So I heard some really bad news this week, my good, good friend Val found out her lymphoma has returned. I read the text and almost started crying immediately. I was getting Johnny ready for bed, so I wouldn't let myself give in to the sadness. But as I think about it right now, my heart breaks again.
When I think about what Val did for me right after JJ died and what I tried to do for her during lymphoma battle #1, I'm even sadder that she has to go through this again.
I'm pretty sure Val and I were supposed to be friends a long time ago, but the only one who thought that was Heavenly Father. We are only three months apart in age, oldest siblings of all girl families, but the obvious similarities stop there. She moved into my Queen Creek ward about seven months after we did. (I know that because she was on bedrest when she moved in and I remember them telling us that she needed dinners and help because she had three small boys and was pregnant. Trust me, I don't remember when anyone else moved into my Queen Creek ward.) Jason was assigned to be their home teacher, I think, within a year. She was assigned as my visiting teacher probably a few months after that.
Still, we weren't really friends. I can't remember which happened first, I got called to serve with the Beehives with her or she moved to the house across the street from ours.
Still, we weren't really friends. I know, you're all thinking, how dumb were the two of you to not have found each other sooner?!?!
And then JJ died and we became close, close friends. I have told her things and shared things with her that I couldn't even say to my husband. She came to me when I was broken and did just about anything I asked of her to help me feel whole. She cleaned my scrapbook room, she painted blocks with me, she came home early from church with me and baked with me, she cooked for me. She did things for me that most friends would refuse to do for their friends.
She showed me what it meant to be a friend. To be there for someone in their time of need. She was there with me every disappointing pregnancy test following the loss of JJ. And that next summer we both knew we would be moving for different reasons. We'd been in the same ward for over three years, finally found each other only six months earlier and now it was over.
She moved to a neighborhood across the street. While she was moving she was admitted into the hospital and found out about a week later that she had Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma. That same day I found out I was pregnant with Johnathon. The following week I moved to Mesa.
To see our lives take such dramatically different paths all on the same day was heart wrenching for both of us. We both wanted to cry at her diagnosis and do backflips about mine. Being much farther apart and going through tough times, we kept in touch as best we could. Val wasn't as good as I was at telling me what to do to help her out. :)
Around the start of this year, it seemed like she had beat that stinkin' enemy. She celebrated Johnny's birth with us and came to the hospital twice while we were there to shower him with love.
And now, here it is again! And I don't have any wonderful news to try to cheer her up about her horrible news. And I don't feel any better equipped to help her out now than I did then!
As I try to wrap my mind around this and what I can do for her, I keep remembering the scripture about the baptismal covenant in Mosiah that reads "willing to mourn with those that mourn." And, I am pretty sure that it is harder to mourn with someone else than to mourn for yourself. Self-inflicted pity parties are easy! But trying to do something to help someone else through their own trial when all you want to do is destroy it and make their life easier is the hard part. Being strong and dependable when you can't do anything, really, to fix the situation at all, even in the least bit, is devastating. Feeling powerless as you watch someone you love, who has done so much for you, be completely at the mercy of an unforgiving monster called cancer is one of the worst feelings imaginable.
And, really, all I can say is that I love that woman. I take entire responsibility for us not finding each other sooner! I am so sad that she has to show cancer who's the boss again. But I know she can and I know she will. And I know that she is in my life because Heavenly Father knew I needed her and I only hope that somehow my secondary mourning will provide her with even a small piece of the peace she has given me.