Sunday, May 4, 2014

There is Love

This date ... May 4 ... the date the word  C A N C E R  was first uttered ... continues to hold power over me. It casts its shadow each year, taking me back to that fateful day. In all honesty, however, the word 'cancer' had first paid a visit to my brain the afternoon before - when Dr. J called us with the results of that morning's MRI saying "My God, you have a tumor on your spine. You're meeting with a surgeon at 7am tomorrow morning." 

I do think there's some changes occurring as the years pass, however, as I now can see how much love surrounded us that day. It was there holding back the fear as I struggled to get Vern into the car that morning. It filled that small room in the surgeon's office when he showed us the MRI and explained how bad things were. It enveloped us in the car as we sat absorbing all that had been shared with us before entering the hospital.

And while there were many awful, hurtful things that occurred during those first days and weeks,  L O V E  was there ... always.  I find myself on this date each year, reading back through our CaringBridge journal. Reminding me of  ... the daily struggle, the wonderful medical personnel we were blessed with, along with those who should have chosen a different profession, the miracles we were granted, the joys we encountered in the midst of the horrors. I'm grateful I have those entries. But I didn't share everything there. I wanted those posts to be positive; I worked so very hard to keep Vern positive. I didn't share the personal hurts of disappearing friends, didn't share the disappointing behavior of friends and family, co-workers and my boss. But reading those entries jogs this old brain of mine - and while the unwritten hurts flicker into my mind they are now quickly replaced with the reminder that LOVE triumphed over all of it. The deep love shared by Vern & I and the eternal love of our God who was there throughout each of those 1602 days that cancer shared our lives. 

I had forgotten this quote that I shared in my July 5, 2006 journal entry. It held me up then and it holds me up now. It was written by Jim Chaffee, caregiver and husband to his wife, Janice, who died in February 2007 after a 3-year battle with multiple myeloma.

"So when my spirit screams "...where the hell are you, God?" my questioning void is filled with the companionship of the One who cried, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" There is no formula here, people, no four easy steps to lead us into understanding grief, no purpose driven "ah-ha" to explain why all this is happening. Christ simply and passionately hikes up His robe, sits down next to me, pulls my tear-stained face into His chest, and He weeps...He weeps with me, He weeps for my wife, He weeps long, deep, body rattling sobs, with snot and tears dripping from His chin. He weeps. From the bowels of one who has felt forsaken, who has felt loss, who aches when I cry "This just isn't fair!", who truly feels my pain, He weeps. And in His tears, in that sacred space called sorrow, I know God is there."   © Jim Chaffee