My brother, Travis
Sunday afternoon is the busiest time on the lake. Sea-dos and wave-runners skate across like large bumble bees.  Pontoon boats, speed boats, fishing boats, skiers, ski-tubes, odd shaped floating things being pulled behind boats of all shapes and kinds dart back and forth or circle round and round in front the point.  It's very busy.  I watched it today from my chair on the deck, under the tree. I watched them, and smelled the smell of water on the air and passed the time counting clouds and pretended to read.  Everything else spun and buzzed and droned and flapped around me, but I just felt quiet and still.

I remember feeling the same way sixteen years ago when I found out I had cancer. Everyone, all of life, just kept moving and going and rolling along. People laughed and celebrated and hurried here and there.  No one stopped and yet I was stuck, completely frozen in the horror of my present.  I wanted to scream, "Can't you just stop for a minute! Don't you know I have cancer?" And internally I did scream, but no one heard.  Because that is the nature of life and time. It must march on whether or not we have been suddenly hollowed out.

I didn't ever think that anything would affect me like that again.  I certainly never expected cancer to ever be so personal again.  Strangely enough, it's even more personal when it isn't you, but someone you love, deeply.  When you know what it feels like for everything inside to freeze all at once from a few words, when you know the vice grip of pain and fear around your heart, the way the lungs deflate and become heavier and more dense with each subsequent breath, when the very weight of grief behind your eyes makes crying endless and sleep elusive, you would do anything, anything on this earth to kill the possibility of that moment ever happening to anyone you know, not even your worst enemy.

But I don't have that power, and apparently somehow my DNA is writ in such a way that those who share it must somehow also share my nightmare and my grief.  I hate the weight of this cross, of pain and fear and sickness and even death.  I've come to rest easy with God on many things, but time and again I have begged, "No more" - after my father, my best friend, my grandmother and still there is no end.    So we wait, my mother, my brothers and I.  Frozen again.  Waiting for answers and options and treatment schedules and test results while all the world buzzes on and around. We wait and we pray without words and believe that there is more than one of us who can fight this beast and win.  I'd trade my own fight for any one of theirs.
Instead I will lean into the words I told my brother yesterday. "These are the worst days. There will be other very hard and very crappy days, but these first days of knowing are the hardest. It will get easier from here."

I will believe I told the truth.


Windy McKenzie said...

I love you.

Leann Richardson said...


contessa20 said...

I love you, Dana!
Praying complete healing and for comfort for your family.

Gracie's Heart said...

Your brother has been heavy on my heart, been praying hard for him, you and your precious Momma. Cancer doesnt just effect those who have it,it effects all those who love them. I know these words deeply that you write, could have written them myself. The whole "cant the world just stop for a moment and see that I have cancer" scream, done in silence...well, sometimes not so much for me. *winks* I am sooo deeply sorry this is happening, but I stand with you praying for complete healing. I am ready to throw the cancer book out on its ear!

Loving you.
Cynthia (((hugs)))