The Face of Cancer

It is going to be a year in August that my mom died and with every passing month since then, I have had to see my father deal with both the loss of his wife and his own progression into cancer. It is hard to describe what cancer really means to people, yet every week I see it first hand in the Cancer Center when I take my father for his treatments. There is a hopelessness that takes hold of family and friends, while the actual patient tries to maintain a fragile spirit about themselves. In many ways, cancer is a shared disease. When your wife has cancer, you have it too, your kids have it, and so the nurses and doctors end up talking about treatments and test results, and they look at everyone in the room as patients, cause they know everyone is suffering. Months into the diagnosis, you learn everyone’s names, you see the same people, the same nurses, the same office people, and everyone knows you are dying. There are polite conversations every time, but in between there is always silences that stay with you. Food doesn’t taste the same. How can it, you are taking more medication now, more pills, more treatment, more of everything. The body tires of the blood tests, the analysis, the probing, the indignity of what seems unnatural. It is only the mind that continues to fight, to think and search of escape. Maybe this is why, I don’t have the patience for any serious films anymore. I don’t want to be serious, I want to be irresponsible, I want to laugh and return to silliness, to run back into childhood imagination, where I did not have to decide anything, live up to anything, be responsible. However, you are already on the other side of it. You already made some arrangements, you have looked down at a patch of ground, where the body will be laid, you have made compromises and you are satisfied with material things, but not your feelings. There still lingers the hope of a possibility, of life dragging on, but how and to where you don’t know. What is tangible is the earth, not the sky. Clouds you can see but never touch. The ground is beneath you, you tell yourself, it is here and you can dig into it and feel it for yourself. You want to believe in something, as you close your eyes every now and then and let the vision fade, breathe out this one life.

One Comment

  1. Goose,

    I was sorry to learn of your parents passing from the website.

    This is a great piece of writing handling a difficult subject in clean prose.

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