We have no more news than that as yet--they are still doing the tests to find out where, how much, how advanced, or anything like that. She has never smoked, but members of her family have, and she's spent a lot of time in the secondhand stuff. And both of us spent our formative pub-going years during the time before smoking in bars was outlawed.
This is the first time, for me, this disease has hit someone young and really beloved to me. I'm shocked, I'm scared, and I'm angry. Angry at the world we've let be created for us, the world so full of toxic crap all around that we have to be obsessive eccentric greenpeople to even cut out a portion of it from our own bodies and those of our children. Angry that she's thousands of miles away and I can't be with her. Angry that the economy has put so much pressure on her and her family in the past few years, ramping up her stress levels to a fever pitch as she tries to keep her family together and healthy, with food to eat and a place to live and children she protects from realizing how hard things really are. And I can't quite seem to stop crying for more than thirty seconds at a go.
I've been green-blogging for a couple of years now. And through most of that time I've had my own little defense mechanisms--I can treat this as sort of a game, a fun little challenge to try to make my life a little better, put less stress on the planet, and help my children be as healthy and strong as they can be. I can say, okay, what one person can do isn't really enough, but it's something, and so I'm cool with that.
Today, as on some rougher days, or some of those two-in-the-morning insomnia bouts, I'm hit with the much harder truth--What one person can do really isn't enough. And I'm not cool with that. I'm not cool with it at all.
This is one of those posts where there aren't any answers, any helpful suggestions for green living, any fun crafty ideas or mini-rants about some ingredient in a greenwashed lipstick. This is a frustrated cry into the darkness, a big question mark following a question so big I can't even verbalize it.
And all the while I am holding onto the dream shared with my dear friend, one we've talked about probably a hundred times since we met--the vision of two really old women, one rail-skinny and dressed with impeccable taste(her), one round and squishy wearing crazy gypsy shawls and scarves and no makeup but still with all her teeth (me), sitting on the boardwalk by the beach together eating french fries cooked in peanut oil and chasing them with ice cream cones. We'll sit there and tell stories and people-watch and check out the cute guys old enough to be our great-grandsons, and laugh uproariously until people glance over at the two crazy old ladies.
I want that dream. I want there to be a world in 50 years where kids still swim on the beaches in summer, and the food easily available won't poison us even as it nourishes us. I want the sun to be warm but not scary.
Mostly I just want my friend to be there.