When a child…When a friend


When a child:

you place your hands on the top of your child’s head, move them down, slowly, suspending time, your palms cup the ears, your thumbs rest above the eyebrows, your fingers find and hold the base of skull, the heels of your hands slide lightly to the homes of the cheek bones, the eyes close at the sparrow-light pressure of your hands, your hands decide everything, only your hands speak now, you fight your own thoughts, your anger, long nursed, your useless bargains with any divinity that will listen, your worries, grievances, anguish, wash away and you imagine, conjure, alchemize, healing and health, long and lasting, and perhaps a great warmth moves through your fingers, into this head, this face, beautiful, this body…

when your child is in pain.


When a friend:

you go outside, pick up your bike and ride to the cliffs, you climb down to the beach and set your back against a bleached log, you lift your eyes and see the stones on the shore reflect a low sun, watch waves give away the wind, see a thick layer of marine air expose the cool surface—everything cause and effect—you do this with order, method, a liturgy of superstition, knowing the original meaning of this word is, “to stare over in awe,” your cause is straight forward and you call to mind your far away friend, her fight, and envision her torment and stress evaporating like the mist beneath the Olympic mountains, and too, imagine the fear and grief of her partner released, you lift your face to the horizon and whisper prayers of pronounced helplessness, seek a mighty mercy, set free all intentions, and in this reprieve, her body sloughs off cancerous cells, revives again, her inner dragon, which blows fire…

when a friend is fighting cancer.



  1. Wow. Reading your words takes me to the time of my Father, my Mother-in-Law, my Sister-in-Law and a lifelong friend’s battles with cancer….. shared battles that we lost. I can’t fathom one of my children going through this, but your words take me there.

  2. Viktor Frankl said that the final and sometimes only choice we have is to chose an attitude towards the suffering that life brings. Your words help make that choice while validating the pain and fear…. thanks!

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