Tag Archives: friendship

The Weariness of Cancer

October 6, 2004

Hi, Kat:

You must still have been in your “stampede mode” when you wrote me this morning. Hence the “howdy” salutation!

Let me begin by saying that I am having a bad day…emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I am grateful I am able to tell you so freely. Thank you for that, but take that into consideration when you read the rest of my e-mail.

Wow, you really can get through a book quickly! “Lovely Bones” was a difficult read, but I found it interesting with the author’s perspective of death, living, the beyond, and those left behind. I have a different book for you when you return – “The Red Tent.” I think I told you about that one as well. It is totally different then the two you have recently read.

I don’t want you to feel pressured to tell me anything about the sexual incident, but I felt you opened the door by asking me to define the difference between harassment and molestation. I know you don’t ask any question for no reason. I knew there was something behind it, but I respect your comfortableness in sharing and will wait for you take the next step. But, don’t be surprised if I ask if you are ready because I know sometimes you need some “nudging.” ha ha.

As far as the weekend goes, you only need to bring yourself, a change of clothes, and an open mind. Boy, I bet I got you wondering even more now! Good…sometimes I like to leave you guessing.

I know that you wish I wouldn’t have seen the list, but I also feel so honored and privileged that you chose me to share it with. It helps me understand you a little more and it shows me why God brought us together. I will leave it up to you on what you want to do with the list from this point on. Just don’t lose faith in the process of healing that you are going through. Trust in God and our friendship. Those three things are strengths you can use as you move forward in your journey of healing.

I wish I could help you “unload” every night from stuff hat happens and you can start the next day fresh and new. I would like to do that with you when you get back from vacation, but again I leave it up to you. I do think that a lot of your current reactions to your parents and Alex is based not only on the current encounters, but a lot of stuff you have carried for a long time. That is why I think it is important for you to talk about it and process it. See the whole picture and not just the dark, ugly, bad part of it. If I can do that for you, great. I know how helpful it was for me to do that for myself.

You know me…I’m not always serious although this past week may not seem that way. Part of it, I believe, is my medication and the other part is just trying to get through the day. No, it wouldn’t be interesting to watch me get emotional. I usually do that in the privacy of my home, but it is getting harder to keep it in until I get home. The reason I tell you all this is because you interact with me so much on many levels that I felt you needed to know what may happen. You didn’t have the opportunity two years ago when I went through cancer (be grateful), but you will see me now.

Sometimes, it’s not a pretty sight and I try hard to protect you from that, but I also know I can’t. I don’t want you to get hurt because of some random comment or behavior I make. So promise me that if you see something out of character for me, call me on it. I care about you too much to not want to know if I have done something wrong or to hurt you. Please promise me that.

Well, enough of all that. So until I talk to you again via e-mail, IM, or the phone…have a good night or day (depending on when you read this). Know these things: God loves you, you are in my thoughts and prayers daily, and you matter.

Until later,



Serious, Funny, Either Way I’m Good.

October 6, 2004

Howdy, Greta!

First, don’t ever think you have to hide things from me. Just so you know, I can usually see it anyways. I just don’t say anything. I like to check every now and then that you’re okay. I know you’re a “big girl” and can handle it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t worry about you to some degree. I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t! So stop being stubborn. That’s my job.

I’m towards the end of “Lovely Bones.” Haven’t finished it yet. It’s very different. It’s difficult to read because of the harshness of what happened. But don’t worry about the book having a bad effect on me. It hasn’t.

I know that severe sexual harassment doesn’t quite categorize what happened to me and it doesn’t matter necessarily, but I didn’t and don’t know what else to call it. Not a big deal. At some point I’ll share my whole story with you. But it’s going to take a lot of strength on my part. I’ve never talked about it before. Alex knows some very basic things, but not everything. Just enough to get me by without having to answer questions or explain things. Some of it, I’ve never told him. I’ll do my best with you.

As far as getting away for a weekend, I don’t think Alex would mind at all, as long as it doesn’t cost much. He’s pretty good about stuff like that (I think). He’s fine with it as long as he knows what I’m doing and who I’m with and that I’m not getting drunk somewhere. Now you’ve got me curious.

