Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Day I've Learned to Consider Carefully

Today: July 8. Twenty one years ago today, I lost my first husband to premature death. July 8, one year ago, an ultrasound revealed the growth that was later determined to be cancerous. Today, again July 8, my family flies halfway across the country to be with my father-in-law in what most likely will be his last days as he lingers in an intensive care unit in a Texas hospital. July 8 has become a day I am most familiar with, but most unwilling to participate in.

Monday, July 6, 2009

And I thought I'd have plenty to say about it

So it was cancer. But now it is all gone. They say.

I hope.

It’s been ten weeks, now, since the event. Ten weeks of opportunity for recuperation. Ten weeks of ample time for reflection—and yet, in all that time, no chance taken to simply sit down and write about it. How can that be so hard?

There is something stultifying about facing the threat of cancer. Why does it take away words? Even the least threatening of cases yields the same result. The mere threat of death is itself enough to suck words right out of the soul.

I had to make myself sit down and write. Ten weeks of saying nothing about what is at the core of my being right now is ridiculous. But don’t expect profound. These words resemble output of a grade school student forced to recount “What I Did During My Summer Vacation.”

If facing death can be one of the most critical tasks we endure, then why does it produce such a vacuum in response? When I think of life, I can think of all sorts of profound responses. When I stare at the brick wall of the end of life, I find no inspiration.

But the current, self-imposed task was to write about it. So I’m writing.

And having met my obligation, I'm moving on.

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