Part 22

[Author’s Note: I had a hard time writing this part.  Take this as a warning if you’ve been through cancer with someone close to you.]

*
Everyone has had their brush with this awful part of life, this side effect of human physiology where our cells go rogue on us, our bodies choke themselves on growths, tumors, tissues, mutations.

Some of us more up close and personal than others. Some get hit quick, unknowing, and are gone with only a short time to wrap up things up, this ride they couldn’t know was so close to ending.

Sometimes it hits our grandmothers that get spots on their lungs from decades of abuse that grow and grow and so they end up in and out of hospital, trying to get some sort of treatment, until in the dead of winter their daughters and grandkids get to see them in a care bed, wasting away, tubes stuck everywhere, just wanting the pain to stop, wanting to see their family, wanting some final peace.

And they laugh and cough while the one weird grandkid pretends to be Urkel so at least they can find something enjoyable in their long, slow decline.

Sometime later, in the night or early morning, their afflicted everything will graciously give out and let them go, sparing most of the family that moment.

*

Again, everyone’s had their brush.

So there’s no dealing with cancer other than constantly living and constantly, unceasingly looking for a way to rope-a-dope the sonofabitching genomes that put it in us.

So I looked at the hermit doctor and felt his mad claim sink down amongst us and I wanted to say all of that to him, every hurting sentiment.

Instead, I strapped on a big, bold defense to that tender emotion, that aegis we tend to use to keep ourselves away from the wounds we know are there.

How much, I asked. How much is this worth to you?