Part of me wishes I could take that list back that I sent you. I feel immensely vulnerable and very exposed. It was hard to write it, yet it helped calm me down a bit because I got it on paper and out of my head. Writing things down helps me to let go…to let my mind stop thinking about it because I’ve recorded it and can go back to it anytime. Does that make sense? I do that with everything, good or bad. You should see how many journals I have written in, plus lists I’ve made before bed and so on.

Which brings me to your second e-mail about being serious. I know that’s not your intentions. I’m always thinking so that’s not an issue. Writing you e-mails helps me get it out since I can’t see you and talk to you. Don’t worry, you’re not causing me emotional upheavals while I’m here in Myrtle Beach. I’m actually relaxed, though distracted. I noticed it today. My mind isn’t always here and focused on what’s going on. I felt bad about it today. Of course, I’m usually a bit spacey. But I thought a lot tonight and realized that I need to pay more attention to my parents. I think they were feeling neglected and pouting tonight. Not because of you or anything to with any of this. It’s that Alex and I chose not to hang out with them for a while and instead be by ourselves.

I’m fine with talking about serious things through e-mail. It lets me get them out. But it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. I usually am worried because I’m always writing you novels about what I’m feeling and thinking. Sometimes I think it’s too depressing and morose to talk about, but I’m fine if you’re fine!

It should be interesting to watch you get emotional, especially since that’s not your common nature! Although, sometimes I’ll take the cranky over that since I don’t like getting emotional much. Don’t worry about how you’re acting at all. The e-mails that you send me actually make me feel that you care.

Well, I”ll stop babbling since it’s 1am and I need to get to bed. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Have a good night/day. Sleep well and I’m always praying for you.



I Only Want What’s Best For You



October 5, 2004

Hi MB,

Let me answer some of your questions from your morning e-mail.

I didn’t like the ending of “Good in Bed” because it ended so quickly. I guess I wanted more for her than how it ended.

“Lovely Bones” was hard for me because it dealt with rape and a child was murdered. I am a big advocate for protecting children. I did like the dialogue of how she saw her family and how she wanted to help them heal from her death.

Based on what you shared in your e-mail, I’m not sure severe sexual harassment is the correct term. Either way it doesn’t matter because it was still a horrible experience. I would like to have you tell me the whole story if you can. I would feel privileged to have you share it with me.

I hope that our friendship can help you see what it is God sees in you. I hope I can be used by God to help heal some of your pain. I want you to experience the joy and love that God has to offer and no the dark and depressed stuff the world has given you.

Don’t worry about me. I’m a big girl. I just have bad days now and then and sometimes I can’t hide them from you.

Do you think Alex might let you get away for a weekend? I have though about something for the two of us. I think it would be good for both of us. I’ll tell you more when you get back to Pennsylvania.

Before I go, I just read and printed your list. It brought tears to my eyes. It also reminded me of some of the things I told myself, so let’s talk more about it. My feelings and thoughts for you haven’t changed because of the list. If anything they have gotten deeper.



Later that same day


I just realized that I may have been a little more serious in my last e-mail. My intentions are not to get you to do all this thinking while you are away. I also know it isn’t easy when you can’t talk through some of the things you might be thinking about.

So if you want to go to lighter subjects until you get home, that is fine with me. But I know how much you like to write how you are feeling and thinking. If you want to e-mail me your thoughts and feelings and not have me reply, then just let me know. I hope this is making sense. If not, I am sorry. I don’t want to cause any more emotional upheaval, especially when we can’t through it because you are not here.

Kat, I only want what is best for you. Can you tell the hormones from the cancer treatment have kicked in big time? I get very emotional when that happens, so please bear with me. At least it is better than me getting cranky.

Well, I better wrap things up and get home to dig up my garden. We are expecting frost tonight and my tomatoes are rotting on the vines because of all the rain.

Until I hear from you…good night, Moonbeam.




Good in Bed

October 4, 2004


Moonbeam? That’s an interesting nickname. What made you choose that? Never been called that before.

