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Cancer

Oh,
it's so hard.
By the time you read this, it will be August 31.
Lou Beres will have been gone for two years.
In March, Fred Schappert was gone for two years.

And little Hadley.
She's enterend a new phase.
No treatments, no fight,
just holding on,
and making memories.

Sometimes it's so overwhelming.
It seems to never end.
The victories are
sweet and celebrated,
but few.

And the losses,
they just keep coming.

Not only the deaths,
but all of the other things
that cancer
steals.

Watch this: and look for Hadley.
She's around 4:40.
Thank you to everyone who's gone to her site and left prayers there.
Look for the link in the sidebar.



Once upon a time,
I wrote on the CaringBridge site about cancer.
And that poem that
floats around the internet.

I think I believe it even more now
than I did then.

Cancer is a powerful adversary.
Pray.
Fight.
Donate.
Tell someone.
FIND A CURE.

April 26, 2006 (first part of post is about driving by the site of Dave's wreck...and playing the radio game.)

I think about that poem....
There are lots of versions, here is one:
Cancer is so limited.
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot destroy peace.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot suppress memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot steal eternal life.
It cannot conquer the spirit.


Limited? It has changed my entire life. Every moment, from August 23, 2005 on. No...from December 23, 1996 on. Every moment. It reaches the depth of my soul and can taint even the happiest moments.

Can't shatter hope? Tell that to anyone who has had to call hospice, to come to that point of knowing that there is no more battle to wage, that the fight is over.

Can't corrode faith? Tell that to a mother who holds her child down for the thousandth needle stick. How can I not question faith in a God who is allowing my children to grow up without their father?

Peace? Cancer has caused so much strife, so much anguish, so much heartache. Peace is a small, still island in the midst of a hurricane, an island often completely under water. I remember watching footage on the tsunami right after Dave died, thinking that even the oceans were outraged, thinking that the wall of destruction mirrored my inner feelings. And later, feeling so horrified...my one anguish so pales in comparison to the complete and utter devastation experienced by so many, feeling so ashamed for being so wrapped up in my own grief that I couldn't even muster caring about anything else. One cancer wife told me that she had similar thoughts after 9/11...the irrational feeling that maybe the world would finally "get" what it is she was feeling.

Friendship...oh, some are like gold, aren't they? But even the best of us break down, fall short and aren't able to shoulder what we need to sometimes. I don't know a person who has gone through cancer or something similar who hasn't said, "Well, you find out who your real friends are..." We've all had the experience of losing a friend. And we say, maybe they weren't really all that great a friend to begin with. Not always. Like my dad has wisely said, "Some can and some just can't."

Memories? Tell that to Cathy, who sits with Lou, her memories unshared, having to break the news to him, fresh every day, that he has a brain tumor. For me, the memories are divided...my life is divided...before and after. And memories...cancer also gives us things we wish to forget...loved ones in pain, poisons pumped in their veins, radiation damage, surgery scars, loss of their bodies, bit by bit.

Courage...I've never been so scared in my life. I've lived in the shadow of fear for 9 years. I live in terror because, after the losses I have survived, there is still more I can lose, even now. There doesn't seem to be a quota, a place where one can say, "Well, I paid my dues. Not my turn. Go hit someone else up for it this time."

Yes, it can invade the soul, it can make you doubt everything you ever believed, even eternal life, and our loving Father. My spirit is weary. I look down the road and see no relief, no rest, no renewal.

On a good day, and yes, there are good days still, I can see that most of what I just wrote about has another side, that often the sting is temporary, the pain, the despair coming in waves, waves that will once again recede and allow the sun to shine through.

(And I know some of you sent me that poem, and in many ways, I do like it and draw strength from those ideals, so please don't be offended or hurt by my thoughts here...but I have to honestly wonder if whoever wrote it ever really looked at cancer and the damage it does.)


So I turn the radio channel again, as all this is drifting through my head, and the tears are running down my face, and I hear....

Testify to Love by Avalon
All the colors of the rainbow
All of voices of the wind
Every dream that reaches out
That reaches out to find where love begins
Every word of every story
Every star in every sky
Every corner of creation lives to testify
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
With every breath I take I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
From the mountains to the valleys
From the rivers to the sea
Every hand that reaches out
Every hand that reaches out to offer peace
Every simple act of mercy
Every step to kingdom come
All the hope in every heart will speak what love has done


Faith, hope and love,
these three remain,
but the greatest of these is
LOVE.

And although Dave was each of those things, in every way, until his very last breath....he was
HOPE
FAITH
PEACE
FRIENDSHIP
MEMORIES
COURAGE
SPIRIT and SOUL, sure of ETERNAL LIFE
but
he was most of all,
LOVE

And in the end, it's what I still have. Love.
My hold on the others is tenuous at best, but love, this one I have, this one I believe, this one I hold. The one thing cancer cannot touch.

Back to 2008...
so, in honor of Dave,
do something to fight cancer.
Anything.
You can start by
going to Hadley's site.

Comments

  1. Through my tears, I am with you. On my way to let Hadley know she's not alone ...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been faithfully following your updates and getting a kick of how your kids are growing up.

    I'm not writing much because I think I'm having a pity party. I'm tired of cancer, that's for sure, but as long as the Lord sees fit to let my boy draw breath (and we are so thankful for each and every day, every moment), we have to face it. Have to.

    First and foremost the issue of survival, and if you're lucky enough to have that blessing, the aftereffects are there every day of the rest of your life.

    I'm tired and mad.

    And dear Hadley-- I know Angela, I had the privilege of meeting her in person.

    Seeing what is happening to Hadley just makes me want to punch someone.

    But who?

    Sending love.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tears, tears and more tears. I have followed Hadley for a long time and my heart breaks for her family. I have her name taped on my refrigerator so I don't forget to pray for her and check on her daily. Thanks for rememering her so all of your readers can pray for her and her family. Cancer sucks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cancer truly does suck. That is all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. OOOOO
    Patti,
    e-mail me your mailing address. I have a button for you. It says:
    CANCER SUCKS!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi,

    Happy Belated Birthday!! You are beautiful on the inside and the outside.

    I've learned soooo much from you and Dave. When you mentioned that Dave was unafraid...I wish I could be like that. Sometimes I'll type you a message and then delete it because I'm afraid that you'll think it doesn't make any sense. I'm sorry. A quick note to let you know that I'm thinking about you would be better than being silent.

    I can't say that I know how you are feeling but I do know alittle about the feeling cheated part. My husband's mom(my boyfriend at the time)was diagonosed with a brain tumor at the beginning of our Junior year of High School and she passed away at the beginning of our Senior year. I wish she didn't have to go and could have stayed here(healthy)to share the special days in his life with him and with our family but it wasn't meant to be. I wish your Dave could have stayed with all of you too. I'm sorry!!!

    Keep doing what you are doing!! You are a great person!!!

    Hugs from Iowa,
    Kathy

    ReplyDelete

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