Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Although I'm not a fan of holiday-forced gaiety, I must confess that I am feeling downright thankful of late, and compelled to express it and put it out there. And perhaps Thanksgiving is, after all, a good reminder to acknowledge the ups on this roller coaster of life.

A year ago, we were being held hostage by Michael's cancer. It was a very dark time in our house. I just went back and read what I wrote around Thanksgiving last year, and it seriously brought tears to my eyes. We had made it through almost an entire year of chemo and radiation and surgery and recuperation from surgery and multiple trips to the ER (as well as the Swine Flu - remember that? - sweeping through our house), and there we were, Thanksgiving week. It was a chemo week, so Michael was bedridden for much of the week. We were existing in our bleak, insular little world, isolated and afraid, painfully putting one foot in front of the other, trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a hard, hard time.

A year later, Michael appears to be in robust good health. Cancer treatment is months and months behind us, but not so far behind us that it doesn't still hurt. The fear, we have learned, will probably never go away completely. Michael is due for an annual scan soon, and anxiety is mounting. Cancer is a fucker. It's wily and unpredictable and it doesn't care that we have six children who desperately love and need their father, or that here is a truly good man whose wife feels like she would not be able to face life without him.

But I don't mean for this to be a post about the dark, scary things. What I mean to say is that existing right alongside the anxiety over Michael's health is a gratitude that often overwhelms me. Not just that he's here, alive and well, but what we gained from the ordeal. We figured out what really matters and what doesn't, and that life is really short and really precious, and it's a criminal waste to spend much time or energy focusing on petty annoyances in a marriage. We know now what we're made of, and that's a gift. We know that those words we spoke at our wedding, "In sickness and in health, in good times and bad . . ." are really, really true for us. We meant them, and we know that now, because we've been put to the test.

Hard times afforded me the opportunity, too, to shed relationships that were more negative than positive. It was like separating fresh milk - the cream rose to the top, and I am left with a handful of friends who continue to enrich my life on so many levels.

And of course there are my kids. Six little vessels in whom I can pour all the love that went so untapped in me for so much of my life.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I know now that nobody ever gets to say "I've paid my dues." I have no doubt that life probably still has a few more curve balls in store for me, and I hope I can weather them. And although I'm certainly not wishing for more hard times, I respect the lessons and opportunities the hard times have afforded me. Without rain, you can't appreciate the sunshine. Right now, my life is filled with sunshine, and I am thankful.


Tricia said...

Very well said, friend. Happiest of Thanksgivings to you and your lovely fam!

diane rene said...

beautifully written, Lisa. It's amazing how much has changed in just a year.
I hope the coming year continues to bring the happiest of changes :)