I got your voicemail. Sorry I missed your call. I was writing you an e-mail and my phone was in the other room. Plus, reception in the condo isn’t always the greatest depending on what room I’m in. You miss me? I’m touched. Believe it or not, I miss you, too (if you haven’t gathered by the lengthy and numerous e-mails and text messages).

I’m happy you had a good weekend with your mom. Don’t put off telling her about your cancer too long, Greta. Sometimes that causes more harm than good. Glad you could celebrate her birthday with her. I’m sure that made her day. Did you bake No-Bake’s? If so, eat one for me. Although, I’ve gotten pumpkin pie while I’ve been here. I convinced my mom to buy one to have at the condo since they harassed me about getting a slice for breakfast on Saturday morning. I was craving pumpkin pie…one of my favorites!

I didn’t get too many comments about the book, “Good In Bed,” from the peanut gallery, just Alex being his usual silly self. My mom did ask what it was about so I gave her a brief rundown based on what I read off the back of the book. My thoughts on the book…it was like looking into a window into myself. Not all of it, but the way that Cannie feels about herself. I could definitely relate. The whole “larger woman” thing is something that rankles me. I think it speaks to the pain and aloneness of not fitting in that a lot of larger woman can feel. I know some that have incredible confidence and amazing positive attitudes. I admire that. I admired it in Cannie, her strength, independence, and willingness to speak out for herself and others despite how she felt sometimes. Her humor had me in stitches! I love sarcastic humor. What were your thoughts about the book?

My e-mails this week will probably be long since I don’t see you in person to chat and there isn’t anyone here I can talk with the way I talk with you. I can with Alex, but only so much. There are some topics where his eyes glaze over and I can tell he’s not interested…guys, ha.

Sounds like you’ll have a pretty quiet week. I won’t be there to bug you. That reminds me, the comment that I made on the phone the one night about not wanting to talk to you sometimes, I hope you didn’t take that seriously. I don’t feel that way ever. Do I wish sometimes that I could bury my head in the sand instead of facing questions you ask? Of course, but it’s never that I don’t want to be with you or talk with you. I wanted to make that clear. I was worried about that since that conversation.

I’m reading another book as a devotional. I’m trying to do devotions every day. I don’t always make it, but I’m trying. I need to hear God’s voice and see what He has for me in this life and I know I can’t do that without spending time with Him. The book I’m reading is called “Search for Significance” by Robert McGee. Very difficult to read, not because of the reading level, but because of the subject matter.

So why was I on your mind a lot yesterday at church? Anything cause it? Thanks for praying for me. I’m sure it did help since I remained civilized all day (despite some snippiness) and had to let certain things just roll of my back. I’m discovering more and more that’s getting harder to do. Interesting that you were praying for me as I was praying for you!

You should have seen Alex and I last night. We were both loopy. I was so tired that I was giggly and babbling stupidly. He was just being goofy. I get like that when I’m tired.

Anyways, I’ll talk to you later. Have a super duper night.




I Didn’t Tell Mom, But I’m Praying For You



October 4, 2004

Well, hello Moonbeam [Kat]!

Thought I would try a nickname for you. Not sure I am going to stick with it. I am hoping by the time you read this  you will have gotten my voice mail message on your cell phone and we have talked a bit.

I had a good time with my Mom, but I didn’t tell her. She was just so happy to see me and spend time with me that I decided to wait until the first month of treatments are over. She really didn’t have a lot for me to do. Of course, it rained all day Saturday, but I did get to take her out for dinner for her birthday.

I am here all alone. It is very quiet without the three of you at work. I am getting some things done today, but it seems everyone is looking for Al today! Of course it works out that way.

Nothing planned for this week. I have homework to work on tonight and tomorrow and then dinner with a friend on Wednesday. I have class on Thursday and Friday then I will be getting ready to go to New Jersey for the weekend. Everyone is supposed to be getting together for my sister’s and mother’s birthdays.

You were on my mind a lot yesterday, even during church. Never really did hear the sermon, but prayed for you. I hope it helped.

Believe it or not, I actually miss you. Okay, don’t get teary-eyed on me…ha ha.

