Saturday, May 2, 2009

Is Cancer the New Black?

It's everywhere, I tell ya. I went to buy my festive temporary hair color and asked the salesgirl about different brands, how easy they are to wash out, etc. She pulled her hair back to show me how her cancer treatment was affecting new growth. (I couldn't actually see the difference, but sympathized anyways.) I doubt she was even 20 years old. Yikes. I did some more shopping, then tracked her down before I left just to wish her good luck. An impulsive little one-armed hug for the new club member.

At home, I found my neighbor's mother arriving to supervise some work at her daughter's house. The daughter is currently diving in the Maldives (!) so mom -- I'll call her Randy -- is helping out. Randy had a tough time last year: in a very short time frame, she had a stroke, and lost her mother (who had cancer twice), and then her husband of 30+ years. Now Randy's life is all about her two kids who, to this outsider, seem callous and indifferent. She asked about my "for sale" sign and I gave her a very abridged version of events. Randy dropped her bag and a couple of folders on the ground and gave me a little hug. She "joked" about how her daughter, now in her late 20s, really doesn't have any use for her mother. Not so, I protested: Randy still missed her mother, didn't she? Every day, she admitted. I'm sure Randy's daughter (ungrateful brat!) feels the same way about you, I said. We never outgrow our need for our parent's love and care and concern. I hope Randy's daughter is just going through a phase, and will have a sanity attack any day now.

There's more than enough misery to go around, isn't there? We take our little nano-seconds of comfort where we find them. Sprinkle them around, fondle them, spread them until they are transparent. Somehow, it multiplies. A little one-armed hug in the middle of the street is good for a whole day of fresh perspective and gratitude.

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