Well, it's the beginning of a new month, and I am so glad for it. Last month was a wretched exercise in reckoning with mortality. There was much daily mental wrestling - trying to find a way around the situation, anything other than going through it. And then, finally, acceptance of life's mandate: que será, será. And I don't mean that in a lilting, Doris Day kinda way, either.
I wanted to rail against fate, to battle hand-to-hand, toe-to-toe, and see if I could influence the outcome through sheer force of will. But it's Disease. It's Life and Death. So you don't get to deal, or bargain.
L had her mastectomy, and now faces five weeks of radiation therapy. And then years of follow up - but we. are. not. complaining. We Are Grateful. Please send prayers for healing, and for extra measure, wish us all good luck as we recover together, from what has been and for what we face in the days and months ahead.
It's tough to attend to the everyday, when Cancer is in the room, and insists on interjecting into practically any conversation, or private thought. I have found it in my first moments of each morning for the past month, sitting on the edge of my bed dressed as a Dandy, nattily coiffed, his legs crossed, foot tapping impatiently until I notice him. It's an unwelcomed, yet constant companion.
But we are resilient and practical, and stronger than it is.
I have learned that within me - and in each of us - there is a place eternal, where nothing of this world can intrude. Not illness or mayhem or even death. It has been poetically referred to by someone else as a place of invincible summer.
When I tripped over that place in my own psyche, my realization was actually, OMG - even if someone were to chop me up in little pieces, stuff me in a trunk and throw it in a river - they can never find me or harm me - not here. You know, where the real I of Me lives.
And knowing that place exisits, really finding its location, does make a difference. But down here, below the surface, immersed in the waters of life, we get battered and tossed. It's like diving in turbulent, murky seas. I try to go up to the top, as often as possible, to take a big gulp of air before submerging myself again in the tempestuous oceanic currents.
In the midst of all this, I started my writing class, despite the chaos of April, 2011. On our first day, we each stated our class goal on two cards - one for the teacher to keep, and one for each of us to keep. I wrote that I would complete three stories for children.
Instead, a different story is emerging. And so I'm writing it, following its lead, because I am finding that it, too, is sitting on my bed every morning, waiting for me to wake up, quietly demanding, and gently insistent. It follows me through my day, always there, tossing phrases and ideas as I walk down State Street, or along the tideline at the beach, or while I'm at the sink doing dishes, looking out the window.
The story is unfolding, as something solid and certain. I envision it dressed as a Ploughman, strong, and impressive. With a life of its own. It could leave, if I lose my humility or willingness, or if I allow for too many distractions.
So, while I'm paying attention to the Dandy (a whiner who remains trecherous and viciously lethal, but in a simpering, Milquetoast kind of way), and watching it like you would a rabid dog, or a crazy person who might combust at any moment - I'm encouraging the Ploughman.
We'll see where he leads.