Every three months in my family, our muscles are a little more tense. We’re speaking a little slower, a little quieter. We’re walking around with heavy hearts, and a confusion of sorts that wonders how we ever got here to this spot in the first place; this “New Normal” we call it, which is ironic because it just doesn’t feel normal at all. We hold our breath, we grasp on for dear life to the one’s that we love and surround us, we cling on to positive vibes, cherish the in-between moments, and wish this day to just slide on by without making a sound.
Every three months is the day my dad walks into the hospital to lay down in his robe, and surrender under the fateful camera. A camera that looks at his brain, his central nervous system, his entire body, and scopes the beast that is living inside him. A camera that delivers our fate. A camera that has brought us the worst news of our lives, and the best news of our lives. We’ve gone from “you have cancer,” to “the cancer cells have died” to “the cancer is back and it’s spread.” This thing. This camera. I don’t know if I want to break it in half or cherish it forever. But like any hopeful human being, when our three months have come, we sit with optimism. We whisper to ourselves, “it will all be fine- because it has to be fine. So, well, there it is. It will all be fine.” Some call it denial, but I call it a heavy dose of hope, and knowing the internal strength of my father. And understanding that love conquers all… especially illness. Living with love and hope is the only way worth living.
This cancer is something that is a part of our lives, it’s something that we’ve somewhat accepted and barely understand. Although we know more about the oncology field than I think we could have ever imagined, and while we constantly wish to curse it straight into the ground, instead, we do our best to embrace the strength and the courage it has given not only my dad as an individual, but to us as an entire family. Our relationship with him and our relationship with others. If cancer does anything, it sets EVERYTHING into perspective. Relationships become crystal clear. Your priorities shift, and then they stick. You make no exceptions for the things that you want, the dreams that you chase, and the way that you feel. Your physical pain subsides quicker than usual, your emotional pain is heavy, and at a state of grief that is sometimes hard to bare. But your mind has never been more clear on what’s important. This life is fragile, beautiful, messy, confusing and bittersweet.. and while I am constantly thinking of those I know who have lost their parents and loved ones in a form of quick tragedy, not even able to comprehend that kind of pain, I can’t help but be grateful for the time we’ve been given and all of the time we continue to have. Because having time to talk, to listen… it’s everything.
So each day in my family, we hold our laughter a little bit longer, we grasp on to each other a little tighter, we cling to the memories we’re making day in and day out, cherishing those in-between moments, and hoping for a miracle. Because we all know those can happen.