This week's Spin Cycle is all about guilt. And boy, is it a tough one ...
I am a divorced mom, a stepmom, a working mom. I am a daughter who lives three thousand miles away from my aging father and sick sister. Guilt is as much as a part of my daily life, my daily thought process, as is remembering to take my vitamins and deciding which black pumps to wear with my tweed skirt. It simply is.
My friend has cancer. Four words, mostly single syllable, devastatingly simple, and, while summative, are woefully inadequate. She is more than a friend, she is my daughter's Sensi and friend, my older daughter babysits constantly for her, she is an alter ego - another self - one who knows me as well as I do and someone who is not afraid to tell me when I am being an ass. Which seems to happen way more than I think it should. hmmmmm. She reads like I do, with her mind and heart, and we have had so many interesting discussions about what we have read. Yes, we are even weird enough to read the same books so we can talk about them. I am so lucky to have her in my life.
She was diagnosed a breath away from stage four.
My guilt, the guilt that washes over everything beautiful and leaves a thin translucent coating, is that I know I cannot do enough. I have cooked for her, listened to her. I was there when she had her gorgeous curls cut off (the doctor said this would make the loss of it to chemo easier) and our bookclub made a quilt for her (each of us created a square). But I keep thinking of what I am not doing - even though what I should be doing is a hazy idea I cannot quite pull into focus. I really don't know what else to do, but I should definitely be doing it. Right now. Because if she ... the word is too difficult to write. It makes it to real to write that tiny, terrible word. But if it happens, then I know I will berate myself for not having done that elusive 'more.' I knew a girl who was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, and it honestly never entered my mind that she would die - for cryin' out loud, we live in America in a time of astounding medical advancements and drive-through Starbucks! Who actually DIES these days?
She did. And I have never forgiven myself for not doing more.