Friday, January 28, 2011

A Successful Life – Defining a Friend

Yesterday a friend told me that one of my past students and a friend who was more of an acquaintance than a friend – depending upon how you define a friend. We never did anything together but chat after class. One day we had a quick lunch. She faithfully came to my class always in the back but always supportive.

She is a pretty women about ten years my junior. She is one of the few people I know who is very happily married. She has two teenage sons. She has style, is artsy and funky which is one of the things I love about her. She and I share the same taste and ability to carry off wild outfits. I always loved to see her outfits as she changed into street clothes in the ladies room. They were always carefully choreographed. I especially appreciated her slender body, pretty face and youthful attitude given the fact that she had undergone breast surgery and a hysterectomy for cancer. She was a survivor but not just any survivor. She maintains her beauty and her style in the face of adversity. She was five years out and in remission. I admired her strength.

One day I came to class and burst into tears over an emotional issue. She happened to be the person who caught me crying. She listened and consoled. I thanked her. I never burst into tears again but she always asked me how I was doing. Then one day as I shook with fear I told my class I was taking a leave of absence – I had been diagnosed with cancer and would undergo a radical hysterectomy.

She consoled me. She reassured me that I would not lose my style and my grace in the face of this adversity. She reassured me that I would come out of this a strong and beautiful woman. She was right. This adversity brought depth to my being. She sent me emails of encouragement and when I returned to teaching was there with a friendly hug of support.

She left the gym and joined another gym as students often do. She said good- by and we promised to stay in touch through emails. We lost touch accept for a mutual friend. The mutual friend tells me that after more than five years of remission she has stage four cancer with tumors throughout her body. It does not look good.

We were never close friends. I have never been to her house and she has never been to mine. We have never done anything but chat after class. However I feel a deep sadness for a woman who has such love for her husband and her children and such a spirit towards life. I admire her and thank her.

Now I must send her an email and hope I can make it sound positive. I want to thank her for all her support and for teaching me that a friend is not always the ones you hang with – sometimes a real friendship comes out of a casual encounter.

Doctor Lynn

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