Monday, October 22, 2012

Letting Go...

We all have a voice in our head that pushes us on when we most need it. It's the voice heard by the marathon runner, the exhausted new mom or the cancer patient trying to get through her 20th round of chemo. I don't claim to know what that voice is. Some say it is God or angels or the spirit within each of us. It is whatever you think it is, I guess. But it's there and it's real. I know because I hear it all the time; right before the nurses insert the needle into my port, when my body crumbles from the effects of chemo, when I look in the mirror and don't recognize the person looking back at me. "Keep fighting", it tells me, "don't give up." But what happens when that voice tells you to stop fighting...when is starts saying to let go?

Last December, as I was recovering from surgery, someone very close to me was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There are no 'good cancers' but pancreatic cancer is a bad one, a terrible one. I have watched her struggle with its effects and it has been heartbreaking. The words 'battle and fight and war' with regard to cancer are so trite but I can't think of anything more appropriate. Your body is literally at war with itself and you have to gather all of your strength to keep the good side fully armed. But after awhile the fighting starts to wear you down. I know the depths one can sink to during treatment and how hard it is to climb out of the abyss. I think she is tired and ready to put down her arms. Our conversations are different now. She doesn't say things like, "Next year at your birthday party..." Now she talks of funeral plans and getting her finances in order for her children. I don't want to hear this; life without her is unimaginable to me. But there is that voice again in my head, this time though it is telling me to not is telling me to accept what is happening with her and let go. But I can't.

Watching someone you love suffer is a pain I wish on no one. I feel helpless and angry and am sometimes overwhelmed with crippling sadness. I become enraged at this fucking disease. My mother had cancer. My father had cancer. My grandmothers died from it, as did my uncle. I have it and so does she. It's enough and I'm worn down from it. But I can't give up; not on myself and not on her. I can learn to accept what is happening but I won't let go. I won't let go of our bond, our connection, our love for one another. I won't let go of our memories, her laugh, her smile. When the day comes that I have to physically let her go, I can accept that. But her spirit? That will stay with me  forever...


  1. Reading these posts has a Grinch-Like effect on me & makes my heart grow 3x its size. Love ya Lennie & of course FUCK CANCER!!!

  2. So basically now it's the size of a normal heart? :-) love ya cuz

    1. Nope, it still has the curse! Love ya too!

  3. I know exactly how you feel! My sister died from breast cancer three weeks before my wedding. She was not only my sister but my best friend not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and miss her. I remember how I would look at her children then 8 and 11 years old and my heart would break knowing that all they would remember about their mother was her being sick. They were too young to remember how funny she was or how loving and understanding she was. I will always remember the day she called me from the hospital telling me that the cancer had spread and she didn't have much time left. I remember screaming into the phone that they were wrong and that she would get better, but she was trying to get me to let go and accept that she was dying. It will be 31 years on November 17th since she has passed away and I still miss her maybe even more now especially when I see her grandchildren knowing she never got to see them and they will never know how great their grandmother was. I have to believe that we will see each other again in heaven a bond like that can never be broken even in death. So stay strong Kathleen try to accept what is happening let her talk about it she needs to. I know it is hard but by you helping her come to terms with dying, you may come to terms with letting her go. If you need to talk please call me. Love you, Aunt Angela

  4. Thank you. But I have to tell you, I believe your sister has seen her grandchildren. I think only our bodies expire; our soul goes on forever. I know this because of various experiences I have had; especially this last year. Keep her in your heart always and know she is with you. I love you and will say a special prayer on November 17th. Xoxo Leenie