- a body’s relative mass, giving rise to a downward force; the heaviness of a person or thing.
- attach importance or value to.
- stay where one is until something else happens.
- I’m impatient and my pants don’t fit anymore
It’s been a crazy year. It was a year ago that my niece, Neave, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. A year of intense treatment, of surgeries, of fatigue, of inappropriate humour and of immense love. Thank you to all of you for the support you have shared. Your generosity of spirit causes emotions to run out of my eye sockets.
Neave completed her active chemotherapy and radiation treatment this past April. She started her first day of Grade 4 in May. She was an excited little hobbit to say the least! I must give credit to the children and staff of Immaculate Conception school. We hear a lot of stories about bullying and I think there was a modicum of fear that perhaps Neave might suffer some of those harsh realities at the hands of her peers. However, the student population, and specifically her class and close friends, welcomed her back with open arms as though she was a celebrity on the red carpet of her first film premiere! Thank you all for embodying the values you teach. Her self-esteem is intact because of your kindness.
Unfortunately, as most things go in the world of cancer, the unplanned happened. This past June, Neave broke her femur. Yes, the one she had reconstructed last November. This resulted in the necessity of another 8 hour surgery, which would see her original incision reopened, the removal of the metal plate that runs the length of her femur, the realignment of the various moving parts, a bone graft from her own pelvis, and all of it held in place with 2 new plates and various bits and bobs of hardware. You know, just another day at the office right?!
Her surgery was 3 weeks ago now. She is home and faring well. She will be non-weight bearing again for another 3-4 months. After that it will be a slow introduction to walking, using extreme caution, as we don’t want to go through this endeavour again. In the meantime, please send prayers and healing vibes to her little body. Go for a walk and send signals from your strong bones to hers! ‘Cuz hey, I still believe in magic!
The rest of us are struggling with the fall out of a year spent in a constant state of stress and trauma. They need a new word for this kind of fatigue. Perhaps if we weren’t so tired, we’d invent one. How about “drool on yourself” tired? Or “I forget when I last showered” tired? Or “It’s come to this, I just wore pyjama pants to Walmart” tired? We’ll get through it. But if you happen to know my sister and her husband, if you’re in their circle of support, reach out to them. They still need you.
I wrote a couple of poems recently. One in the dreaded surgical waiting room on the day of Neave’s surgery. The other on July 24th – our one year Cancer-versary. I thought I would share them, because, well, I guess because it helps.
The Weighting Room
This familiar foreign room
A matrix of vinyl chairs
A vortex of complicated lives
A collective of swollen lungs
Longing for scrubs to appear
Elbow on metal armrest
Quivering chin in hand
Legs cross, uncross, a sign of the cross
A sip too hot
A gulp too cold
A bouncing leg
A comment on the weather
Too slow, too fast, it’s all happening too slow and too fast
An approaching reflection on the linoleum floor
40 expectant eyeballs, 38 disappointed
Hello my name is Visitor
Hello my name is Surgery
Hello my name is Time
Hello my name is Fear
Hello my name is Why
Hello my name is Unimportant
What’s your story?
I’m sorry for your story
I can’t listen to your story
Stop telling me your story
Please don’t compare our stories
2nd story, 2nd floor, 2nd time
A baby carrier
Seasoned war vets
Freshman families sent to the front lines
No man’s land
An airport departures screen
“Your child’s name here”
Operation, Operating, Operative
Cabin pressure, rising
Secure your own mask first
Rough squares of see-through tissue
So much love
Inspiring, heartbreaking love
Please, dear God please
Doctors be rested
Focus be sharp
No bad days at the office
Our soul is in your hands
No life outside of this beige
Another scrub cap
Skilled, skills, social skills
Was there a “before”?
What will be our “after”?
Can’t turn back the clock
Today and for the rest of time
The Paper Anniversary
A year ago tonight
One year ago this night
A soft, cool, starlit night
A night that woos you into believing in romance
The Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt,
A Milky Way gone murky as new news is revealed.
A revelation that will change everything
Everything is different, forever different
We knew the news
We’ve known this news before
No news is not good news
This news is bad
A year ago tonight
365 days ago began this very night
A soft breeze that hardens the breath
A helpless, hapless call to action
So many moments in a ‘normal’ 365 days mean nothing;
Repetitive moments that lull us into comfortable complacency
Until a night like a year ago tonight
A night that defines you
Ends new beginnings
Begins news endings
A year ago tonight
That a year from that night,
We are here
Living out one of those repetitive moments
A moment of innocuous time
A moment that is neither here nor there
A moment, that in its everyday dullness, will eventually be forgotten
Yet, a year ago tonight
12 months and 1 hour ago this night,
A moment that will forever stand still
One undoable, ever-rippling moment
One moment that prevented clocks from ticking
Time standing still yet moving ferociously ahead
A year ago tonight
One year ago this night,
One year from this night
365 days from this very night,
What unlived, unimagined, unfathomable moments does life have in store
A year from this year ago tonight?