The two innocent, incredibly adorable, rainy day-prepared girls in this photo are me and my childhood friend, Julie. Julie and I go way back, like to the 1980’s way back (in case you didn’t pick up on that from the picture). We lived on the same street and used to run to each other’s houses to play and do homework (she was way smarter than me, so that worked out in my favor). During the week, my mom left very early for work so I walked to Julie’s house each morning and then we’d head off to school together. I remember hanging out in the kitchen watching as her mom progressed through the many steps it took to get three kids out the door. It was a whirlwind of breakfast making, breakfast eating, hair brushing (this part took a while, these kids had some seriously thick hair!) and double checking everyone had their lunches and ‘stuff’ for the day.
Just like watching the routine of each morning whiz by, so too did our childhood years. When high school came along Julie and I grew apart as we met new people and explored new interests. Our one constant through it all was our love for the clarinet and Mr. Hillman, our beloved band director (this is an insiders reference for those who are lucky enough to call themselves Waverly Wolverines).
Julie and I found each other on Facebook in the early 2000’s. We exchanged some messages, but then (college) life got busy and we lost touch again. In more recent years Julie has been a wonderful support and has reached out to me numerous times since Jeff’s diagnosis.
Never did I think that I would be in a position to return the favor. In September, Julie’s mom pulled a muscle in her back. When her pain persisted she went in for an x-ray which led to further testing, and finally, unexpectedly, a lung cancer diagnosis.
We’re back at it, the two of us kids from Center Street. Quite literally we’ve been doing homework together and sharing notes. The subject matter has changed a bit and there aren’t any Trapper Keepers involved this time around. I will forever be heartbroken that Julie and her family have to travel the road that is lung cancer, however, I am incredibly grateful to have my friend back in my life. And just for the record, not that it’s a competition or anything, but I think if there was a Regents exam on lung cancer I might get the higher grade. ; )
Much love and much hope. xo!
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
– Haruki Murakami