I am sometimes amazed at the amount of interest people take in my personal life, especially because I am no big star, not a statesman or politician. Still, people seem to enjoy knowing what’s happening with me. I’ve always considered myself a private person, but some of my friends probably would disagree. I suppose it doesn’t help that I share bits and pieces of my life in my bi-weekly column Cher in the City.
Sometimes, as I share those bits and pieces, I also include details of the lives of my friends and associates. Some of them are fine with it, others hate it. Still, because this is such a personal story, I asked my friend Marilyn if she wanted me to change her name for the sake of ambiguity. Her response was what I knew it would be. She replied, “No, Cher, I trust you.” That’s just the kind of person she is. You will understand why I say that about her as you read on.
A couple of weeks ago, it was my great honor and privilege to receive an award from the CSRA Girls Scouts for community service. I was particularly honored because my career pretty much began with the Girls Scouts. I felt like I had come full circle. So when I found out about the award, I was beyond excited.
It was also the same week my dear friend Marilyn was going in the hospital for a procedure for breast cancer and the week my corporate bosses decided to come in town for an important meeting.
In spite of all that, I had a lot of work to do and I was glad to be busy. I know a lot of people who probably use work the way that I do. If I don’t want to think about an issue or worry about something that is on my mind, I fill my time working.
I could talk about how Marilyn mentors kids or takes them into her home if they need it or how she is always agreeing to do something for her church or volunteering for one cause or another.
I know Marilyn is one of those people who has been put on this earth to change it and make it better. During the whole experience, she was not concerned about herself but about how her children, family and friends would be able to deal with the news. To be honest, she handled it better than I did.
Unfortunately, there is just no getting away from your thoughts. That night, I went home late. I poured a glass of wine, sat on the sofa and immediately my thoughts went to Marilyn. I kept thinking about her surgery. She is one of the strongest women I know. Having already survived breast cancer once before, she has used her survival as a platform for educating people about the illness.
For a while I sat on the sofa wondering, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” I slid from the sofa onto my knees. Closing my eyes tightly, I whispered, “Hi, God, it’s me, Cher. I just wanted to ask you if you would please look after Marilyn today. She is very important to me and her friends and family need her.
“Lord, I know people will come in and out of my life but I’d like it if Marilyn could stick around for a long time. You already have lots of angels. If it is your will, we’d like to keep this one a bit longer.”
By the time I finished I was crying. It wasn’t a sad unhappy cry but a relieved, grateful cry.
The next day Marilyn had her surgery and got through it like a champ. I got my award and the corporate guys said they only came in town to say thank you to everyone for a job well done.
Had I gotten emotionally spent for no reason? I don’t know. After all, everything had gone fine.
What I do know is I quite appreciate the fact that whatever my emotional state – good, bad, happy or sad – whenever I can’t quite say what I feel aloud, there is always an ear that will listen, even if I’m whispering, and THAT, for sure, is a blessing.