Ben, Silas and I just flew back home from a weekend in DC. We went for Steve's wedding and to spend a little time with his mom. At the wedding we talked for a while with our friend Sherry, a strong, spunky woman who is battling cancer, herself. She was full of wisdom and bold enough to ask us hard questions -- about funeral arrangements and wills, about Welcome Home parties and grief. She said that she does not want her doctors to give her any kind of time frame for her life, that she won't let them. What good does it do, she asked, to be told that there is no hope; hope is all that we have.
The more I've thought about her words, the more I agree. I cannot imagine the kind of pressure that rests on every single hour Cindy's had since a doctor told her she had 8 healthy weeks of life left. And when there's that much pressure on small moments and big ones, how much risk there is for disappointment... How deep will she have to dig for hope?
Sherry and I talked about what a solitary road cancer is, that even when she is surrounded by people who love her, she still has cancer alone, still falls asleep in her own thoughts at night, still feels the pain by herself and alone is facing death. I think for most of life we can trick ourselves into believing that we don't, actually, have to go it alone, and in many ways that is true; we so rarely have to be stripped down to our cores and forced to stand outside. But cancer does that to people, and so does great loss.
Christina and Drake are standing outside holding sharp silver hope. I hope when Cindy reaches in her pocket, she finds shards too, glimmering, polished, warm to the touch.