When a Friend Has Chronic Illness

When a friend is sick with chronic illness, you can do nothing but love them. There is nothing else.

My dog died 2 months ago, and a good friend died last month. I watched a friend’s diabetic mother spike her blood sugar repeatedly, refuse to correct her diet or exercise, and die at 64.

How many times have I stated that when a loved one has cancer, you have the chance to forgive grievances, tell them you love them, maybe even the chance for some quality time. This is what we got when my dad was sick, and most of us stepped up. We knew he might not survive. We each had chances to phone him and spend time. You never know how much more time anyone has, but this steps up the urgency.

Not like heart attacks and gunshots and car wrecks, not those instances where someone is here one minute and gone the next. You were thinking about phoning a friend but 15 minutes before you do, they leave this plane of existence. Their body gives it up and is turned over to the care and feeding of ten trillion microbes.

Yeah, microbes. That’s where the body is supposed to go, to feed all the goomers and bugs and filaments that live in the Earth, that make soil a living thing. That’s how it’s supposed to work, not some freakish embalming that makes your body useless for the next 10 centuries. (Anthropologists of the future will thank you, tho. Think of them when you decide what you want buried with your body.)

Friends leave, family leaves, pets leave. I leave. Seasons pass, years pass, moments pass.

Every week I look up and think, “Is it __day again?” It’s another week that I haven’t finished my album, haven’t booked a concert, haven’t coordinated a dinner or authored my dreams. So much failure, slouching against the stream of time.

I have no advice against this. Today I took photos of a creek and walked in some woods. Pretended my deceased dog was walking with me. Hey, only-children are good at the imaginary friends game.

The sun set wihtout my asking and the Earth will turn to face Him again in the morning. Maple leaves are canary and cantaloupe, my friend is sick and I am in great shape.


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