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Loving With Cancer

Sharing our cancer stories allowed us to share much more.
I was in love with a boy in high school, but he was Jewish, and he didn’t want to get involved with me—a Catholic. He wanted to date and, of course, marry a Jewish woman. To say he was devout was an understatement. His name was Sam.

A month before the prom back in 1980, Sam took me out by the tennis courts behind the high school and said, “I can’t take you to the prom. I’m going to go to the Purim Ball at the Jewish Community Center.”

I was disappointed. I did love Sam. I loved him for his wit and his incredible musical talent. He could wail on the saxophone.

We graduated and went our separate ways. He ended up moving to New York, becoming a professional musician and marrying the Jewish woman of his dreams. They had one daughter and were incredibly happy.

I married a sensible, kind Catholic five years my junior. This year, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We too have one child—a son. We, too, are happy.

About a month ago, my husband Steve and I got invited to a party at Karl Evan’s house. I’d gone to high school with Karl. It was a small affair; everyone there had graduated with me in 1981. And everyone there but me had been in the band. I felt special because I had been in the orchestra, but was invited anyway. I played the violin.

We decided to attend. 

I never dreamed Sam would walk in, but he did, on the arm of his Jewish wife who was practically carrying him.

“Sam!” I exclaimed, reaching out to shake his hand (I didn’t want to come on too strong with a hug.)

He didn’t shake my hand, but simply said, “Hello, Laura.”

“How have you been?”

“I’ve been through an awful lot.”

Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.
As well as being a cancer blogger, Laura Yeager is a religious essayist and a mental health blogger. A graduate of The Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, she teaches writing at Kent State University and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Laura survived cancer twice.
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