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If you get cancer
I hope you have the good fortune
of having a sister-in-law
like mine
Because
when you feel discouraged
she will be there

On one of the more terrifying days
just throw open the windows
plop down on the sofa
pick up the phone
and listen to one of the messages
that you have saved
about how she’s praying to her Jewish God
“or whoever helps us out up there”

Your favorite message might sound something like this:
“Hello my sister-in-law
You don’t have to call me back
I don’t want to bother you
I’m just calling to say I love you
and my prayers and best wishes are for you
every day

And my mom who loved you
right until the end, O.K.?
You were one of her favorite people
She will be there for you
So will my father
because he always used to say
‘Oh, if I was young again; she is gorgeous!’
He loved you
I talk to them every night
I know that they’re going to be there for you

You don’t have to call me back and you know
What can I say?
Anyway
I just wanted to let you know
You have been such a part of our life
I just miss you and wish I could be there to hold you
In my heart I am

Rest your soul and body
You will find the strength and energy
To take this fuckin journey”

Now if you are blessed enough
to possess a message like this
then surely you have done something right
and while you may worry about the mistakes you have made
or beat yourself up for errors and oversights
do not imagine for one minute
that the cancer you carry
is your fault

Your sister-in-law loves you
That’s all you need to know

 

G. Gray
7/3/13

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