Hey, I just got done talking to you on the phone. It was good to hear your voice. I would like to talk more about the eating issue and your Mom, if you are up to it when you get back. Maybe we can sort through it and get past it. I actually have eaten better and plan on walking at lunch and tonight. So that should keep me out of trouble…or not.

Have a great week away and don’t let anything get you down.

Tell Alex I’m jealous of your location!




Can We Talk at Lunch?

I heard what I didn’t want to hear. Greta had cancer. Again. I didn’t know her through her first bout with uterine cancer, but I had heard the stories. I knew it was going to be difficult. It was the last thing I wanted to hear that day. When she answered me, I panicked and ran, afraid to hear any more. My instinct was to pull back from our budding friendship to protect myself. I couldn’t go through that kind of heartache and lose a friend I had just found. It was better to cut myself off now before things went any further.

For a few days, I ignored Greta. Didn’t call her, didn’t e-mail her, and only uttered the barest of words needed to communicate at work. I confided in Alex about Greta’s cancer. I was afraid of losing her. Alex didn’t seem to concerned about it. He told me that everything would be okay. But I wasn’t so sure about that. I thought why get involved with someone if they’re only going to leave me?

Ding-dong! My e-mail blinked in front of me at my work desk. Sighing, I saw that it was from Greta.  Can we talk at lunch? Minutes passed by as I gazed at her question. It’s not that I didn’t want to be friends with her. I did. She was funny, sarcastic, loving, tender, gentle, but headstrong, determined, and opinionated. I had never met anyone quite like her. The problem was I didn’t want to go through the pain of losing her. My fear was that she was going to die from the cancer. I had no idea how bad it was or wasn’t, what the treatment was, and so forth. All I had was my late night Web MD searches on the Internet. By the way, not a good thing to do when you’re already paranoid and upset about a diagnosis. It gives you the bleakest picture possible. With trepidation, I hit the Enter button on the keyboard. OK.

Now what do I do? I had agreed to meet her for lunch, but my stomach was in knots. Again, I wanted to stick my head in the sand, and refuse to hear or see reality. Around noon, I wandered downstairs to her office, trudging along as though I were headed to my execution. Melodramatic? Probably. But you have someone you cared about and prayed for to come into your life and then be told they have cancer. All you hear are the bells tolling doom.

I sat at the little white wooden table in her office, our lunches heating up in the microwave. The air was redolent of spicy tomato sauce and melting cheese. Spaghetti leftovers. I stared at the floor, avoiding eye contact. She heaved a sigh and sat down heavily beside me.

“Kat…I know you’re upset. Talk to me. Let’s work it out together. What’s going on with you? Please talk to me. I know you’ve been avoiding me.” Greta gently touched my shoulder. I wondered if she could feel my trembles as I tried not to cry.

In a subdued, small voice, I replied, “I’m afraid of losing you. I’m afraid that you’re going to die. We just became friends and I don’t want to lose you!” A single tear slipped down my cheek. I was embarrassed by my lack of control of my emotions. I hastily swiped the tear away.

“Kat, can you look at me please?” I lifted my aqua eyes to meet her baby blue ones. Her hand was heavy on my shoulder, gently caressing, “I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I’m here with you forever. My cancer isn’t that bad. Yes, it’s cancer, but it’s minimal and easily treated. You don’t need to worry.”

“Are you sure, Greta?”

“Yes, I’m sure. The doctor is calling Stage 1 uterine cancer, but she said it’s more like a half stage. It’s not even a full stage one. We caught it very early.”
She brushed another tear away from my cheek.

“What do they do for treatment? Do you have to have chemotherapy?” I asked, feeling steadier by the moment with her answers. I snuffled and snorted into a tissue.

“No. The treatment is hormone therapy. All I have to do is take some pills every day.” Greta smiled and stood up to get our lukewarm lunches from the microwave.

“Does it hurt? What’s the cancer like? Will the treatment make you sick?” The better I felt, the more curious I became. My mother called me the “why” baby when I was little because I asked so many questions. It hadn’t changed much as an adult.

