Last night my heart was broken into a million tiny pieces.
You may have heard me talk about Roger here and there, referring to him as my friend with terminal lung cancer. We had lost touch after high school but unexpectedly, as summer faded into fall, we found each other again and he gave me the most precious gift anyone has given me, ever.
He shared the last 2 1/2 months of his life with me.
As fall came, we spent late nights talking on Facebook, sent email back and forth about old friends, and reminisced about when we were in grades 1 and 2 and played "Boys Chase the Girls."
"You were always out of reach," he said. "Just close enough to see but never quite close enough to catch."
"Ah, you see," I admitted, "I was nervous that I might like being caught."
We told each other off color jokes, talked about how McDonalds food is cancer proof, and caught up as best we could on the 20 years we had missed.
As fall began to fade and the weather turned cold, I knew something was wrong. At Blissdom, an email came saying he had been much sicker and this time, he sounded tired. I had meant to email him immediately, but I was in Toronto, life was crazy busy, and I let it wait.
It was his last email.
He died on Sunday.
There was still, there was always, so much more to say.
Part of me wanted to shriek, "But I didn't get to tell him how much I LOVED him!" Not romantic love, but sisterly friendship love that is unconditional and pure, reserved for the people in your life who leave their fingerprints on your heart. People who made you a better person. Friendships that transcend place and time, that if you ran into each other tomorrow you'd pick up right where you left off without missing a beat.
I looked back through my facebook messages, and realized that those 2 1/2 months, however short, were an amazing gift because while I didn't get to tell him right at the end, I told him in the beginning, the middle, and all along the way. He knew.
He had just turned 40 years old. He had a wife and two small children. He was a only child whose parents adored him.
I am so proud that I was his friend.
So this evening, in honor of Roger, I want you to do something. Head out your front door, back porch, however you get outside. Take a look at the moon, the stars, the lights of the city, the ocean, whatever your view, close your eyes, and take a deep breath, for lung cancer had robbed Roger of that wonderful feeling.
Feel the oxygen, the LIFE, saturating your soul. Think of all the people you love. Those who are with you, and those are not. Then go back in your house and give your family warm squishy hugs.
I'll be on my back porch, looking at the moon and the sparkly lights of Nanaimo across the Georgia Strait, taking a deep breath with you, and thinking of Roger.
(I need a little break, and won't be around here or Twitter the next few days. If you really need me, you can get me at notesfromthecookiejar (at) yahoo (dot) ca. )