Thursday, June 6, 2013

When What I Feared Most Came to Pass

What happens when the thing you feared the most comes to pass?  What happens when the words are spoken again, and they mean something about you?  Malignancy.  Tumor marker.  Cancer.  Pathology?  I have lived long enough now to know that what our minds invent out of the tendrils of our fears -- these mental inventions bear little resemblance to reality.  I imagined falling to my knees.  I imagined myself curled up in terror and defeat.  I imagined my heart galloping.  I imagined a sense, even, of failure.

What I feared the most these last three years has come to pass.  I have cancer.  The how and where and why and what kind is still a mystery.  First, it seemed that Craig and I had been ushered onto a tiny boat, maybe the size of a rice cake, and pushed off shore.  A current soon carried us far into the fog.  We clung to each other.  We stared for hours into the fog, not seeking anything, not trying to see.  We drifted.  Jags of crying came on like squalls, passed, leaving us empty, dripping.  When what I feared the most came to pass, I felt oddly calm.  Everything slowed down.

When what I feared the most came to pass, in the hospital last Friday, suddenly shuttled for a chest x-ray, then a CT scan, then a procedure to draw three liters of beer-colored fluid from my lung lining, my friend Jo held my hand, locked eyes with mine.  She watched what I could not watch.  I gave over my body to the caring hands of people who let me know it pained them to cause me pain.  I gave myself over.

When what I feared most came to pass, I walked into my love's arms.  We wept.  We looked around and into our lives.  I thought, I have been given a heaven on earth.  I have lived in paradise.  There is nothing I want, nothing I would change, nowhere I would go.  My bucket list is for more of what I have.  It runneth over.

When what I feared most came to pass, I knelt in the garden and planted French tarragon, a perennial.  I tended the flower beds.  They look better than they have in years.  I look at them and see the promise of creation, of beauty.   I went to the greenhouse.  I watered the tomatoes.  I stared endlessly at the spring green of the leaves.  I listened to birds.  I watched clouds passing.  I looked over at my love.  "This is it," I said.  "This is all we have, right now, right here."  I knew everything I'd read of Buddhism to be absolutely true.  There is no future.  There is only this salad he has made for me, and these legs which took me on a long bike ride today, and these lungs filling with breath.  This is all I have.  I will not waste it with worry over tomorrow or regret over the past.

When what I feared most came to pass, my sister-in-law knelt down in her shower and prayed for me.  My sister said "I am ready; come here."  Craig said, "You are the love of my life."  My friends said "Let's play Scrabble."  My doctor said "I love you."  Another friend came and looked deeply into my eyes, until I could peel the layers of protection away.  When what I feared most came to pass, my oncologist told me it was a time for courage and hope.  All of my blessings, they rained down upon me.  They are raining down upon me right now.   

30 comments:

  1. Beautiful. And you are a blessing for all who know you. May you continue to travel your road with grace and love.

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    1. Grace and blessing ... that is you, Erin. xoxox

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  2. Debbie Healy (your sis's s-i-l)June 7, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Your journey has been graceful, enlightening, beautiful, spiritual, hopeful, loveable and without self-pity. You are a beautiful woman, Eva. Walk through this journey with the same love and support you have always walked... you are not walking alone.

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    1. Thank you Debbie. I will continue to walk, and when I can't, I'll let the words do the walking for me, taking past what I don't think I can face. So far, it's working. Much love to you, S-I-L!

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  3. Dear Eva. Dearest Eva. Thinking of you now, and what a blessing you are and have always been to the Earth. I am holding your incredible journey in my heart.

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    1. Thank you Susan. I will be seeing our dear friend Wilderness soon. I am thankful to be connected to you through that point of heart and power.

