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‘Frida is setting shit on fire’

I sat at the candlelit table, sipping my beer, taking a moment to look at each of the 4 faces, 4 humans who I love and cherish, who love and cherish me. Earlier that day, I found out I have a small little nodule on my lung, on top of the medium size tumor on my thyroid. This lung thing – it could be a scar from pneumonia, though I don’t ever remember having pneumonia. It could be from 12 years of being a smoker, but I’ve been damn healthy since then. It could be thyroid cancer that moved to my lung. These things happen. It could be anything. It could be anything and nothing. And so, holding that fear and setting it aside, I sit back and smile at these four who I love so much and just think — well, I guess if I am going to die, these 4 humans are humans I love and want to be surrounded by.

Death is always on the way.

The man sits at the end of our table. He coaches his young son to carry his drink to the table, and they sit there in silence. When their food comes up, he brings his son to the counter, and then coaches his son to bring food back to the table. My guess is that his son is on the spectrum – and I watch the father respond to his son with compassion and care. They sit and eat their meal in silence, as the son acts out in his own world, and my heart is filled with empathy. This life is not one this father necessarily chose, and yet, here is he, loving his son, loving this one and precious life. I am reminded that we never know what life will bring us, and yet… and yet… we must show up, mustn’t we? Because what else is there?

Death is always on the way.

I’m in the sweet delicious beginnings of falling for a man who makes me toast with peanut butter and banana in the mornings. And serves it while describing it in barely passable French, making us both laugh. He is kind and generous and makes me laugh and has me watch movies about zombies that I probably would never watch on my own. He knows of the cancer, he showed up right around the time of cancer, and yet, and yet, keeps showing up anyway. I’m falling for a man during a summer of impossibly bad news that just keeps rolling in.

Death is always on the way.

I’m not dying, y’all. Not yet, at least. But, I guess we’re all dying. Death is always on the way – and what do we do with that? Respond with fear? with gratitude? with appreciation? with love? with a fierce and brave heart? with our chest ripped open so wide, so vulnerable that it’s scary beyond scary?

In a recent meditation I listened to Andy talk about how some people with cancer are filled with gratitude and appreciation. That cancer has a way of opening them up and filling them with love and seeing all the kindness that is out there.

And then, I read this tonight and I swear time stopped in its place.

(please read it. if you do nothing else, read it please)

“Conjure a unibrow and say to them, with no smile at all, with not even the faintest trace of an apologetic wince: “Death is always on the way, and it’s coming for all of us, but you don’t have to be so scared. It’s not nearly as bad as you think.”

And so… here we are, it is not so bad. We can be brave and powerful, full of love and empathy and grace and light. Even when it is shitty.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. R.Scott Kushner #

    Beautifully written. this takes a tremendous amount of courage which I know you have. Much love coming your way.

    August 10, 2017
  2. Bonny #

    I love you. Thank you for the read and the reminder. No judgement. Just encouragement and an offer to assist in any way I can.

    August 11, 2017

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