Death is our most constant companion, accompanying us from the moment we enter the world until we ultimately surrender to its final embrace. We challenge it, we tease it, avoid it, we test it, and dance with it every day. Along the path of our survival we gather experiences, education, and the scars that prove we have been there, dancing with our shadowy partner.
Adrenaline being my personal drug of choice, I have held hands and danced close with my grim partner many times and bear the scars of my close encounters. I have memories to cherish, stories to tell, and cold shivers to remind me of my escapes from serious injury, massive heart attack, and perhaps the scariest, a personal brush with and survival of cancer.
It is good to survive, to wear the battle scars you can show off, but the worst scars are the ones inflicted by the precious souls in your life who have failed to survive. Cancer has robbed me of the presence in my life of a growing number of friends, family, and life partners. It seems every passing year increases the count of those who completed the final fateful dance with this dread disease.
As we age, it is expected that the circle of friends and family will shrink with the passing of time and events, but the inevitability does little to soften the emotional impact of the losses. It is important to never lose sight of the importance of the people who support us in time of need and to remember to be present when they need you to provide emotional support. While there is nothing you can say or do to change the absence in their lives, by simply being present, a shoulder to lean on, someone who will answer when they call at an inopportune time, someone who will show up when called is the greatest gift you can provide.
Being a friend is an expression of pure love, a commodity we all need as we daily dance with our constant companion.