My best friend died from breast cancer about 8 years ago. We had been best friends for over 40 years when she died. As always, during her illness we talked a lot and got together from time to time even though we lived about 700 miles apart. There is one conversation I still remember nearly every day....every time I take a bath.
When she was ill, one of the things that helped ease her pain was taking a hot bath. The day of the conversation that I remember had been a rough day for her. While her mom, who was helping to care for her, was gone to run some errands she got into the bathtub hoping to get a little relief from her pain. She called me from the bathtub, saying she was home alone and too weak to get our of the tub on her own and that this was the first time that had happened to her. There was, of course, nothing I could do to help her out of the tub from 700 miles away, so we talked. We talked about her illness and her fears, we talked about her kids and mine, we talked about all the things we normally talked about. Even talking for a long period was difficult for her at that stage of her illness, so we also shared moments of silence from 700 miles away.
Even after all the years I still think of our conversation, one of the last I had with her, every time I take a bath. It makes me feel a lot of things, but the greatest thing I feel about it is gratitude. I am grateful that I can still get out of the bathtub with ease, I am grateful for the friendship we had, I am grateful that we got to have one last conversation about the things we had talked about for years, I am grateful that I am the one she reached out to in what was a frightening first in the course of her illness, and I am grateful for the comfort we both felt with each other in the moments of silence.