On Monday’s show, Terry is talking with Emily Rapp about Rapp’s new memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World, about Rapp’s son Ronan, who was diagnosed with the degenerative and always-fatal Tay-Sachs disease when he was nine months old. I listened to the interview this morning and it’s wonderful. I am also a fan of Rapp’s writing and so, for your weekend reading, here’s one of my favorite pieces by her — an essay called “Transformation and Transcendence: The Power of Female Friendship” (published on The Rumpus in January 2012). She writes about three older women she met while working overseas in her early twenties, what they taught her about friendship, and how she understood that kind of love with a renewed appreciation in the wake of Ronan’s diagnosis. I just reread the essay for the umpteenth time and can feel the spots on my cheek where the tears have dried again:
I drank with them, silently, as the rain pounded the darkened windows. What I realized, sitting there, was that these women had been in these kinds of emotionally challenging situations for over 20 years. Together. They understood, together, as friends, and apart, as individuals in the world, the urgency of compassion, and that it often goes unnoticed but that this doesn’t make it any less important or vital or difficult to sustain and cultivate. And they also understood that you could try as hard as you possibly could, and disaster could still strike – mercilessly. Without warning, without fairness, and with fatal consequences.
Image by Thomas/Flickr