Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 38

BY S T E PH E N H E AV ISI DE

38

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2021

R

ain was starting to greet the
pavement. I was walking alone
in Silver Lake, known to most
as a sort of " hipster capital " in
the east section of Los Angeles.
I was trying to find a place that had a good
vegetarian sandwich option, as November
tumbled into December.
December: my diagnosis month. Ugh.
Killing time, I pulled up Facebook on my
phone. At the top of my feed, I saw a friend's
name, but the person who typed up the Facebook status was not them. It was, I assumed,
a family member. They were informing the
world that this Facebook friend was now
gone. I could not believe it.
I had met this person at a cancer conference. Sat with them and their oxygen tank
and sang songs with them. I had messaged
this person as they struggled through horrible days. And yet, cancer taking this person's life was a horrific and utter shock to
me. I suddenly felt stupid. My head and my
heart were being pummeled with a million
thoughts, memories and emotions careening
into each other. I needed windshield wipers
for my eyes.
I found a place to grab a vegeta ria n
sandwich and I could barely concentrate.
The guy behind the counter asked me if I
was ok. I said yes and did not elaborate any
further before ordering something that had
avocado in it. I sat down and re-read the
message. Started feeling nauseous. Anger
was now taking the stage, as I kicked myself for not sending more messages when I
had the chance. My brain started clawing
at every little detail I knew about this person, like I was scavenging for something
to hold onto.
I was grieving and I had no idea what to
do with this new grief or where to put it.
My support system of family and friends are
kind and wonderful, but how can I explain
to them that I am completely rocked by the
death of someone who I hung out with over
one weekend and kept in touch with over
Facebook? It wouldn't make sense to them.
It couldn't make sense to them. It barely
made sense to me. So I didn't call or text
anyone. I sat with my grief and my avocado
sandwich and I cried.
This was the first time I had lost a " cancer
friend. " It hit me in ways that other deaths
haven't. I still think about it. Even now,

Photo by Paul Siewert on Unsplash

The House
that Survivor's
Guilt Built


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Elephants And Tea - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - March 2021

Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 1
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Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover3
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