We’re coming up on three years that Michael’s cancer has been in remission, if you count from when he had his surgery – which, for the type of cancer he had, they do. The farther away in time we get from it, the less often it darkens my thoughts. I don’t want to live ruled by fear; on the other hand, I’m also afraid of being lulled into a foolish belief that it’s all behind us, that we paid our dues, only to have the rug yanked out from under us again. So what’s the balance to strike? I’m still not sure. You just live, I guess, with a respect for the fact that life is unpredictable.
Cancer seems to be everywhere. Just since Michael was diagnosed almost three and a half years ago, four people he or I have known have died from cancer. The most recent was a former co-worker/friend of his who was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer after he was diagnosed; she passed away last night. She leaves behind a husband, children and grandchildren (several of whom she was raising), and a lot of friends.
I didn’t even know her – met her a handful of times, that’s it – but the news this morning kind of threw me. I keep thinking of the kids left behind who needed her, of the husband who surely must be feeling lost, and of all the grieving friends. And I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind that that could be us. It makes me feel incredibly fortunate and very sad and angry at the unfairness of it all, at the same time.
There’s no sense to it. No justice. Cancer steamrolls its way through families, willy-nilly, sparing some, destroying and taking others. I can see how faith would bring a sense of comfort for some – to believe that, whether we understand it or not, there is a rhyme and reason to it all. But I remain unconvinced, so in my view, it’s senseless and completely unfair.
But it’s true: none of us gets out of here alive.