My friend Austin was in town this weekend from San Francisco. We went to high school together and he was here for his grandmother’s birthday.

Austin recently did battle with Cancer. Kicked its butt, if I can find something to knock on. I kept up with his struggle on his blog, and I was so proud of the way he owned the illness, as opposed to the illness owning him.

This was the first time I had seen him since chemo and he looked great. Except for the ridiculous beard, I mean. And as soon as I got into the car, he was thanking me again for everything I did while I was sick.

“Dude,” I said. “I sent you a few cards. It was the very,very least I could do.”

I remember I sent him things to make him laugh. I remember that I cheered for him when he shaved his head. I think I sent him some popcorn once. I don’t remember because I struggled with what he might want to eat while feeling all sick from chemo. Mrs. Field’s cookies? Malnati’s Pizza? Hell, I don’t know.

I am not the Hold Your Hand and Cry on My Shoulder Friend. Which is ok because it is hard to be that friend from across the country. I am the Here Are All of the Reasons Why We Are Not Going to Panic Friend. It is also hard to be that friend from across the country. So I settled for genuinely keeping up with him and sending him a card once in a while. Who knew that was going to be important?

As Austin was telling me the whole story today, he had a theme. “I’m not dead yet,” was what he said over and over again. What he needed from his friends was reinforcement of that idea.

Moral of the story: However little we can do is still worth doing.

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