I was at a loss of who I was feeling for poetry today, and Nolan giddily jumps around like a leprechaun and yelps “Robert Frost! Robert Frost! It’s totally a Robert Frost kind of day!” So. I don’t buy into Friday the 13th rumors but they applied to my search for a decent Robert Frost poem. Apparently, Frost and I do not get along in our literariness. Because nearly every poem I read made me homocidal or long to cut out someone’s tongue. But this one made the cut.
I spoke last night about how lonely things have been. I had no idea that when you actually say the words “I have ovarian cancer.” there are four types of people. Those who are originally your friends, say they’ll be there and then creep out of your life as fast as the creeping can allow. Friends who were more acquaintances that suddenly rally to your side and make you question what you were valuing in friendship previously. Then there are people you thought you were closer too who are completely out of touch and say things like “You have cancer? Wow- nobody said ANYTHING! and you awkwardly have to say, “Actually, yeah they have…” And people who suddenly want to know you because they have a weirdo love of hearing the gory details about losing 30 lbs a month, throwing everything up constantly, never sleeping, etc.
I’m mourning a bit. In a way, this is not how I thought things would go. I was not expecting support groups and holding hands and crying jags with people. Not at all. The people who have become my friends or remained friends through the ugliness of this, I am forever in your debt. There is nothing I would not do for my friends because I love them that much. For those who have crept out of my life as fast as they could without looking cruel, it would have been less cruel had you just walked. To steal my belief in you is fairly equal to death. I just had hoped to be able to keep things . . . somewhat . . . normal.
But friendships do die. As a friend I was chatting with last night mentioned, and perhaps it is true, “You seem to have a real knack for seeing the actual mortality of relationships.” She is one that has rallied to my side not only due to cancer but because so many other ties bind. And ties do bind. I have been an only child and a solo traveler of this world my whole life. So I see the threads that link myself to my children, my husband, and my family and few friends. I see the places where they fray and I want to smooth them.
Perhaps that’s why this poem alone struck me. I am not so focused on my own mortality as some might think. But the mortality of relationships. It is so sad to me that people do not see it the same as it should be.
Fire and Ice
By Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.