12 July 2009

Better not ask the reason why

Three years ago, on a beautiful Saturday evening on the 15th July, a young, vibrant, talented girl called Catherine, with nothing in front of her but Life, lost hers by the side of a country road near Waterford. She was killed as the 16 year old driver lost control of the car she was a passenger in.

Catherine was 13.

I will never forget the shock of the phone call I received the next morning. I was numb for days. Numb for the loss of such a young life in such a stupid and unnecessary way. Numb for her mother H., a dear friend of mine, as I vainly tried to comprehend a fraction of what she must have been feeling.

A few weeks ago I received another phone call from the same common friend who had rung me 3 years ago: H., Catherine’s mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. Without warning, without a hint that there could be something there...

The numbness took hold again. But it was slowly overshadowed by a question, creeping into the recesses of my mind: Why?

Why pile so much on the same person? On the same family? And how much can someone be expected to cope with?

I had to quickly set this aside. At the moment my friend does not need my questioning. She needs the support of all who love her. She needs our strength, our encouragement.

And to be fair to her, she has been so open about it, right from the start, that I admire her for her honesty and her courage. And here I want to publicly salute this in her.

I have felt so helpless since this news. Because, when all is considered, and said, and done, there is absolutely nothing I can do to fight this most insidious and sneaky disease and its onslaughts on her. So I did the only thing I could think of. I waited a couple of weeks for H. to get over the worst effects of the first round of treatment, and then went down to Waterford this weekend, just before she goes back to hospital tomorrow for the second round. I stayed with another friend, and three of us met up with H. on Saturday to spoil her rotten for the day. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperated – so much for the Sunny South-East! What should have been a beautiful touristy drive along the River Suir from Cheekpoint, to Passage East, and onwards to Dunmore East, with a stop in Woodstown for a walk on the beach, turned into a soggy drive with the occasional glimpse of scenery when the fog and the lashing rain abated somewhat. But we did spend hours together, chatting about this and that, from the most serious to the most frivolous of subjects, catching up on all our respective news. And we treated ourselves to a nice leisury meal in Dunmore East, though we got quite drenched running in from the car, and back out again several hours later. I suppose this was also part of the fun of the day.

Because it was a fun day, being together, laughing (and the odd time crying) together. And this was the most important thing of all. H. is not alone. She has people around her who care, even if some of them are not geographically as close to her as they would like at this time.

The reason “why” is not relevant at the moment. What is relevant is the support and love we can give her.

H., I know you follow this blog. So whenever you have a look at it again, and happen upon this post, think of this windy, rainy, yet oh so lovely day we had yesterday. Until the next time my friend, take good care... ;-)


jazzygal said...

So sorry NanP to hear the sad news about your friend H. So much for one person to bear.

I'm sure she appreciates her friends at this time and will remember fondly, the time u all had in Waterford.

It is indeed very difficult to refrain from asking "why".

My best wishes to you... and H. xx J

Anonymous said...

I have thought of H ever since I heard the news. May God give her strength.

You're right, she is not alone.


Lisa said...

You have done a great thing. Keep sending her little treats to make her feel loved and pampered. The mind is a powerful healer. xx

Clive said...

What a truly terrible time for your friend, Nan. But just by being there and taking time out to visit and be with her - is doing something.

Take care