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Neil Crone’s Journal
Neil Crone is an actor and writer and a national spokesperson for the CCAC. A Second City veteran improvisor, host and stand up comic, Neil also loves to write poems and stories for "big and little kids".
Neil has written a journal of his experience with colorectal cancer.
The Two Good-Byes
I said good-bye to two old friends this week. One farewell was forever, the other, I greatly hope, only a temporary distancing.
The latter was my neighbor and dear friend, (we’ll call him Aggamemnon), who is relocating to a different town two or three hours away. Not since I was a kid can I remember that sad, empty, feeling of a ’pal’ moving out of the neighborhood. I’m feeling it again now. For even though we all say we’ll stay in touch, write, email, phone etc, inevitably distance outweighs all good intention, the swift current of a busy life sweeps us along, and ties are loosened or simply allowed to dissolve. Doesn’t that always seem to be the way?
But for now, I am missing my friend a great deal. And not in the way where I no longer have a twice weekly lunch buddy or squash partner or fishing pal. Aggie and I never did any of those things. In point of fact, we seldom saw each other throughout the week. But my friend was a kindred spirit. That rarest of person with whom you automatically connect and feel safe baring your throat to. The kind of friend who groks your weirdest ideas immediately and picks up on the subtlest of your sarcasm’s simply because you share the same wavelength. Friends like that don’t need to see each other a lot. It’s just nice to know they’re nearby. Friends like that, as I say, are rare. Rarer still among men, who are more often than not reluctant to comfortably go beyond a slap on the back and a cold beer in the hand. And so, yes, I will miss my friend Aggamemnon. We still had a lot of precious ground to cover.
My other good-bye, the one I made to a friend I hope never to see again, was of a more complex nature. After six long weeks, I finally said so long to my chemo pump. You may think that six weeks is not a particularly long time for a relationship to develop, but this was a twenty-four a day, seven day a week affair. We went everywhere together. We were, quite literally, inseparable. At first, I must tell you, I hated him. I found him loud, intrusive and annoying. For most of those six weeks I couldn’t wait to be rid of him. I loudly and repeatedly cursed his damnable presence and several times I came within a hair’s breadth of drastic measures. But strangely, over the last few days of our tenure together, I found myself softening. The scales fell from my eyes and I realized, not quite too late I hope, that what I thought was a poisonous enemy, was perhaps the best friend I may ever have had. The brute may have been bothersome and sickening but his sole purpose, I now understand, was to save my life. And he may well have done just that.
So, here I am alone with my regrets. Regrets on the one hand for things unsaid and on the other for things said perhaps too loudly. I suppose there’s a lesson in there somewhere.
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