It’s been way, way too long since I’ve spent any time on this little blog. It’s been a rather busy time around here, with the start of school. Two new schools and a long drive to and fro (the schools to which my kids are zoned correspond with our new house’s location and not the location of the temporary house we’re crashed in while the building proceeds at a snail’s pace) makes for a rather truncated day. Couple that with the fact that high school and middle school start and end on rather opposite schedules (he starts early, she starts late), and I’m in the car a lot. A whole lot.
To those sweet souls who have inquired about whether I’m done blogging, here’s the answer. I’d speculate that I’ll be done blogging as soon as I’m “done” with cancer. Which will be never.
While it’s true I don’t have the “everyday” cancer to deal with anymore, it’s still around. Always around. I’ve moved past the “everyday” cancer — surgery, recovery, wound care, infection fallout, constant doctors’ appointments, sorting through mountains of medical bills, battling insurance, researching treatment pros & cons, yadda yadda — but it’s still around.
Case in point: minding my own business at a red light yesterday making yet another run to or from one of my kids’ schools and I glanced at the car next to me. On the back windshield is a HUGE pink ribbon sticker. I mean HUGE. It took up enough space to make me wonder how the driver sees out that window. And bam! cancer is in my face. I wasn’t thinking about anything cancer-related, yet there it is, always ready to insert itself into daily life. While I recognize the intent behind those who put pink ribbon stickers and magnetic decals on their cars, I don’t know that I will ever get used to the insidious power the dreaded disease has to permeate every aspect of life, even years down the road.
Another example: I overheard a conversation between two ladies at the gym about a mutual friend of theirs undergoing her third lumpectomy. Third. On the same breast. Again, I was minding my own business, sweating like a pro wrestler and sucking wind while I finished up my cardio. As I plucked my earbuds out of my ears, what do I hear over the sound of my own heavy breathing as my heart is pumping and my lungs are expanding and my muscles are burning and my brow is dripping? Cancer. More cancer.
I resisted the urge to insert myself into the conversation and tell those ladies to advise their friend to skip that THIRD lumpectomy on the SAME BREAST and instead strap on her battle gear because this beast is determined to take up residence in her. Cancer is very rude that way. Uninvited, unwanted. Always around.
A friend of mine has suffered an unspeakable loss. I’ve been reeling since I heard the terrible news last night. An unexpected tragedy suffered by someone I like and respect has rudely interrupted my vacation, shattering the peace and tranquility of time spent at the shore.
My heart is heavy as my friend joins a club for which no one wants a membership. I’m instantly transported, despite my best efforts against it, to the time of my mom’s death, and all the sadness and grief that entails. Nearly 8 years later, I’m instantly transported back to the worst time of my life, via a friend’s shared loss of her beloved family member. While I can’t fathom her exact experience, I know enough to know that her heart will never again be whole, her life will never be the same.
I draw much comfort from quotes. The words of those more eloquent than myself soothe and calm me during tragedy. A couple come to mind as I walk silently behind my friend in her grief. A few steps removed, trailing her with flowers and cards and support and whispered words for the inevitable falter in her step as she attempts to move forward toward a life wildly shaken.
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” — Queen Elizabeth II
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” — Khalil Gibran
While we can never understand why such tragedies strike, I do know one thing: I agree with Queen Elizabeth and Khalil Gibran on both counts. However, I wish more than anything that my sweet friend did not have to pay the price or become a strong soul in such a terrible way.