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Some days ago, I was reading a book when a friend called me up via Skype.

My friend is a Canadian, He's a forty-five years old man with German roots from his grandparents. I know, he misses Germany because he hadn't been here for many years. He has still relatives in Germany. He told me to come in the next spring when Germany is more beautiful than in other seasons of the year.

My friend is a musician and poet. He writes and composes the own songs. Playing the guitar and singing is his life.
Sometimes he plays for me one of his songs when we speak on Skype.

Being a musician isn't his only profession. He also works for the Canadian judiciary.
Sometimes he needs an out-time from working, then he plays guitar and sings on the streets.

He speaks different languages, loves cats and dogs and animals in general, but he hasn't much trust in humans.

He is, what we call a lone wolf.

Sometimes he drinks a little too much alcohol and then he doesn't realize what he says. I can deal with his moods because I can look behind his facade of self-protect. He always pretends independence, says, he can deal with his loneliness, but I don't believe him. No one loves being alone at his age.

Let me tell you why he called me that day.

 "Hey, I sent you a postcard and a nice picture calendar that shows you Canada's beautiful nature. The nice lady at the post office told me it would take about ten days until you get it", said my friend.
"What a nice idea! A postcard!", I replied.
The majority of the people doesn't write postcards anymore. My opinion is that writing postcards and letters are more personal than the exchange of messages in social networks.
"It's not a normal picture-postcard," continued my friend.
"That postcard is a photo from me. I took it as a postcard,  wrote your address on it, and added some personal words for you."
His voice fell silent for some seconds.
Then he continued "I have to tell you something."

 I thought, he plans to come to Germany and asked, "Wanna come to Germany?".
"I would come right away if I could," he said, "but I am afraid I will not travel anymore."
"What is happened?", I curiously asked.

"I will die," he said.

"What? Are you kidding me?", I replied. "Telling me about dying isn't a joke."
"I know," he replied. "I am not kidding you. I am serious. It's the cruel truth. I went to a doctor because a pain in my back was torturing me. He made some examinations and told me I have lung cancer."

Shocked and not believing it's true, I asked worriedly, "what has he told you what to do, what kind of treatments did he offer you?".
The silence on the other site made me more and more worried.
Then my friend said, "He told me, there isn't anything to do. He gave me a life expectancy of three months more or less".

I was shocked and speechless. Then, after some seconds I asked, "what does it mean, they can't do anything? They could operate. And, why don't they irradiate or give you a chemotherapy? Maybe they even find a lung for a transplanting."
"The doctor said it is impossible," said my friend.
I asked him "why?". He didn't answer my question.
"You know?" he said "I know what it means to die of lung cancer. My dad had lung cancer, too. I still remember how he tried to breathe. I have still his coughing in my ears. He died a cruel death."

"But since that time the scientists have found new medicaments and the treatments are much more effective than still many years ago.", I tried to argue.
It seemed as if he had not heard my objection.

Instead, he continued "Music is my life. I can't sing anymore when I don't have enough air in my lungs. That's a big tragedy for me. It's my death in advance."
Then he suddenly said "As I don't have much trust in doctors, I hope they do err with the time that remains for my life. I heard from people they have lived still much longer  than doctors had told them before."

His mood switched from hope to hopelessness and back to hope again, and I had no recipe for comforting him. Every single word I would have said would have sounded like a mocking.

He doesn't have a close relationship with his family. But he cares for one of his three sisters. She lives in a clinic for mentally ill people. Showing weakness and emotions isn't his thing, but as he spoke about her, he was crying. I noticed that though he tried to hide it. He doesn't know how to tell her that he will go away sometime.

The best what I could do was listening to him, to weaken his sorrows, and to strengthen his hopes with words. I noticed he was relieved, having talked to me. I had the impression it had burdened him not to have spoken yet to anyone about this matter and soul-pain.
But for me is it a heavy burden and a deep sorrow because I know, it is impossible for me to help him.

I can't do anything else than to be here, listen to him whenever he wants to talk and whenever he needs me as a friend.

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Comment by Rose on November 14, 2017 at 17:43

Thanks, Mishaikh for your compassion and your wishes for him.

Comment by Mishaikh on November 14, 2017 at 15:53

Rose, I can understand what you are feeling, because I have myself gone through this situation of hopelessness in cancer cases.

May god bless him with peace and courage all the time.

Comment by Rose on November 13, 2017 at 18:34

I try my best, Rosemary, be sure!

Thanks for your compassion.

Comment by Rose on November 13, 2017 at 18:34

Thanks, Ella

Comment by ella on November 13, 2017 at 18:01
so sorry :(
Comment by Rosemary :) on November 13, 2017 at 17:59

I feel so sad for him :( However, why don't he take some therapy , u might be able to convince him to do so . There are many story of people who have defeated cancer even in its late stages ,

Comment by Rose on November 13, 2017 at 17:42

Thanks, Evangelina, for your comforting words.

Comment by Evangelina on November 13, 2017 at 17:33

Sometimes in such situations we often feels inadequacy and helplessness as relatives, friends, mostly because we often get focused on what to say, how to say, what to do, because we want to be there and help in the best way as we can.

But fact is, there is no right or wrong, there is no recipe.

You answered so well, what can you do, this;

“I can't do anything else than to be here, listen to him whenever he wants to talk and whenever he needs me as a friend.”

Exactly, that is the most essential part of being there for him. I feel sorry to hear about his sister and that he has to worry and at the same time try to cope with his own situation.

I know by heart and feel glad to know that he have a good friend like you, and he contacted you because he knows that too. Prayers from here for him to have a good time.

This is always sad.
Comment by Rose on November 13, 2017 at 12:00

Thanks, AG.

Nothing is worse than to be helpless in such situations. Thanks for your compassion.

Comment by AG on November 13, 2017 at 11:34

very very sorry to read this all.. 

My sympathy and best wishes for him.. I have the same feelings now as I can not do anything also.. 

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