Today is our local Farmers’ Market day. I love being around the hustle and bustle of the people, and I’ve made some friendships over the last three years I’ve been going there. My friend, Kim, told me about it after my breast cancer diagnosis, and after a discussion we had on eating organic foods.
On May 26th, Kim passed away after a courageous fight with breast cancer that lasted four and a half years. Having met her in April of 2006, I only knew her as a cancer survivor.
Over the four years I got to know Kim, I learned more about life and death than I would have ever asked to have learned. Yet, our conversations were some of the most candid conversations that I’ve ever experienced in my life. Most of those conversations took place over the telephone.
Of course, we didn’t speak only of cancer or the health benefits of eating organic foods. Our conversations ranged from the silly to the serious, the weird to the normal, and chitchat to downright deep. No topic was off-limits. Together, we laughed and cried, bitched and moaned, solved the world’s problems, discussed and debated, and communicated in a way that was respectful, but always direct.
She always said what she thought, and needed or wanted to say. And she always welcomed what I had to say. I was able to have courage to say the things that were on my mind, without fear of being ridiculed, rejected, or feeling as if I had to defend myself.
I miss our honest conversations.
I miss hearing her giggle and laugh, as I let out a hearty guffaw.
I miss the ease of being able to be myself with a friend who was so accepting of me. So often I feel the need to “watch my p’s and q’s” in other situations and with other friends.
Being able to experience life through her eyes as she faced death, gave me the courage to live honestly with her. I did not have to worry about how she would take me, or if I were saying or doing the “wrong” things.
I am beginning to realize that these kinds of friendships are few and far between. The handful of people, where one can share such a connection on the deepest of levels, is a rarity.
Kim and I spoke of this connection several times, often times lamenting that some relationships to other people could be so difficult. In her final couple of months, however, there was an outpouring of love and support like nothing I have ever seen before.
It makes me wonder…is it in dying that we finally have the courage to let others see us? And is it when others take seriously their own mortality they see in us that the coverings are shed?
Today, as I get ready to walk around our little neighborhood farmers’ market, I will make a point of talking with the few people and vendors I see regularly. I did it last week, and found myself in some pretty honest conversations with some very real folks.
At least on Saturdays, Coral’s got her courage on.