Fine Chossid- You got me out of hibernation.
I went to a wedding last month of a good friend who is part of "the club". This friend is someone I talk to (or text/email) at least a couple of times every day. We have both been through cancer, both have had our scares and experiences with this, but they never come up in our conversations.
We are both normal people today. Absolutely fine and functioning and happy people. We both teach, and we both kvetch about our school days together, and we complain about piles of laundry, cooking suppers, and prices of shoes. We laugh at stuff together too. We laugh at how she got locked in the bathroom for an hour until someone heard her yelling and came to save her, and at the silly things my son does, and at how much we kvetch.
We met through our common denominator- the "club", but stayed friends because we have so much else in common.
At her wedding, I met another club member who actually was the one to first introduce me to the "club" when I first got sick. She was two years younger than I was but had already finished her treatment and was growing her hair nice and curly when she introduced me to some other kids in the group.
We were really excited to see each other again, and after catching up, she introduced me to some of the Kallah's friends that I didn't know. Most of them were fellow club members. I was shocked at how many of us there were.
She then brought me over to another friend of hers and I asked "Oh, is she in the club too?" And my curly haired friend laughed and said she belonged to another club.
So now, shmoozing with the not-so-new kallah, and talking about her wedding and all the club members I met there, she told me that our curly haired friend had said that I asked about her other friend in that "other" club.
She had said it as a joke. There is no other club...But really, I think there is.
For a long time I forgot what it was to think outside the box. I thought that cancer was all there was. And now, the closer I get to remission and the further I get from treatment, I am in a way, growing up.
I will never forget my bout with cancer- but suddenly, I hear things that I realize are much worse. Some of my friends are having hard pregnancies, one of my friends is going through a divorce, another has a sick child. We're all young kids, and so many are going through so much. How did I ever think I had the monopoly on the keys to the club?
I talked it over with my friend and she said that no matter what, cancer still gets a much bigger reaction from people than say, a divorce. I must admit she is right. Even I, who have been there and done that, get a lot more stressed about a person with an illness over a person with another kind of struggle.
But I'm not right. There is no such thing as a single club- I think in some way everybody belongs to some size shape or form of the "club".
Not only that, I feel that my time as a member of the club is slowly fading. Even though I strongly identify with everyone there, I know that I see myself as an alumni of the club- an honorary member. I feel that even my own club is not really mine anymore.
I love being there for people who want and need it, but sometimes I feel so guilty. Who gave me the permission to do that? Who gave me permission to name myself part of this club?
I think I realized that today I'm part of another club. I'm part of the club that has been there and is still there for others, but glad to be out of there herself. It's like the club was a hole and now I'm on the top of it, helping people out. I feel guilty sometimes - as if I'm only shouting inspiring things into the abyss but not really there with them, but today I realized that I don't need to be. Others need me to be in my NEW club- at the top, ready and waiting to lend a hand to someone needing to be pulled out of the dark.
So I'm proud to start my new club. And all my friends who were in my old one are more than welcome to join! There's no president or anything, we're all the same- here to celebrate being here and there to get as many people from that club into this one!
And a special mazal tov to my latest out of the last club member- mazal tov on finishing radiation and on IY"H getting that Port out! You're almost there!