Thank you for taking time to follow Meaghan's journey of healing as she battles Medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.

Meaghan, our five year old daughter, was diagnosed early November 2009 after an MRI revealed she had a 4 cm solid tumor in her cerebellum. The tumor resection, while successful, resulted in serious complications.

Cancer is a family affair and here I try to chronicle not only Meg's journey, but our whole family's as well.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Mind's Eye

Sharing some well-deserved down time with a dear friend of mine, conversation naturally drifted to Meg. We’d been tabling the conversation until after we caught up on the more lighthearted news. With cocktail glass emptied, the plate cleared; it was time to get to the heart of the matter.

I respect this friend of mine. She’s been through hell and back – not unscathed. Over three years ago, she buried her husband who had died suddenly in an auto accident, leaving her to raise two small boys. I ask her questions others don’t have the strength to even ponder. And I know I’ll get an honest answer. How long did you stay angry? Are you still angry? Do you ever stop grieving? Is the second year any better than the first?

In many ways, Meg is so altered by this cancer that I profoundly grieve her and our family’s losses. My friend understands this, justifies this. I share the grinding details of Meg’s daily care. She doesn’t minimize my loss, but does answer the unasked question: She would have wanted his survival regardless of his physical limitations. I fall quiet; looking into my glass of ice water, hoping a worthy rebuttal appears in the glistening cubes. Nothin’. Crickets.

She’s right, of course. Having Meg is by far the best scenario. Her gentle longing isn’t a criticism, rather a shared moment of loss and reflection between good friends. It was a comfortable silence.

We talk of moving forward in our lives. Using the book analogy, my friend thought their lives would be a book together, not that she would continue on, her time with him comprising only several chapters in her life.

I didn’t care for the thought of that at all.

Several days later, my thoughts wandered back through analogies I could live with: Venn Diagrams? Rigid, but better. With Venn's we are separate, overlapping yet independent. Then my mind saw thousands of circles and diagrams this way. Ripples. Ripples seemed to capture my mind’s eye better. But they are too transient.

I wonder, is it better to be the flat stone skipping wildly along the surface, leaving a trail of ripples in it’s wake? Or rain showers, disrupting the entire surface of water for a short spell? I rather prefer the less poetic thought of a clunky chunk of dislodged sedimentary rock Ker plunking into the depths. A great big splash, loads of spray jettisoning from the site of impact, endless ripples radiating from the point of impact. The big chunk hitting bottom with a bilious thud, the geography of sand and sediment altered.

I achieve more peace thinking about Meg’s journey that way; that everyone needs to be a little displaced by her. Every parent wants their child’s life to have meaning, there’s just more urgency now. Her struggles should be pondered, her triumphs celebrated. Long after this is “over,” our worldview should remain shifted.

The real tragedy lies in our forgetting.

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