Friday, January 23, 2009

For KJ

As I said to my sister the night before she began her Great Trek north, back to Boston, vicariously dreading the trip for her, “Where’s a tesseract when you really need one?”

By far the biggest drawback to being in Australia, for me, is its distance from Boston and Oxford. Generally, Australia’s location is contributes to its exotic value: it’s more difficult to get here, so fewer people have been here, and so it's more alluring. And most of the time the distance is part of the whole intrigue/challenge/appeal of the expat experience, a complex blend of emotions I’d need a much longer post than this to attempt to explain.

But there are times when it just plain sucks, and most of these involve someone you care about being in some kind of trouble and pain on the other side of the world. You, meanwhile, sit, horrified and helpless, unable to do anything other than receive bad news and send feeble offers of electronic assistance in return. A snail mail card or token delivered by an online surrogate if you can think of something worth sending.

I know everyone feels helpless in these situations. But at least when you’re on the geographical spot you can drive someone to an appointment, or help out with childcare, or bring over a meal or a large bottle of really good vodka. You can give someone a hug.

Right now I can’t do any of those things for my good friend KJ (, or see "Blogs I like" to your right), who has very recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. So I’ll do one of the few things I can do from far away: tell other people about it, and ask them to send some good thoughts her way. You can call it whatever you want: prayer, good karma, healing vibes, positive energy, channeling the power of the universe, angels, love. I don’t care as long as you can send some of it in her direction.

It wasn’t so long ago that first I, and as a result Miss B, were involved in a health crisis of our own, and there were times when I could almost feel the energy coming from all the people who were pulling for us. Knowing that helped keep me going on more than one bad day.

KJ, I'm thinking of you, and of J, C, and P too, every day.


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