As I mentioned a post or two ago, Judi had a basically good but crazy time in Atlanta last week. Apart from seeing her surgeon (whom she adores), she also saw her meditation instructor Eric (whom she also adores). One of the things he told her when he saw her was that she looked fragile. She was really struck by that and mentioned it to me the next day. When we talked the other night however we talked about it again. Hearing that really reverberated for her—-in a positive way—and it has really stayed with her. I think I understand—it was a recognition that validated the pain she has gone through, both physically and mentally.
When Ernie was diagnosed with cancer four years ago we experienced, as Judi has, overwhelming kindness. Everyone was very encouraging and telling us they knew he would get through this, etc. People brought us meals, watched the boys, etc. About a week after his prostatectomy I went to a small party by myself. It felt odd to be there but it was a work-related wedding shower and I thought I should go. I found myself talking to a woman I knew slightly but liked very much and when I told her why Ernie wasn’t there she just looked at me and said, "oh that’s awful, that is just awful, I am so sorry." Then she went on to offer any assistance she could, etc. but it was those first words that I treasured. Because you know what? It WAS awful. Is it the worst thing in the world that could happen? No. Do things like this happen to people all the time? Yes. Would he get through it? Yes. But just the same it WAS awful…and to have that recognized felt so good. I’ve never forgotten that. I tried to tell her how much it had meant to me once after the fact but I don’t know if I expressed it well.
So I think I understand why Judi is treasuring the words "you look fragile." That recognition feels good.