“Yes, it hurts. I get really bad cramps and back pain. I also bleed a lot and it’s very heavy. The hormones do have side effects, but not like chemo. It’ll make me really tired and have less energy, possibly cause hot flashes and headaches. I’ve been through this before. It’ll be okay, I promise.” Greta set the plates down on the table. She grinned, took hold of my hand, and squeezed reassuringly. “Don’t worry, Kat. I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me now.”

I Can’t Hear You! Na, Na, Na, Na, Na!

There are moments in life when you don’t want to hear what’s being said. You want to put your hands over your ears, close your eyes, and sing loudly to drown out the words. Greta had acted strangely for the last few days. She was cranky, out-of-sorts, snappish. A ticklish dread formed in the back of my mind, but I refused to pay it any mind. If I ignored it, it wasn’t true. It’s like a child who closes their eyes and think that you can’t see them. I was the child closing my eyes.

I had only known Greta for three months by now, but it had been an intense three months. We e-mailed back and forth every day, multiple times a day. We talked every night on the phone. We started sharing our darkest secrets and our deepest thoughts. But I was skeptical of the friendship. I wondered if she would stick around for the long haul. Or was I a passing whim that would be dumped when things got too difficult or messy? It happened before and I expected it to happen again. Friends weren’t my specialty. Especially since Alex limited them once we were married. I never thought someone would want to be friends with me once they knew the “real me.” With Greta, there was an emotional draw, a bond that felt deeper than some friendships I had for years. It’s like we were making up for lost time. I panicked that I was going to lose Greta.

My car was in the shop getting new tires and an oil change. My husband, Alex, didn’t have the time to pick it up, so it was left up to me. Greta offered to give me a ride. We took a break from work in the afternoon and headed off to the car dealer.

“You’re awfully quiet, Kat. What’s on your mind? Do you want to talk about it?” Greta asked.

“Nah, I’m good. Just thinking.” My stomach clenched, full of wiggly worms boring nervous holes into it. I had a question to ask, but I didn’t want to hear the answer. I suspected what it would be and dreaded knowing the truth. I tried to convince myself that I was better off not knowing. I white-knuckled my purse straps as it sat on my lap.

We rode in silence most of the way. As the dealer was in sight, I told Greta that I had a question to ask her.

“Okay. What’s the question? It must be important if you’ve thought this hard about it!” She laughed lightly, chiding me for my silence on the car drive. She pulled into the parking lot and parked the car. I looked at her for a moment, worry pinching my brow.

I took a deep breath and blurted,”Do you have cancer again?” She started, surprised the sudden question.

“Yes, I do. I was waiting for the right time to tell you,” Greta replied quietly.


I bolted out of the car and ran.

I’m Here For You



September 17, 2004

Hey Greta,

I wanted to let you know that I’m here for you and my heart hurts for you. I know I can’t be the friend you used to have or replace anyone. I know that completely and I don’t expect to do that, I can just be me. And while I may not know a lot about what you’re going through, I know what I’m good at and that’s being there for someone whatever they may need. I may not understand everything, but I’ll try my hardest. I’ll try my best to help you and let you know that you’re not alone in this. I know nights are the worst for you and I know that I may not have much to offer, but I’m here for you. If you hit a low and need a voice (or someone physically there), I’m here. I don’t care when it is or what time it is. I’m very serious about this. 3am? Call me. 1am? Call me. 2pm? Call me. I don’t care. I’ll keep my cellphone by my side. If all you need is just to hear someone else (regardless of topic or none), just to feel comfort, I’m here.

Want someone to talk a nonsense topic to distract you? Fine. I can do that. Need someone to just sit there and neither one say anything? I can do that, too. Need someone to listen while you vent, cry, etc.? I can do that, also. If you need me to talk to you on the phone every night, I will. If you need me physically in the house for whatever reason, I’ll do it.

Greta, I want you to know that’s what friends are for. I know what it’s like to do everything on your own and not depend on other people. Believe me, I know. I know what it’s like to hold it all in and try to keep going. You and I share a lot of characteristics in that respect. So don’t underestimate me or think I’m not strong enough. Believe me when I say I know how to be there for someone. That hasn’t changed in me. But also know that I won’t push you or whatever into anything you don’t want. I’m not like that and I think  you know that.

