Right now a friend is helping rake the last of our leaves off the front yard. I feel bad and want to rush out there to help because the sun is setting (so early!), but my left arm is still wonky anyway, so I don’t think I could be much help.
My friend Jo and her little babe Opal just left after dropping off some Trader Joes provisions and chatting a little with me. As they were leaving, another friend came up the walk with post-Thanksgiving dinner. Lunch today was from one of our friends who used to work with Jeremy at AMG.
Fitting and reassuring that this weekend closes with a literal train of love to our driveway and door.
This weekend continues to be about thankfulness. Thanksgiving with my family was very good, heartening, cozy, but by the end of the night, I was exhausted. I’d only really even been out to run an errand or two in the two days prior.
I was tired, but thankful we were all together around a table, there with each other. I was sore, but thankful I didn’t hurt more than I did, and thankful the soreness was for a larger positive purpose of eventually getting back to health.
I am incredibly thankful that I found what I initially through was a swollen lymph node under my arm just 11 weeks ago.
I am thankful that experts tested it and did a biopsy 7 weeks ago, especially since we now know that the type of cancer it is would have a far scarier prognosis had I found it much later. Time is strange right now.
I am thankful there is some sort of treatment, especially, and that that will continue through the next 20ish weeks.
But I have also had moments, hours, days, of feeling sad, and flashes of thinking that this whole set of circumstances is just plain cruel. 75% of the time, I can even laugh at the dark humor, but sometimes I just can’t.
I know in my head and have seen all around me again and again throughout my time that life is simply not fair, is sometimes very, very cruel. I have seen it be far crueler to folks far younger and more vulnerable than I. Illness cuts across privilege, class and background, to the very root of some of what makes us human.
And so I am thankful that overall, life has not been that cruel to me, for a great percentage of my experience. That is a sort of grace, a sort of breathing room — even when and if it didn’t always feel like that, even when life still felt like a scramble.
Because as much as we like to think we can avoid it, we will all inevitably experience some sort of physical vulnerability. I can even convince myself that I am thankful for the chance to practice that — that vulnerability — as an essential part of getting better at being human.
But damn, is that difficult for me. Accepting help and letting people in is really, really hard. Even writing out what is in my head is hard (though helpful) because I’m so used to being solo in there.
So I trust that practice will make it easier, and I try to just relish how astonishing and amazing it is that people are so willing to share kindness, to lend a hand, and to help — right now and hopefully in what the Dr called “the marathon” of the months of chemo ahead.
Thank you. Each one of you reading this has likely already helped in some way. Some of the care packages I’ve gotten have literally made me tear up at their sheer thoughtfulness. Other folks are planning and scheming, and whether it’s signing up to lend a hand, bring a meal, or the folks who helped contribute for us to get by during the times I can’t work, I am so humbled and almost unexplainably grateful.
Thank you to each of you for your part… keep it comin’. We may call on you in the future — be prepared! ;D (It’s also OK to say no).
I don’t know how I will be able to extend this train of love to you in a time ahead, but I can promise I will try to do my very best…
^despite the lyrics, don’t worry, not planning on roamin’ away…