Monday, August 3, 2009

Cancer's wake.

Cancer’s bullet has ripped through the lives of so many, and in recent years, it just seems like more and more, both those diagnosed and those who love them, have been reluctantly drafted into the magnificent army of incredible fighters.

I can’t say why cancer seems to be everywhere; sometimes I conjure a mental flow chart, citing Sir Isaac Newton’s law of cause & effect. Something has to cause this. Something has to be on the rise to cause the rise in cancer. Our food supply? Our recent decades of over-processed, can’t-pronounce-the-ingredients food supply? Our water? Our municipal water systems, rivers, ponds and oceans that feature run-off from chemically treated lawns, landfill who-knows-what and asphalt molecules that leach into our soil? Our air? Our air that is puffed full of petroleum fumes, invisible car exhaust, noxious manufacturing and aerosol sprays? Our goods? Our newly produced, pressed-particles furniture that emits gas from glue chemicals and fake wood veneer? Our carpets made from petroleum? Our beloved plastics that give off God-knows-what in the microwave? You know that coveted “new car” smell? What if that odor is actually terrible for our lungs?

Not trying to incite panic here. After all, this is the world we all live in; what can we do? What’s more puzzling is how we’re all living in this same world. Some get the cancer. Some don’t. Why? And let’s just say for the case of argument, that it’s genetic resistance that helps some of us ward off cancer while others cannot. Is it just me or does is seems that a disproportionate amount of good, nice, special, wonderful, loved people get the cancer-prone genetics? It’s not the lot of greedy bankers who sent the global economy into a tailspin; it’s a little girl, the daughter of a pastor, in Arizona.

And the aftermath.

If you are granted a miracle (and that’s a whole other can of blog worms), there is the voice that you consciously ignore every day that asks, “What if it comes back?”. Survivor’s guilt mortars itself between all the live-in-the-now, make-it-count moments of which you are so preciously aware. Those who love you, give thanks for your every breath though it may look like he or she is just eating a sandwich/folding laundry/laughing. You have another moment here. You have time. You have everything, and now you know it.

If the cancer gets its way, the pain is suffocating for those left behind. I can write for the record, for sure, for real, that this kind of sadness, this kind of grief is more gripping, more encompassing than any physical, nerve-ending pain I've ever known. You can’t see. You can’t sleep. You can’t even walk like you once did. The pain is from inside your trunk, inside every cell and radiates through your skin. You feel this pain every time you blink, and you’re completely sure that everyone else must see it on you, in you, especially when you’re in line at the grocery store. The rub is: after awhile, they don’t. They—and even you—think some of this pain should subside soon. Time heals all wounds, right? Not so fast.

For those who suffer a cancer loss or any love loss really, our hearts immediately feel hollow. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to write that our hearts are now hallowed. It’s the kind of pain that makes you feel very alone, very small. You make yourself sick asking, "Why?" over and over and over agin. It’s the missing, the longing that so damned hard. You just miss them. Oft defined in textbooks as facet of our emotions, sadness is trivialized in a million modern ways. This is not the kind of sadness that can be distracted by prescriptions or well-intentioned vacations. This is the sadness that is made of love. Because of that, because this pain transforms your heart in unpredictable ways, I’m guessing the only way to be able to breathe again is for your heart to reciprocate by transforming the pain. Turn it back into love.

Sometimes I cry to let it out. Sometimes I’ve let God really have it. More times I just talk to the one I’m missing as if he or she were next to me. More times I imagine ways to help, ways to love, ways to cure. More times I think of what I’ll say to those in heaven about how I’ve spent my time here, how much I’ve thought of them, how I lived for them. More times I remind myself that this is not the end.


Chaney said...

So powerful Megan. You're right. So many times, even when we have been in the midst of such pain, we seem to think that time should ease broken hearts. Yet, it does no such thing.

If we allow ourselves to sit and relive a moment with a lost loved one, or just to think about them with our whole being, the pain just floods in and you're right back to where you first started to hurt, to cry.

The only solice I have ever felt is knowing that some day I'll see my mom again in heaven. I cling to the happy memories, the ones before the cancer. Some days are aweful with pain, some are tolerable, some are bittersweet.

I understand how you feel and only wish I could do more to ease your pain. All I can offer is my love, my dedication to this cause, and my never-ending prayers.

God bless you for making sure we all remember Kyrie and help to fight what takes so many loved ones away each day.

Lissasings said...

Good stuff, Meg. Thank you for bearing your soul to the world in order to inspire, encourage, console, heal and love...

You're amazing.