Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The War

I hate the cliches of cancer. Words like "battle" and "war" and "soldier". But every cliche holds a germ of truth, doesn't it? Because as much as I shy away from the term, it is indeed a battle. Except we aren't fighting for oil, or religion or land. We are fighting for our lives. Every day, every moment. 
We adopt a soldier's mentality. We do what we have to do to get the job done. But at what cost? For some, the scars linger far after the war is over. For others still fighting, putting on that gear everyday becomes harder as the days turn into months then turn into years. And while we are thankful to still be alive, the fighting is taking its toll. 
I see cancer as a sniper; hiding, waiting, ready to attack. Sometimes there is silence and I relax a bit, forgetting for a moment that I'm in a war zone. Then a bullet flies by and I realize I'm under attack again. I need to make quick decisions with trembling hands and gripping fear. There is no room for error. I'm two years in; by now I know what needs to be done.
I look to my left and beside me is my friend, taken down so quickly I didn't have the chance to say goodbye. When I think about it, though, do any of us really get enough time to say goodbye? 
She fought for four years, enduring more than most can ever fathom. She did it with grace and humor, kindness and compassion. She guided me, taught me how to cope with this war, how to find beauty, even while walking through hell. She deserved the Medal of Honor for the fortitude she exhibited, an acknowledgement of her valor. 
I can't help but see myself in her. It could so easily have been me. But I know she would want me to carry on, to keep fighting until that sniper is but a distant memory. And that's what I will do to honor her life and the millions before her. We stand together as one.
For those who say we haven't won the war on cancer yet, I say I'm winning it every day I am alive.
Karin Diamond
Rest In Peace, my sweet friend

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

18 Years

I watch you get in your car and drive away. 
I stand in the doorway; coffee in hand, tears rolling down my face
You're heading off to college
Charging toward adulthood, letting go of my hand just a little bit more
In my mind you were just born, perfect and tiny.
Aunt Trish smiled through her tears when she held you up so that I could see
You were the most beautiful baby...and you were mine

Those first few weeks were so scary
I was so young and totally unprepared for what life just handed me
I wanted so badly to get it right; I'm sorry for the times I got it wrong

You're walking now; charging head first into everything
(I know now this will be the way you always do things!)
There is such a light in you, a sweetness
You draw people to you
Your smile, your laugh, your very presence bring me more joy than I've ever known
You're so smart
You force me to my knees to watch the ants carry food
(You're right, it is a pretty amazing thing to see)
We spend hours playing together and reading books by the lake
You give me Eskimo kisses at bedtime and plead with me to read the book just once more.
 I didn't always
How I wish I had

You're in school now
I see you waiting in line on your first day
Grandma and Grandpa are in the school yard with me as we watch you walk in
You smile as you turned around to wave goodbye
We cried as we walked to the car

Through the years, I have seen some of your friends come and go
Your clothes went from 'dragging on the floor' baggy
To jeans so tight I feared when you sneezed
Long hair, short hair
Piercings, tattoos
I've watched you grow and change and change some more

I wish I would have been easier on you
Let you be you
Had I known how amazing you would turn out to be,  maybe it would have been easier to let go
I doubt it though
I see how amazing you are now and it's hard as hell to let go

Your smile still gets me
I could be two rooms away but  if I hear you laugh, I laugh right along with you
Your 'I love you's' can carry me through the darkest of days

For 18 years I have loved you
And while I may no longer carry you in my arms
I will forever carry you in my heart
Know that you are loved, that you are special and that you'll always be mine
Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet boy