Last night, learned that one of my oldest and best friends was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 33. If I had not committed myself to putting words on this page today, I probably would not post this. Partly because it is not my story to tell. Partly because blogs are edited versions of our lives, often leaving out some of the hardest or most personal challenges. I was looking at our wedding invitation list the other night to update our address book, and I was startled by how many people we've lost in the past four and a half years- how many marriages have ended in divorce, how many people have succumbed to illness or old age, and also how many have battled serious illnesses--and won. These are not the stories I tell here, but they are meaningful, they matter to me.
It is also something about the immediacy of electronic forms, good for sharing information quickly and effectively, as Lizzie did when she finally told her story on her own blog, getting her diagnosis and options out there all at once. But bad for waiting. I don't think I have written here that my baby brother had skin cancer this winter; it seemed too dangerous to put it down when we were waiting, and then well beside the point when the malignant melanoma was removed, and when the tests came back negative, showing--thank god--that the cancer had not spread. I will always remember when I signed up for Facebook, because it was the week that the same brother and his wife found out that something was wrong with their first baby. I remember waiting for the call staring at my laptop; when it came, and I learned that their baby would not survive, I just looked at the blinking cursor. "Heather Duggan Peterson Is..."
But we do not write that down.
The larger world gets lost in our microscopic blog vision. You would think, reading this blog of mine, that nothing real happens. That earthquakes don't shake poor island nations. That universal health care isn't an ongoing debate for our government. That reclusive authors don't die. That no one dies, or gets sick, or suffers other losses.
And being here, isolated across the country from so much that I love, I wonder again, as I did when Liam died, when Rory got cancer, what the hell I am doing here, and why I am not home, where I might be able to help.