An Evening with My Friend Pam

My friend Pamela Johnston has terminal cancer. Since her diagnosis, I’ve been making regular visits. Pam’s superpower is to bring joy and positivity to every situation. My superpower is to invite whatever’s going on, no matter how dark, to the surface. We’re a good team.

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On Tuesday, I guided Pam on little journey to explore her emotions. At first, it was slow going. “I feel,” said Pam, after a long while of feeling little, “like I’m falling.” 

“Maybe you should fall into it,” I suggested. 

Pam descended. There were emotions waiting for her there, but they didn’t reveal themselves. She came back up and wondered what was going on. I asked Pam to lay on the couch and put on her eye shade. I could sense the presence of a question. 

“What are you afraid of?” I asked. 

“Am I afraid of getting stuck in purgatory?” Pam asked back, wondering if she had the right answer. But it wasn’t something she needed to figure out; it was a question her body would answer in due time.

We waited. There were tingles. “This is good,” she said, bravely. “I’m uncomfortable.” The tingling turned to nausea. The nausea turned into something like grief. 

Tears streamed down Pam’s cheeks. She hadn’t cried in a while, or hadn’t cried well. My friend Mark Abramson, quietly taking pictures, including this one, started crying too. Tears welled up in my eyes but didn’t fall. 

“Okay, I know how to do this,” Pam said, eyes clear at the end of the trip. “When I feel safe, I let myself fall and see what happens.” 

“That sounds perfect.”

We high-fived. 

Thank you, Pam, for letting me share this, for putting yourself out there honestly and vulnerably. You rock.