J., I told you you would be featured in my next post!
It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. They say things happen for a reason, I guess we can find meaning in everything and anything if we try hard enough. With almost 7 billion people living on Earth, we meet people all the time, but are we meant to to meet the people we meet? Do we meet people by accident, coincidence, fate, or serendipity? Some people would say yes, we are absolutely meant to meet the people we meet and believe that everyone we meet has something to teach us regardless of how long they stay in our lives. Some say they either help us through a chapter of our lives, teach us a lesson, help us grow, inspire us, make us happy or in more unfortunate cases just make us stronger. Sometimes, we have an instant connection with the people we meet, sometimes we are just indifferent, and other times we just don’t really care. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out if these people are a good match for us, on the surface things may be fine but at a deeper level maybe we don’t really connect. Other times people grow on us and we become really good friends when initially we didn’t think we had anything in common. No one relationship is the same and we can never predict which way they will go.
We had a family move in literally across the street from us, stayed there for a year then moved again. I couldn’t even tell you what they looked like let alone their names, yet they lived a few steps away from us for a whole year. Then this other family moves a few miles away from us and our paths crossed after them being here for only a few weeks. If they had moved just a little further North, South, or West (not East because then they would be in Africa!), their kids would have gone to a different school and we would probably have never met them. If their son had not been in my son’s class, we would have never met them. Us meeting them does not feel like a coincidence… it feels like it was meant to be.
Poor J. got to meet me at one of the lowest points in my life. J. is actually the “first friend” I met AC (after cancer). I received a hand written note a couple of weeks after school started from her asking me if Sebastien could have a play date with her son. I vaguely remembered meeting them on registration day. They had just moved from California but on registration day, I had a lot on my mind. I was scheduled the next day for a liver biopsy that would tell me if I indeed had metastatic disease growing in my liver, I was a total wreck that day. I had just had my first chemo infusion when I received her note and I wasn’t sure how to respond to this invitation “sure my son can have a play date with your son, by the way I have Stage 4 cancer and won’t be able to have your kid over indefinitely and yes I don’t know you but take my kid for a playdate, that would be great and something he probably needs right now”… obviously I responded with a little bit more tact than that but she probably was given more information than what she had bargained for when she had sent her note. In J.’s heartfelt reply, she told me that she was devastated to read my email and said “I know we don’t even know each other, but I want to help you in any way that I can (from one mom to another)”. For some reason I felt her email to be so genuine and felt comfortable letting my baby go with her.
To tell you the truth, if the roles had been reversed, I really don’t know what I would have done. If I was new in town, trying to make friends for my kids and myself and one of the first person I reached out to told me she had just been diagnosed with cancer, I wonder if I would have jut walked away. I may have thought that I had already enough on my plate and cancer can be scary so maybe I would have thought that it would be best to not try to get too close to this family. I don’t know, I was not in her shoes but I am not sure I would have had the same inviting response. J. stepped right up and became a very important person in my life. Not only is she an incredible mother to her two precious kids, but she is an incredible friend. Things were always easy with her, no drama, just the way I like them. She made me feel normal when my whole world was turned upside down. She is funny and witty and always found a way to make me laugh. Yet, she could be deep and say some of the most encouraging, upbeat, and comforting things. I felt like I didn’t have to say anything and she just knew the right things to say.
We found out they had to move back to California right after Christmas. As sad as I was when I heard the news, I blocked it out and knew that I wanted to try to spend as much time as we could with them. I guess I secretly wish I could convince them to stay. The past few months have been “super fun” (as she would say!) and I have really enjoyed getting to know them more. Her kids are extraordinary kids and that’s because she is such an extraordinary mom. I can only be grateful that our paths crossed. I am not sure what the reason of our meeting was yet but she has made this incredibly challenging year easier on me and on Sebas that’s for sure. On the eve of their departure, she texted me “I am sorry we came into your world and now we are leaving… but I know it happened for a reason”, I am not sorry she came into our world, I feel honored that we got to meet and spend some time together and I know that we will stay connected on many different levels. I am also excited that her husband, who is a pilot, has offered buddy passes for us to come and visit and we will for sure.
J. thank you for having been such a good friend this year, we miss you already….