cancer diary

dove on the door

With time comes healing, and with healing, some degree of acceptance. With time, comes the willingness to talk.

To some degree.Today, I'm making available something that has been up on for quite some time, but that I wasn't ready to share: a cancer diary. Behind the scenes, I kept track of all the entries relating to Dad's diagnosis (and everything that happened afterwards). I knew that eventually, I'd want to compile the entries and make them available in a slightly more accessible format.

But I don't read those entries. Don't really even like to think about them. Even now, when the random-entry generator turns up an entry relating to Dad's illness, I reload the page to get a different random entry.

Am I in denial? No. Denial would be easier.


I still remember the book I was reading at the hospital; I never finished it. I remember the position of the chairs in the room. Leatherette. I wore combat boots for most of the time Dad was in the hospital; if I couldn't actually combat death I could at least look as angry as I felt.

Part of me will always be twenty-five, bracing my current spot in A Confederacy of Dunces with my left thumb while I reached out to Dad with my right hand. Knowing that a touch or a voice would soothe him. Knowing that it didn't matter a damn how uncomfortable I was; I had to do what was necessary.

I hated touching Dad in the hospital. It felt…wrong. At least around me, Dad was not the kind of person to reach out and touch people. Only after his aneurysm surgery did he ever reach out to hug me; he probably had the same unusually-large sense of personal space that I have.

Say goodnight, Gracie

Lot A was for the newer cars. Lot B was for trucks, vans, ATVs, SUVs, and anything that didn't quite qualify as a "car." Lot C was for older cars.

We were the sixtieth car in Lot C at tonight's auction down in Cullman. While waiting for the first fifty-nine cars to be processed, Jeff and I had plenty of time to talk over how much we wanted our reserve price to be. We knew we wouldn't get a lot of money for the car—it was, after all, an eight-year-old Sundance—but we wanted to see if we could do better than the trade-in offer we'd received.

On the drive down to the auction, I found myself laughing as I thought about all of the places this little car has taken me since 1994. Nine states: Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois.

The autocrat of dreams

Someone got brave today and asked the question that I think has been on the minds of most of my friends lately: "How are you, Amy? Not how you say you are, but how you really are."

Asking such a question to someone who has recently lost a family member is an inherently risky action. There's no way of determining in advance which person you're talking to: the friend who is bravely wandering through her days, or the friend who has decided that this whole bravery and wandering thing is for the birds (and who is looking for an excuse to cry).If you reach the former, you'll get a cautiously-optimistic answer: "I'm fine."
If you reach the latter, you'll get a cautious answer: "I'm fine."

The difference is in the tone of voice.

This is a lot of love.

I've been promising these photos for quite some time, but a post such as this had to wait until I'd gotten both rolls of film developed. After Dad was diagnosed with cancer, I spent a week in Arkansas, staying with Mom and Dad. I made a point to catch up with some old friends while I was there—all of them old friends who see me rarely, now that I live four hundred miles away.

(A number which Eleanor always says with a glare.)

Sean's birthday; cat photos

Shortly before I left, we celebrated Sean's birthday at a local restaurant. All of the locals, minus Geof cleared their schedules to show up:

Sean's birthday party.

(front row, left-right) Jessica, myself, Jeff, Chris. (second row, left-right) Crystal (holding her daughter), Kat, Sean, Rick, Jeff (not my spouse) and Jeremy.Sean's birthday party, 2002

Her question: what is mourning?

A friend of mine confessed to me recently that she didn't know what to say to me, because she's never lost a close friend or relative to death. I didn't tell her the real answer, because if you've never experienced it firsthand, you'll undoubtedly think the person telling you the answer is trying to deliberately mislead you for some strange reasons of their own.