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One Year Ago

Saturday, February 4, 2006 0:56 AM CST

One year ago today.
I think about the roller coaster ride
we've all
been thrust onto...
the highest highs,
the lowest lows,
the fear,
the loss of control.

One year ago today,
Dave was recovering from surgery,
a successful surgery,
symptoms gone,
feeling great,
feeling hopeful.

Scheduling gamma knife for the tiny nodule
that remained.
Feeling confident.
"Shelley, we'll beat this thing again.
It can't beat love, you know,"
my warrior would say,
holding my hand,
reassuring me,
comforting me.

Two days later,
holding my breath while they placed the screws,
drilling into his skull,
Dave serene,
no pain meds,
"God will take care of me"
he'd say, with that famous grin.

Hugging the nurses,
whistling a tune,
filling out the crossword puzzle with my sister,
Peter and Mark with us,
always with us,
singing along to the music
always in his heart,
calming another patient's fears,
with a touch of his hand,
saying, "You're da man.
You can do this.
It's easy, I'll be right in the next room."
Dave's love,
surrounding us,
calming us,
warming everyone within reach.

Then wheeled into the MRI.
Eating brunch through the Hannibal Lector mask.
The doctors take too long to review the scans.
My heart,
slowly sinking.
Then Dr. Rock-n-Roll comes in.
And the bottom fell out of my world.

"It's grown in these two weeks.
Too big to treat with gamma knife.
We can treat the most problematic areas.
We can't stop this.
The radiation will cause symptoms,
so will the tumor.
It's your choice.
It's your last at-bat.
Do you want to go out swinging?"

Dave said,
"Fight pressure with pressure."
But he didn't say,
"Shelley, we'll beat this."
I waited for it.
It never came.
I knew.
He knew.

No surrender.
No giving up.
But a peaceful trust
in God, to handle
what was coming.

One year ago,
the darkest days.
Not the loss of hope,
but a different hope.
One we never wanted to accept.

Here we all are,
it's been a long year,
full of heartache,
fear and pain.
But also joy,
and most of all, love.
So we hang onto that love,
as the coaster careens around another corner,
dropping us into the next valley,
trusting that it will climb the hill again,
to the top,
where we can catch our breath for a moment,
where we can see clearly,
and where we will know,
we will feel
what matters most, still remains.


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