I don’t know if it’s because I’ve either been coming down with or getting over a cold since last October when I was getting radiation; or whether it’s the post-concussion syndrome I’m almost but not quite over; or whether it’s that I found out yesterday that one of my breast cancer sisters on my support forum is dying of this damn disease; but I just can’t help breaking into tears lately.
I can’t blame it on PMS anymore. Way past that now. It’s not that I’m even unhappy. I’m actually more heartened by the ordinary and everyday richness, the remarkable depth and breadth of talent, humor, kindness and spunk of my fellow travelers on this earth than I’ve ever been, especially in these economic times that are so trying for many of us, times that have been brought about by an excess of greed and irresponsibility on a par with the goings on at Versailles in the time of Marie Antoinette. But I’m also more weary than perhaps I’ve ever been, and obviously I’m older than I’ve ever been. I feel like I’ve aged five years since being diagnosed with breast cancer last summer. And somehow it’s more than the sum of the effects of surgery and scar tissue and radiation and drugs and stress and pain and discomfort. It’s more than the fact that I’m sick to pieces of seeing doctors and taking medicine and getting pictures taken of my innards. It’s more than the reality of having barely enough energy to go to work each day, such that I don’t have the energy to wash dishes or put away the laundry, and that I’ve had to give up just about all of my volunteer activities, and that except for the drawings and photos I’ve done for this blog, I haven’t had the wherewithall to make any art in months. So, what is it?
My sanity has been shored up time and again these several months by my friends, by my colleagues, by my readers, and especially by my sisters on the online breast cancer support forum I visit regularly. So when I read that one of my friends from that forum has been told that her disease has progressed to Stage 4, and that she is dying, I weep for her not just because she is a generous, funny, perceptive and caring participant in the forum, but because I have been living with an awareness of my own mortality, front and center, in my face, for months now. And it makes me weary.
So, don’t tell me not to cry. I need to cry. I need to feel all the anger and anguish and helplessness of being human and mortal, and I need to make my protest with tears. I can’t cure cancer and I can’t keep my forum friend from dying. And I can’t find jobs for my friends who’ve lost them. And I can’t prevent my friend’s son from being deployed to Afghanistan. But dammit, I can cry and I’m going to cry and I am crying. Because I’m alive to cry. And for that, I’m grateful.
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