Want to practice equanimity?  Ready to slam headlong into post-graduate training in realness?  Would you like to step outside of story (hers and yours) and take the next course in fierce and unconditional loving, despite the fact that some days she can’t talk to you and other days won’t, not because you’ve screwed up (you hope) but because she has no battery left to connect after consulting experts all week long and the only way for her to drum up enough juice to take her next brutal step is to put you on hold and trust that you’re there and that you’ll understand?

You could try railing at the Universe, “Do we have to do this again?”  Useless protest.  (I imagine an enormous Earth Mother, whose big belly holds the compassion for all beings, cradling me in her lap and saying, “Yes dear, you do.”)  And indeed, it’s we.  Because that’s what happens when your best friend comes up with the same friggin’ diagnosis.  Different body part. Same drill.  Same tsunami.  Cancer.

Is this what it’s like to have a child who’s hurting?  When your body aches for her pain, when your day rocks to a standstill because of the confusion, helplessness and as yet under-the-lid rage that you feel?  When menopausal brain, or leftover chemo brain, or doing-way-too-over-the-top-much-trying-to-keep-your-own-life-afloat-when-you-should-just-be-packing-up-and-going-there-to-be-with-her brain leaves you stranded somewhere in your kitchen and why did you get the mayonnaise out of the refrigerator anyway?

She puts gifts from you on her altar.  Can I just lay my body down there?

You want to hold the whole ocean of healing for her.  Yet sucked under the roiling seas, you flash again on the perilous straits, remembering crags and shipwrecks.  Damn, it’s cold and dark in here.  How do you breathe underwater?  Blind, you smack your shins on a rusty mooring and bleeding (still alive!), let go.  Oh yeah—fight and get thrashed by the deep; yield and the current carries you.  Yes, I remember.  Quietly I wait, suspended in the watery stillness of my own mind.  Awash with humility and tenderness, I feel the returning tides depositing me on soft, smooth sand, and I lay there, still and silent, for a while.

She calls when the next wave hits and I’m anchoring her because I’ve sailed these waters and know how to right the ship, even when its keel has dissolved in the surf.

We love the ocean, she and I.

We’re going to go there.  And play.  Naked.  Me with my 8” sagittal slice, the tidy seam through which I delivered the ovaries and uterus I didn’t intend for science and her with her Amazon breast or maybe a new one or two, expertly sized and formed forever.

Perfect.

You’d be hard pressed to find two women more dedicated to health and healing.  Professional and personal careers in wellness, a century between them.  Women who perhaps know too much, yet clearly much too little.  Alkalinity and enlightenment be damned; I say we go for the java stout.  Sit by the surf, let it lap our toes as we sip the foam off the top.  Lie back, stare at the stars, and laugh.