top of page


August 18, 2023

Seated at a bench outside of the library, I am late for a zoom meeting.

Of course my headphones run out of juice and I have to yell calmly and forced the world to hear the meeting.

And right when I was about to start the zoom, a dear friend called.

I picked up and was ready to blurt out, “I am at a meeting, can I call you back?”

For some reason, I listen after saying hello instead.

She asks if I am free. She never asks. So I invite her to talk, without saying I was slightly stressed about the loud environment and running late for a meeting. I quickly send a request to delay the meeting at the laptop.

Right when I hit “send,” she starts weeping, from a small weep to an audibly ugly cry.

I give her a moment. It felt like 5 minutes but it must have been shorter in reality.

I was wondering, “is she pregnant?” She tends to cry about happy things too.

Eventually, I offer, “what happened?”

Ugly cry continues.

“Are you ok?”

Ugly cry continues.

“Can you tell me is it a happy thing or a bad thing?”

Ugly cry slowly quiets down.

“I have cancer.”

I heard her but I worry the construction noise made me hear things.

“I have breast cancer.”

Just about a thousand thoughts run in my head, simultaneously, I also draw a blank. But I reflectively calmed myself and think of things to say.

Without knowing much information, all I could offer is…”it’s ok, babe. We will go through this together.”

“I am so scared.”

“of course. It is normal to feel that way. Where are you now?”

After a few exchanges, turned out she’s taking her son to class and waiting outside. Good. Busyness and distractions are welcomed.

She is going to the doctor with her husband later today. Good. Someone is with her. And good. She’s going to the doctor without much delay.

“Can you please ask him to take notes or document what the doctor said?”

“You tell him.” Flash back to middle school when she wanted me to negotiate with her mom on her behalf.

“Ok. I will message him.”

She’s then approached by someone and had to hang up. Good. Because I started to struggle with words and have a hard time handling the emotions that bubble up abruptly.

After trying my best to compartmentalize and focuse at work, I decide to just be there.

Literally, show up, give her a hug and just, be there.

I didn't tell her. I worried my meetings would run late and the last thing I want her to have is an empty promise. But I made it.

They are running late. While I was waiting to meet up with her, I kept wanting to get her a stuffed animal. For remember what Hank shared in his video.

I ended up with a children's picture book. With no words. I can’t pinpoint why. But it just brings me peace knowing that I did something to show my love and care.

Right when our eyes meet, she starts crying. I couldn’t even hug her with her seated and burying her head on my belly.

She was with her husband and a couple friends. She’s loved and cared for. I am relieved.

Being with someone may not help with the pain, but I hope it eases the suffering.

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page