care? Don would say yes. Perhaps that should be enough for all of us. What His response will be is, as in all things, up to Him. That is not a reason not to pray.
I also know Don well enough to know that the last thing he would want is for everyone he knows to be sitting around worrying about him. If you truly want to help I think he would say, find an excuse to laugh. Hug someone you love extra hard. If you need a little encouragement read one of his classic blog posts about his oncologist who hated him (but turned out ok) or swallow therapy.
Don’s not gone. He’s here among us. He’s fighting. What tomorrow will bring is tomorrow’s business. For today I choose to celebrate my friend and to say a prayer and focus love and strength on Kate and Dave and Kathy... And it’s my birthday, I should get at least one special wish.