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All Palms Are Not Trees

When my dear friend, Linda, was diagnosed with cancer, she didn't me until close to the end.

I recall a few times when she had symptoms she would ask me about. What would I suggest about a black spot in her vision, she asked. I thought she meant she had a floater.

What were the bumps in her neck? I thought she had swollen glands because of a throat infection. Why was she coughing all the time? Asthma, I suggested.

Apparently it was all part of her cancer. I figured that out later. There were other things, too. If I had only known!

She expressed her distress that I had moved five hundred miles away, and I missed her sorely. It would have been so much better had I stayed. Seeing her in person, I would have known sooner. She wouldn't have been able to hide it from me. It would have been obvious.

As it was, I had traveled down to visit her. We sat around the table after dinner when she asked me to read her palm. I hadn't done that for years, and begged off.

But, her husband jumped in and insisted. In fact, he demanded I read his palm first. I was quite surprised at Bob's insistence and I felt a little uncomfortable. I thought those "talents" had gone to rest.

Just for fun, I had taken up palm reading as a teen when I found a book on the subject that had belonged to my grandmother, "How to Tell Fortunes".

It had other methods besides palm reading in it. But, that was what resonated with me. I did it for fun until the readings started to be more seriously accurate.

"Oh, your palm reveals you have eight marriages!" I laughed, but the man across from me stared with mouth open. "How did you know that? No one knows about that!" But, when I accurately predicted the demise of someone, I refused to do any more fortune telling. Certain signs suggest the worst, and I didn't want to see such things.

By the time Linda and Bob were pressing me to read their palms, I had no qualms to keep me from playing along with them.

I must admit, however, that I stuck to the original protocol of observations I had learned, shapes of fingers and hand, how the mounds are formed and the measurement of lines as indicators for translation.

Bob stuck his hand in front of me. I asked to see both, as that was how I learned. One hand for your destiny and the other to see if you live your fate, or change it. I knew Bob had already been married before so I wasn't surprised to see two marriage lines, but I was curious to see the third marriage indicated.

I remembered that Linda only had one marriage line. So, I casually said, "After Linda dies, you will marry again." And to make a joke, I added, "Sorry about that Linda!"

But no one laughed. In fact Bob got an odd look on his face, and frowned at Linda. "What did you tell her?"

Her face was pale and eyes wide open, "Look at mine, tell me what mine says. Maybe it changed!" By this time I was really uncomfortable and tried to beg off from further prognostications.

Then little Andrea, their daughter, who had been eavesdropping on us all along came to me with hand extended. I took hold and kissed her palm. "It says everybody loves you and you will be rich and pretty when you grow up." But, she wasn't buying it. I hadn't actually perused her palm and she stuck it in my face. Then it was my turn to have wide eyes and be pale. There it was as clear as day.

She would face a very tragic episode in her life within a very short time. Of course, I told her no such thing.

But, once Linda sent her out to play, she and Bob plied me for what I saw. Why I didn't just make something up, I will never know.

When I learned from Grandma's book, it seemed the ethics of a respectable palm reader were ingrained in my mind as much as the meanings of the symbols. Integrity was my excuse. I could only hem and haw, with maybes and perhaps's and I'm not sure, but's.

It was pretty clear to me. But, Bob's next marriage and the tragedy in Andrea's future was to be the loss of my very dear friend.

It's odd how I totally blocked that memory until I read about it in my diary a few years after Linda died.

Linda Duran Watkins 
Nov 1949 - Nov 1982


  1. I so very much enjoyed this blog Elizabeth! I am now signed up to get all of your writings, which I find very insightful, and so admire all that you do :-). I can't imagine how you felt while going through this time in your life with your dear friend. I am sorry for your loss and can so relate to what you were saying.

    I am anoymous but it I am Clayton's Momma that is signed up on your Chondrosarcoma website :-).
    Hope this finds you doing well.
    Cheers, Debbie

  2. Thanks, Debbie. It was traumatic when Linda died. And I was so angry that she didn't tell her best friend what was going on! Very mixed emotions. She came to visit me in a dream the night she passed away, though. Perhaps just my own mind comforting myself. Or, who knows? Perhaps something more profound?

  3. This story reminds me of my dad...nearly eight years ago he was admitted to the hospital with numbness from his feet to his chest. I was told that he was going to be moved to another wing/floor in the hospital, but my mom wouldn't tell me why or what they had found out. He had cancer, I can't remember what exactly it was but it was one that was mostly seen in kids. Her reason for not telling me right away was because dad asked her not to tell me...he didn't want to ruin my 30th birthday. Finding this out floored me...with everything he was going through he was more concerned about ruining my birthday. Love my dad!

    Just read your comment about your friend coming to you in your dream, I wouldn't doubt it...I had my dad call me in my dream and heard I know it was his voice...scared the crap out of me though...He told me he would see me in a month. Thought about it for a while and a month from the day that I had the dream would be my birthday...October 27. I have also had my husbands brother visit me. I didn't believe he committed suicide and he told me he did...I think your friend visited you.

  4. Beautifully sad story of both friendship and what distance can do to it as well as how people (including me) have missed cues sometimes.

    We all get a heads up about things in our lives that we miss...somehow. But didn't she try to tell you in the way she talked that night with the palm readings? Probably the only way she could at that moment.

  5. Oh, yes, Ciss. If only I had looked deeper into the hidden messages I was given. The symptoms she wanted my opinion on, hoping I would put two and two together. And her husband's reaction. "Did you tell her?" he said. It all flew over my head. And, of course, obviously they had a pact not to tell anyone. For what reason? I will never know. Perhaps in their culture it was considered private. My grieving for her was so mixed with anger, my emotions were torn for a long time. And her husband was no longer in my life to gain some closure.

  6. Pumpkin, I always know to expect a good story from you that enhances my own experience.
    Thank you!

  7. Your welcome Elizabeth!


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