My colleague, Lina, who worked with me in the corporate department, remembers my telling her I had tumours in the stomach, and then I cried. “You had been complaining of being very tired lately.” She also reminded me how “distracted you were after your gastroscopy results. Howard said to you that you should go home.” She and others at the office couldn’t understand why I was still at work, knowing what I knew.
Lina and I have become great friends, even though I haven’t returned to work. Our children were born three weeks apart. It was funny having two of the three employees in our department pregnant, but not so enjoyable for our small office, who would lose both of us for a year while we were on maternity leave. We still reminisce about our pregnancies, and how we would compare notes during the day. “Do you feel this? What name have you chosen for either sex?” We also spent time together during maternity leave, and visited the office with our newborns.
Did I even say goodbye to anyone at the office? Walking around dazed, I didn’t realize what I was doing, nor did I know what the future held. I brought home the framed photos of my daughter that I kept on my desk. There were three pictures of her that I loved, and I had put them into a narrow vertical frame I could also sit on a bedside table in my hospital room.
Today, that frame hangs on a wall I pass several times a day, but now holds a picture of Isabella, Mariano, and myself, each aged four or five. It’s interesting to spot the similarities and differences Isabella took from each of us. The way I look now doesn’t really represent my look as I grew up, so our childhood pictures link us well. Even though she has her father’s eyes, and other facial aspects of him, my cousins call her “little Patricia.” It isn’t important that she takes from me; in fact, I prefer she doesn’t take the health complications I’ve experienced throughout my life. The noticeable resemblance does make me smile.
It was tough to have to tell my circle of friends that I had cancer, but I managed to meet with my usual lunch friends to tell them in person. They were sad, of course, and wished me well. Annette, a longtime friend from my former workplace, looked passed me, “Oh, my good friend…”
Have a wonderful week, and enjoy the beautiful weather here in Montreal!