Childhood cancer is not an episodic illness rather it is an illness that leaves no one unscathed with 95% of adult survivors living with at least 1 chronic health concern by the time they turn 45.
There is a ‘pooh and piglet’ quote that I love:
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
Friends that come alongside you, stay alongside you during the trials of this life are treasures. Judy is one of my treasures as she came alongside me as I recovered and began the process of healing after my heart transplant.
At that time, Judy, a fellow survivor of childhood cancer, was awaiting heart transplant at that time, and she will tell you that it was me who came alongside her as she awaited a new heart.
The truth is we came alongside one another in a friendship built over the phone until we finally met in August of 2011. I wrote ‘Kindred Comfort’ in 2011 shortly after our face to face meeting at the Cleveland Clinic.
Where there is kindred, there is comfort.
Two individuals alike, yet distinct in these moments.
Two lives: threatened in youth; restored with consequences.
Two hearts: broken, beyond repair; stitched together, no fear of rejection.
One longs to embrace a new heart while the other struggles to take ownership of the heart gifted to her.
One looks forward with anticipation while the other looks back in remembrance.
One waits while the other waits alongside.
~Stephanie Zimmerman, 2011