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  4. "There is nothing I want, nothing I would change, nowhere I would go. My bucket list is for more of what I have." Tears on my face. To live like this, to get to live like this and realize it while we are still alive. Add to that biking and gardens and Scrabble and love. What more can we hope for? Thank you for reminding us in your words and your way in the world.
    Sending love and light and 7-letter words.
    CB

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    1. Thanks for the bingos, Christine. A few four-letter words have been flung, but those don't have the point value. So happy that you will be at the conference, sharing your four and seven and two letter words. xoxoxo

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  5. Eva, all I can think about is the thousands of ways in which you bless the world--your words here being one of them. I'm going to listen to a river all weekend and try to feel that rain.

    xoxo, Sherry

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    1. Let me know what the river tells you. You are a blessing you know. xoxo

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  6. Grace finds a way. This morning I heard a symphony of birds on the Kenai River; this afternoon I spoke with you, both our hands in our gardens, being in the moment, knowing it is all we ever have. Eva, I hold you close to my heart and send you all the healing power of the big wide wild world. Grace, she finds a way.

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    1. In front of the cottage where we are staying, overgrown rose bushes flopping all over the stoop, climbing the clapboard walls. I cut several stems to bring inside. Grace finding a way, far from home. xoxo

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  7. Eva, we're holding you in mountains of love and rivers of light and oceans of gratitude. The Homer Friends read selections from "Into Great Silence" for our May and June worship sharing.
    Art (& Shasta)

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    1. That is wonderful to know ... thank you Art and Shasta.

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  8. Sending prayers. Will light a candle at the Cathedral for you. Humans are imperfect but the love we send you is pure.

    Jo-Ann & Stewart

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    1. Pure indeed! I hope I see you in July Jo-Ann. Thank you for the candles.

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  9. I love you, Eva... I sit here looking at my hands type this on my computer I named after you all those years ago because it is the place I put everything I need to say when I can't say it out loud...I love you, that I can say so loud! You are in my heart.

    arlitia

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    1. This morning, I fed scraps to my sister's chickens and thought of you! Love you too.

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  10. Eva,

    Sean and I send love and prayers with you on your journey.

    Much Love,

    Sharon & Sean

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    1. So much love back to you. Elli is in Fairbanks again. Hope you see her, and hope I see you soon too. Miss you.

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  11. Dear Eva: Your writing has brought extraordinary joy back into my life, joy that I fling skyward/eastward to embrace you in your grace and love. Safe travels my dear one.
    -Wendy

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    1. That is so gratifying to hear dear Wendy. Joy is the ultimate object. xoxo

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  12. Eva,

    So I heard about you from a "fan" of yours I suppose. Jonathan Bower. I teach his son at Winterberry Charter School. My diagnosis of colon cancer at the age of 31 sent me for a loop and life has been on a one-track road to health since the diagnosis on April 18. My wordpress blog talks about it some, he pointed me to you as another woman who's written her way through the process. I read your most recent post, ironically the first day of my first chemo treatment, and cried tears of compassion as well as humility as you spoke so clearly of how the present moment and its highlighted majesty gave you comfort. I look forward to reading more. Strength and Love on your journey, Eva.

    Suzanne

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    1. Thank you for getting in touch Suzanne. I will be thinking about you too. I'm sorry about your diagnosis, but inspired by your "one-track road" to healing. I will cheer you on from my parallel track. And I will look for your blog.

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  13. Hello Eva-

    May God continue to bless you on your path. I am a stage 4 breast cancer survivor of 5 years this month. I think the diagnosis was the hardest for me. The rest has been difficult at times but doable. And full of love.

    Lots and Lots of Love to you-
    Amanda Brannon

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    1. Thank you for this Amanda. You can't know how much hope you give me with your words. Blessings as well on your path.

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  14. Eva -- I've been following your journey on your blog this past while -- my thoughts are with you as you go through this latest challenge. You have no idea how much I cherish memories of the time in the Sound with you and Craig, and also the time we spent together in Fairbanks. You're one of the most special, talented, present and honest people I have been privileged to know.

    "There is nothing I want, nothing I would change, nowhere I would go. My bucket list is for more of what I have."

    And you continue to inspire.

    Tom Porter

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  15. Hey I have a quick question about your blog, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! -Cam

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  17. I lack the beautifully laid out words. I simply say two words I often say as my wife and I fight her Stage 4 metastatic breast Cancer diagnosis together:

    "CANCER SUCKS"

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