This morning I received a text from my cousin. She is watching over her baby sister who is fighting in the trenches, waging one war after another. Lung cancer. Things aren’t looking very good for her and to help me grasp the enormity of this, I did what I always do. I closed myself up in the bathroom (this time with my cat who was determined to comfort me) looked in the mirror and cried. Not big horse tears, just a light sprinkle. Just enough tears to put me in touch with the helplessness and sadness that I felt. My cousin lives so far away. I can’t do all the things I’d like to do for her: cook her favorite meals, rub her feet, make her laugh, let her cry. So here’s what I’ve decided since I can’t stand feeling helpless–I’m going to write her an old-fashioned, pen and ink, notebook paper and envelope letter. I’ll sit down for a few minutes a week, think of the softest, sweetest and truest words I can say to her and just say them, word by word, line by line, like I used to each time we were together. Then I’m going to lick the envelope, seal it and mail it. Once a week. And I’m not going to worry about whether or not she writes me back because that’s not what it’s about. She is one of the kindest human beings on the planet and the least I can do is let her know and thank her for it. Again and again. Will this help her heal? Who knows. Will it help me heal, heck yeah. Putting pen to paper, feeling the ink cry its way across the paper, feeling the heat in my hand as I write is my zen. And that’s what I need, a place to say I love you, you mean mountains and oceans to me, and know that she hears me. As she throws up, she hears me. Tries to eat to keep up her strength, she’ll hear me. Dear Cousin, I know this must be hard for you. It’s hard for me too because I care about you and I always have. I always will. Please don’t worry about writing me back. I just wanted to reach out to you because you are one of the most special people I know. How are you doing? And on and on and on til my helplessness is gone and the cat gets out of my lap because she knows I am better. Wish it were that easy for my cousin to feel better but at least I’ll do my part.