Is there an elephant in this room?

I occasionally felt his shadow cross my desk when he passed by the window of my office.

I’d feel his hot breath on the back of my neck while I typed, hear him breathing in the corner when I wrote.

He’s been in the room with me since August 23rd.

August 23rd.  That date will be with me forever, just as June 28, 2006 has been.  I was with David in the doctor’s office on June 28, 2006, when he was diagnosed with cancer.

It seems only fitting I was with someone else on August 23rd when they received their diagnosis.

Only I can’t talk about it. 

For various reasons, of which I do understand, this person does not want their cancer situation discussed online. And that, my friends, is the elephant in my room.

The reason I haven’t posted nearly as often since the end of August.

How do I write about feelings when I am hiding my own?

How can I detail good deals and celebrate the coup of a cart full of freebies when part of me just doesn’t care about things like that right now?

Surely a regular visitor to my blog would notice my lack of postings.  There were several days in a row last week when I really could not stomach the idea of posting anything at all, because I simply felt like the one thing I couldn’t discuss was the only thing that mattered right then.

I tried burying myself in my work, and it did help.  But even as I worked on the next chapter of my book, there was that niggling worry in the back of my mind.  This person is having radiation. Their hair will fall out soon.  They are so tired. I finished a chapter, started another. Even got excited about the profiles of extreme couponers I will be doing.  I printed out some submission guidelines for a couple anthologies I’d like to be included in. Did some more research.  Came up with the first paragraph of Chapter 10.  This person isn’t eating right, is losing weight. Has no appetite.  The elephant in the room seemed to grow, get bigger, take up more space.  He plodded up behind me while I worked at the computer, even followed me to the library when I went there to write.

“Get off my back! Leave me alone!” I turned around and yelled at him one day when I was in the middle of an editing session. 

When what I was really saying was “I don’t want to deal with you.  I don’t want to think about what is ahead. Why is this happening?  Why this person?”

And just when I thought I would burst with the frustrations of the limitations on what I could post or not post, I got an e-mail on Facebook.

“I’m glad I found you. Something you had said to me years ago helped change my life. I became a Christian.  My husband saw the changes in me and became a Christian too. Now my husband is dying of cancer and he is ready to go.”

I’m paraphrasing here, but that is the gist of the message from this long-ago friend who reminded me of the last time we saw each other, in 1995. 

Her husband is 50 years old.  And he is dying of the same cancer this person has.

Why her?  Why now? 

Why did this friend from years ago find me now?

I got a chill up my spine when I read her message. 

The elephant in the room seemed to shrink a little with each subsequent e-mail. 

What I couldn’t talk about online seemed of such little importance in the face of another person’s cancer.

And I could talk to her about everything I was feeling, everything ahead.

Why her?  Why now?

Her husband is dying of cancer. She is caring for him.  Perhaps, in some way, I can help her through what is ahead. Perhaps, she will be helping me. 

Why her? Why now?

The elephant in the room seems to grow smaller each day, until this morning, he is as small as a baby.  I think I hear him sniffling in the corner, but I have work to do, a life to live. The elephant shuffles out of the room, irritated by my lack of attention.  I shrug my shoulders in response. 

I’m ready to post on my blog again.

Why her? Why now?

God brings us those we need when we need them.

I’ll be there for my friend with cancer.  I’ll be here writing about it when they say I can.


3 thoughts on “Is there an elephant in this room?

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