Ben and I are entering new territory. I guess we always knew that at someday we would have to brace ourselves for pain and for loss, but I, at least, considered those things far off. Our vows we tell us we'd face sickness and health, ease and heartache. What they didn't tell us, was how. How do we move through sickness and health, how do we love through the easy times and the unthinkable? The answer, right now, is that we do with heaviness and disbelief, standing close enough that our whole sides touch.
What did explorers do when they summited a hill panting and faced an unending wall of jagged peaks ahead of them and a fresh blizzard howling at their necks? I guess they did all they could -- take the next step. (This seems like a lame analogy; it comes from growing up with a mom who read historical fiction a lot and would stop us and talk us through a vivid landscape, making us consider the details of what life would have been like if...).
Ben's mom's cancer, after having virtually disappeared in April, has suddenly begun to grow aggressively. Yesterday her oncologist categorized her stage 1 clear cell ovarian cancer as stage 3. The disease is incurable and fairly advanced -- she will explore some trial treatment options with a specialist at Johns Hopkins and per her doctor's recommendations, push to do "everything she wants to do" in the next 6-8 weeks. Everything? What does that even mean?
And then what will happen?
I cannot imagine that this strong-willed, healthy, woman won't take up her mat and walk. It turns out I cannot imagine much more than I can see...