The space between

Posted on December 20th, 2007 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

In the last few days I have had chats with people who have been affected in some way by cancer. I am not isolating cancer from other illnesses, it is just what they happened to be dealing with. A wife of one of the guys has been living with cancer for a number of years and they journey each day through a real uncertainty of what the day will present. I had been buying music gear from him for some time, and one particular day about six months ago, I had a chat with him about how he deals with her illness. His response to the situation was to live in the short term, the here and now. He would sometimes just take his wife on trips spontaneously and do as much as he could to make their plans in the future happen now.
Elizabeth and I had been making plans to spend some time overseas for 2008. I told him of our plans and he was full of encouragement. His response was to ‘Just go! You never know if your opportunity may disappear tomorrow.’ I went in a week later to grab some music gear and I told him that I had been diagnosed within that short amount of time.
I went to see him on Tuesday this week, the first time I have seen him in that six months. He told me that each day he wakes up and the first thing he does is make sure his wife is still breathing. “It is the most beautiful sound in the world! Even just to lay awake, listening to her breathe, it is the most beautiful sound.”
Being quite unwell himself, he told me that because of the depths of emotion he has gone through over the years he often finds himself getting quite emotional, even at the smallest hint of emotional beckoning. It seems that the traumas he has endured has awakened aspects of his character that had otherwise lay dormant.

Today I met up with one of the jewelers working next door to me. This Christmas he will wake up to the deafening absence of his wife’s breathing, having lost her to cancer last month. As you would expect, you could sense a facet of pain that lets no part of his body escape. His eyes hid nothing.

In many ways, these two guys have shared a very similar journey. But I can’t help feeling that at this point in time, they couldn’t be further apart. For the guy at the music shop, there is time that separates where he is at compared to that of the jeweler. And that time, that space between – it is everything.

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