My next door neighbor has just learned she has both brain cancer and has a very poor prognosis. We just found out last night, and I am not quite sure how to feel about it, other than shocked and sad. Maybe shocked and sad is adequate for right now.

This is the neighbor with whom I used to do regular urban hikes around the neighborhood on weekends. She and her partner went on vacation a couple of months ago and were gone nearly a month, so we got out of the habit. But we are still friendly and see each other in our comings and goings, but the opportunity to walk and chat has been missing for quite a while. When her partner came by last night to tell us the sad news and give me a small gift – a heart rate monitor she will never use – we tried to be supportive and comforting. But he’s not an emotional or comfortable with support kind of guy, so it was awkward. I asked if I could or should come visit, and he said it would be best to text and ask if she was up to visitors. We also asked if there was anything we could do – feed the cats, errands, groceries, anything – and he said they were fine right now.

I feel badly for them both, and I did text thanking her for the gift and to ask if she would like a visit or if there was anything I/we could do for her. Thus far no reply, and I am not taking it personally. But I am so saddened by the situation.

Part of me wishes to do something, anything for them. Yet I also recognize this is me wanting to do something to make me feel better about an impossible situation. I am opting to simply sit and wait, but it is awkward and difficult. Ours is a neighborhood full of elderly people and several have passed away or moved to assisted living in the almost 4 years we have been in our home. These neighbors, though, are about our same age and we thought they would be around for a while to come.

Sometimes the phrase “carpe diem” hits far too close to reality than I like.

5 thoughts on “Carpe diem

  1. This is so sad! Full disclaimer: I don’t do drugs. However I just saw a special by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN last night on how cannibus has been found to repair brain damage and it’s currently being used in Israel and other places in the world to help cure/control cancer with great success. Might be worth looking into.

  2. There will be plenty to help with as time passes along. He may need you to sit with her while he runs the errands- he may need you to run to get animal food. Right now, I bet they are both in shock. My son had two bone marrow transplants. At first – you want to think that you can do it all but then you learn it takes a village. The best thing would be to be as you’ve always been. Continuity at an uncertain time is precious! Keep us posted – sending our best to your friend and your community –

    1. A, your comment made me cry. Seriously, thank you for your kindness and compassion. I hope your son is doing well now? We will be right next door if and when they need us. It’s just such shocking news to hear out of the blue that way.

      1. Oh yes! He is almost 16- his transplants were at age 7! We have a carpe diem lifestyle now, as we know life can change at a moment. I always say that I’m going to write a book titled “Ink on a paper”. Test results printed in ink on a paper can rule our life- or change the way we live. I promise you will have time and there will be a need to help your neighbor. In those type situations, we usually gain more wisdom than one could ever imagine. Please message me if I can help with any ideas. A

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