I just found out someone I know has an inoperable brain tumor. We’re not close, but he is the cousin of a close friend, and so, through her, he’s been in my life for many years. In this way he has constituted a part of my world. And now he has a tumor on his brain stem and they can’t take it out.
Two days ago I also found out the father of one of Al’s close friends has lymphoma. The family has been keeping under the radar for months, withdrawing from contact with acquaintances (like my parents) or withholding the news from friends (like Al, who didn’t know despite communicating regularly with her friend). The father is the sole breadwinner for the family, and their elder son has just started his first year at U Penn.
A thirtysomething female acquaintance is ten weeks pregnant with her first child.
Our existence in the world is so fragile and so changeable. Not original words, these, but they always seem so each time we have cause to realize them. Most of the time we just move through our lives so thoughtlessly, never remembering that in all the moments that we live and breathe we tread a hair-fine line between being and not being, between being easily and without thinking, and being painfully and just barely. The utter slimness of the thread that holds the balance is staggering.
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com. What’s amazing is as I write this, in 2014, both individuals mentioned in this post (with the tumor and the lymphoma) are still living.]