Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Accompanying the man who loves me to the oncologist yesterday, it felt like a lonely trudge through the dark parking garage to the elevators. We got lost looking for the second set of elevators that led to the office wing of the hospital and ended up at the hallway that led to the maternity floor. There was a cluster of people holding a bunch of balloons, and for a second I envisioned a sign with diverging arrows: LIFE/DEATH.

But when we opened the door to the oncologist's office, the waiting area was bursting with people and a hum of conversation. It didn't feel dark and lonely at all. ALL of these people have cancer,  I thought. It was both alarming and weirdly comforting. And the realization that followed was even more comforting. It wasn't true at all that everyone in the waiting room had cancer. Each patient was there with someone. When a names was called, groups of threes and fours went through the door that led to the exam rooms. We needed a maĆ®tre d'--"Party of three to exam room #1"--not a receptionist. Which made me think of this:

The title of this print by Balinese artist, I Made Arya Dwita Dedok, is Stronger
I own this artwork, and it hangs on my living room wall. I met the ARTIST at a residency at the Vermont Studio Center.

We are carried along by so many others, and I think the willingness to be carried makes us stronger--not weaker. I was able to spend the day away from home because daughter M was with my mom. And we also enjoyed the first day with Rosa--a woman who may become a regular companion for my mother. The comfort and help from M and Rosa infuses me with strength, and I give thanks for it.


Ms. Moon said...

None of us can do it alone. None of us.
There is beauty in that.

Taxmom said...

Really well put, thanks.

Elizabeth said...


lily cedar said...

I work in cancer care and no, it is not a depressing place to work. The patients are wonderful, families and friends are wonderful and there is much laughter. There is also sadness and death, but that is the case in any hospital sadly. The difference with cancer care is that everybody has already been told the worst news and they're not dead, they're still alive and actually value the time they have. Not all but many. And for me, it reminds me everyday that life is short and nothing is for sure, so enjoy today as much as possible.

The truly amazing part of working in cancer care is watching how kind and helpful people can be. I have seen so many men and women, gently caring for their loved one. It touches my heart.

ain't for city gals said...

I don't usually comment but...this so reminded me of my dad and his battle with cancer. They had to have two rooms cleared out for his appts and his doctor was kind enough to reserve an extra half hour for his appts because we always had tons of questions. My mom and dad have NINE kids and everyone of us were there for every one of his appts....My dad was 86...he was treated at the most wonderful VA hospital...he was treated as a rock star...and it made all the difference in the world! It has been two and a half years since and I still repeat our mantra..."It is a honor and a privilege"...Stay strong with your mom and wishing you the best with the man who loves you!

N2 said...

Glad you are finding strength and support on your journey with your mom and the man who loves you. We are sending support from out here in the ether. x0 N2