Something else I'm grateful for: the guys who step up to the plate.
In my family, that would be The Quiet Husband and 27-year-old Gregarious Son. My husband doesn't say much, but he takes care of almost everything, without fanfare or expectation. My son does say much, but he's become a pretty good listener where breast cancer is concerned, and has been a big help to me in sorting out options.
Online, I think immediately of Mike Farely and Stratoz. I'm not sure that this is the most comfortable sequence of posts for them to read, so I want them to know how welcome their comments are. In my household, we have a whole new vocabulary and comfort level in speaking of body parts (or lack thereof), but I realize that those things aren't universal.
Among friends, there's that group of Jesuits who've been attending to my spiritual life in various ways over the years. When I first got started in spiritual direction, some of my friends asked: Why a man? A Catholic priest? What can I say? These guys are just spectacular human beings. I will admit that during the first year, when I was making the Spiritual Exercises, there were a few things I left out that I might have shared with a woman director ~ I wasn't sure about elaborating on certain details with a 75-year-old priest. But I have long since abandoned any such apprehensiveness. I just consider them spiritual fathers and brothers and converse with them accordingly.
And then there are the surprises. Last week I called the woman who runs the local Suicide Prevention support group and got her husband instead. Turns out that he is the first cousin of a prominent columnist in town who has written extensively about breast cancer, as both she and her daughter and other women in their family carry the BRCA1 gene. For him personally, that means that breast cancer is a possibility and that prostate cancer is almost a given ~ and, of course, that he has all those aunts and cousins who have had either breast cancer or prophylactic mastectomies.
It's kind of interesting (to me) to read this and to see how life events and friends overlap and intersect. And, wow! - The guys, from 81-year-old Jesuit to 27-year-old law student and all of those in between, are great.