Day 18: Coming and Going
I’m almost three weeks deep in my stay here, but I’m still amazed by how open and warm people here at the Hope Lodge are. I’ve met people from vastly different parts of the country, including born and raised New Yorkers, lifelong suburbanites in the Midwest, and even small-town Texans. And, save for a few Hermitic Henry’s and Henrietta’s, people here chat it up like they’ve been friends for life. Seriously, it’s like the end of an after school special from the 70s. I guess friendships form easily when you share an adversary, and cancer seems as good as any to bring people together.
We’re all here in a very vulnerable state, and when we’re vulnerable I think it’s natural to crave the companionship of others. It’s good for us. Seeing other people in high spirits has snapped me out of potential funks, and I know that other people feel the same. We all support each other and want to see each other do well, because I think we all see a bit of ourselves in those around us.
It’s nice here, really nice. But no one wants to be here. I know I can’t wait to go back to NJ… well, I can’t wait to see all my family and friends. NJ, not as exciting. At least to me, the connections here feel very intense, but they are short-lived. People here come and go. Friendships are formed and then the dynamic changes. For me, as I pass more time here and change from newbie to Hope Lodge veteran, it’s getting harder and harder to put myself out there. I feel the urge to close up, count down my days here and move on with life. With a Netflix account and a steady stream of banana bread coming my way, it’d be easy to hole up in my room and let the hours pass me by. But the times when I fight these urges and spend time with people, I’m always happy I did so. I think it’s good for me personally, and I feel it contributes to what makes this place feel so warm.
Fourteen treatments down, twenty-one to go!