Several years ago on Colon Talk, the discussion forum at the Colon Club, I met another stage IV survivor who used the screen name Azahar. Shawn, a Canadian expat, lived in Sevilla, Spain, and we spent a lot of time discussing our cancers and our treatments.
One of Shawn’s businesses is Sevilla Tapas, where she provides personalized guided tapas tours to visitors to Seville. I wanted to visit Seville in the worst way – but since I couldn’t get it into my treatment schedule, I eagerly followed the photos she tweeted and Facebooked – scenes of Seville and surrounding towns, and some of the most beautiful small plates. On chemo days, when nothing would tempt me to eat, Shawn’s daily tapas shots teased me with appetizing beauty. She even helped me with my own food shots – which were scarily amateur by comparison.
At the beginning of the month, I guest-blogged “No more room in the bucket” for the folks at Fight Colorectal Cancer. And in that guest blog, Shawn told me that she’d completed a virtual Seville and tapas tour with me.
I was speechless when I first saw the video. In fact, it took me several days to watch the whole 20 minute video, because I kept crying and having to shut it down. I couldn’t believe that Shawn put the tour together, that so many others were also involved, that waiters were saying hello to me in Spanish and that chefs were preparing dishes for a woman they’d never met who was enjoying their kindness from 2400 miles away (or however far away Seville is from Syracuse.)
We meet a lot of people on our cancer journey…sometimes IRL (in real life) and sometimes only in the virtual world. IRL is always better – but virtual meetings and virtual friendships can also be very strong.
So gracias, mi amiga – I can never repay you for the feelings I’ve enjoyed while knowing you. And now, I can watch “Pat in Sevilla” from start to finish – and imagine what it would have been like to meet you, and REALLY tour your beautiful city. Gracias – seems so inadequate, and yet it’s the warmest word for what I feel for you.