Monday, October 13, 2008

Cancer Collage/Cancer College

My friend Lizzie has cancer. I call her Lizzie because I've known her for my whole life; other people call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a fierce doula/midwife/accupuncturist who has never for a minute stopped looking to understand more. Lizzie was a leader of the pack (me being the pack) the kind of kid who always had an idea for what we should do next and always had a gleam of a dare in her eyes. "You know, Robin," I know she wanted to say, "We could do more." She's irrepressible, ireverant, respectful of the universe, and funny. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she started a blog: Cancer College: Or what I didn't plan to do with my life. Only I read it and thought it said, "Cancer Collage."

Cancer collage made sense to me -- I thought it was Elizabeth the fierce seeker putting it all together. I'd type in the url "cancercollage.blah" and wonder why her blog didn't come up. And then today Lizzie emailed to say her blog was public and I could link to it and I was all, "See HER link to cancer collage works!" After reading more of it (which I encourage you to do because Lizzie fights hard and well and has something to teach all of us), I went to set up my link and it was only then that I got it: Cancer COLLEGE, or what I didn't plan to do with my life. And I thought, "That's so funny! That's so Lizzie!"

When the blog was cancer collage, it was a little farther away from me, the work of my grown up friend Elizabeth for whom I want everything. When it's cancer college, it's Lizzie my old, old friend, my first pen pal, the girl who could quiver when she'd clamber out of a pool and even if her lips were blue give me that look that said, "C'mon! Let's do'll be FUN!" So Lizzie has again led me somewhere. This isn't about me, it's about her. It's about Elizabeth and Lizzie, a force the universe must reckon with and shelter in living, breathing fierceness for decades to come.

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