Anyways, I wanted you to know this and I know I wrote it in an email and didn’t “speak” it to you, mostly because I didn’t want people to overhear and I organize my thoughts better when writing. And just because I don’t speak it, doesn’t mean that I don’t mean it. I mean this very much. I know what it’s like to feel alone, Greta…very much so…and using your advice, don’t let that and other feelings prevent you from reaching out. I’m offering myself for you for whatever you need in any way, even if it means sleeping at your house sometimes.

I’m determined to help you through this, and I truly believe God put us together for a reason. There’s no doubt in my mind that our friendship is a God thing. Just takes me some getting used to it. I feel honored that you’re willing to share any part of your life with me, including tougher things you’re dealing with or have dealt with. Anyways, before I babble too long…

I’ll see you before you or I leave work…




I really appreciate your offer. I just need to take some time to grieve the loss of a friend again and figure out how to move forward in light of all that has happened.

I will not hesitate to call or ask you for anything. I just am feeling kind of alone today and it has nothing to do with you. Lately, I have been reminded of all that I have lost and it is a drag.

My nights are the most difficult, but they are also the times I wrestle with God the most and sometimes I need to do that.

So thank you for your offer. I might just take you up on it sometime. But just as you have asked me to be patient, I am asking the same of you.

I am looking forward to spending some time tomorrow with you watching the Pitt and Penn (pencilhead) games. Ha ha.

So thank you again for being you.



A New Type of Relationship



September 15, 2004


I know…it’s in my head, but it’ll take time. I’m used to always being the one giving, not getting anything in return, and the fact that you do so much for me is difficult for me to understand or make sense of (I know you’ll say you don’t do much, but you do. Just the fact you listen to me is more than enough).  Most of the time, I don’t feel like I deserve it or that I’m worth it, that there are people who need things much more than I do. Which is why I have so many problems now. Ironic, huh? I’m so busy suppressing my feelings and thoughts to help others that I screwed myself up. Ugh.

Anyways, sorry…I told you I wouldn’t write much anymore, that I would try to speak it (of course, you’re with a client…how convenient for me!). I’m not very good at this, Greta. I’m trying. I get so frustrated and mad at myself. I won’t ramble on…Lord knows, I could write forever. I’m glad that comics made you laugh. That made my day.

Talk to you later,



I know it will take time for you to get used to this new type of relationship. I understand that. I just think if I keep reminding you of the fact that you matter you will eventually believe it. My intentions are not to pressure you, but to help replace that negative thinking with the truth, and the truth is that you matter to me, to God, and to the world.

My prayer is one day you will not only realize that, but believe it. So until that day I will constantly remind you of that fact.






E-mail from Kat to Greta:

Resentment – “To feel again,” clings to the past, relives it over and over, picks each fresh scab so that the wound never heals.

Forgiveness – to release, to hurl away, to free yourself.

I think I’m stuck in the past of ungrace…unforgiveness. I hold grudges and anger against the things that have been done to me. I haven’t forgiven them, or myself. Which totally applies to something you [Greta] said…processing and going through it to find healing and grace (paraphrased). I can’t let go until I’m willing to forgive. But how do I find the strength to forgive? To offer grace? It seems I could spend a year crying out my forgiveness, and it will still linger.

“The first and often the only person to be healed by forgiveness is the person who does the forgiveness…When we genuinely forgive, we set a prisoner free and then discover that the prisoner we set free was us.”

Just a thought to ponder.


Response E-mail from Greta to Kat:


You’re right that forgiveness plays a part in the process of healing, but I don’t think it is the first thing you need to do. You can’t force  yourself to forgive others who hurt you.

Maybe the first step is to acknowledge the hurt and talk about it and how it affected you and still affects you.

Forgiveness will come, but in its time…and maybe that isn’t now for you.

And if I haven’t told you lately, I enjoy our time together whether we discuss something serious, silly, or work related.