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Such is the Power – A Lament

Huntington Library Japanese Rock Garden 0066
Creative Commons License photo credit: DominusVobiscum
If you have had to work your way through pain and back when the worst has happened, and you have strength to share – please share!

Warning – Like Walking Beside, this too will be a tough read.

When I was trying to figure out how to express my feelings about my husband’s failed-fight to regain good health, I found “A Grain of Sand”, which was written awhile ago for a writing class.  After reading it, I suddenly knew how I could begin to tell you about his struggle and my grief.  Both are true stories in the saga of his brave journey.

I apologize for the dramatic literary style of this post, it was a way to ease my pain and help me cope.  I’m sorry to be burdening you and I also hope you’ll find some bit of strength in knowing that we would walk that path again if that’s what life asked of us.  He died in peace, at home, me by his side and his family close – and that was an answer to our most fervent prayers once we knew what was coming.

I do believe there is light at the end of this tunnel.
In fact I KNOW so.
I am surrounded by caring, loving, family, friends.
We will rebound but we’re a bit low on bounce right now.
Give us time.

A Grain of Sand

Such a little teeny, tiny, thing really, a piece of gravel.  What mischief, great and wondrous or small and devious, can a piece of gravel inflict?

Astonishingly powerful, a piece of gravel catches and grinds, shredding clothes, skinning knees, punching holes where they ought not to be.  On a steep path, just one small, loose grain of gravel can send a grown man to his knees in immediate agony and panic followed by years of, if not suffering then, at the very least, unpleasantness and crumble.

Like an avalanche, the gravel tumbles him down the hill, injuring knee and muscle and launching a chain of accommodation to injury.  Aches and pains, incapacity and frozen mobility inevitably dawn a day when he no longer walks without a halting limp that sucks the strength and might of his muscles and plummets his will into a black hole where none should be.

Such is the power of a little piece of gravel.

A Cluster of Cancer

Such a little, itty, bitty spot really, that cancer cluster.  What mischief, cloaked and pernicious, obscure and devious, this miniscule cluster inflicts!

Persistently aggressive, the cancer cells invade and ravish, multiplying where they ought not be, killing what should be.  Devastatingly virulent.

In an esophagus already ravaged by reflux, just a few fast cells can send a grown man to the ER, breathing with difficulty, secretly leaking blood from damaged tissues.  “Bleeding ulcer” metamorphosed into cancer diagnosis as days march through batteries of tests chased by plagues of chemo drugs nicknamed “BIG RED”, “10-seconds-to-death”, and “X”.  Months fragmented by surgery, more chemo, unexpected hospital stays. All always, somehow, riddled with hope for vanquishing the cancer.

And then, miracle of miracles, all tests proclaim: NED – “No Evidence of Disease”.  Hope flares and dreams dare.  But, just as energy and vitality return, they suddenly diminish.  Lethargy he called it.  Metastasis they called it.  And the cycle of tests and chemo and hospital begin again.

Like a tsunami, the cancer cascades through time, damaging wellness, stealing new found vitality, wasting muscle and energy, launching a chain of determination, courage and, still, beyond all rational reason, hope.

Until, inevitably the tide turns, the cancer overwhelms and pain descends.  Hospice serves.  He dies, peacefully and in seemingly painless (hopefully, yes, still hoping) sleep.  Too soon and yet not soon enough.  Gone brave heart to a better place. My love has left, gone is he.  I/we miss him terribly. Tears and tears and tears terribly.

Such is the power of a little cancer cluster.

Writing this helped me take some steps forward.  Thank you for sticking with me.

If you have had to work your way through pain and back when the worst has happened, and you have strength to share – please share!

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