Matt, The summer has ended and Fall has begun. Everyday the geese fly over the house honking as if to say we are here, we are home. I stop and listen thinking of you. How we both would stop whatever we were doing and just be still listening to their beautiful song.
Fall also reminds me of my brokenness. My gardens need tending so badly. Before my cancer I would be weeding and planting colorful Mums. Digging in the dirt was always a form of therapy for me. I look at the gardens and feel such a loss. I can’t do the physical work to transform the summer gardens into an array of colorful fall beauty.
There are so many things I can no longer physically do. Cleaning out closets. Putting away summer clothing and going through my comfortable fall sweaters. The little things I took so for granted before the back surgery. Sadly, I now understand the difficulties you lived after your back surgery.
I’ve learned the saying is true. Until you walk in someone else’s shoes you can never comprehend their pain. I remember watching you walk. It broke my heart to see your young body ravaged by pain. I remember thinking I would take your pain if only I could. I wonder if you know that I now know your pain. Do you see my body no longer capable of doing those physical things that used to bring me such joy. Do you know I have become you.
Do you hear me when I ask for forgiveness. Do you know I would give anything to have a moment with you. To hold you and tell you I understand. I now know how it feels to be broken not just emotionally but physically. Your death broke my heart. My cancer broke my body and on many days it breaks my spirit.
Through all this brokenness I also feel blessed. After chemo, two surgeries and radiation my body remains free of cancer. My last scan was clear of disease. I can tell you that waiting to hear the results is maddening. My mind goes to all the what if’s exactly as it does when I think about your death. The unknown can become a silent torture.
On my dark days, I remember all the things I can do. The little blessings of walking the dogs. Of being able to stand and make dinner. Of being able to enjoy the beauty as I kayak through ponds and rivers. The blessings of friends who continue to pray for me. The blessing of my Faith.
My brokenness mixed with blessings reminds me of the Japanese art of Kintsugi. The art of repairing broken pottery pieces using gold. The gold creates a stronger, more beautiful piece of art. The gold highlights the scars in the pottery transforming the piece into something new and stronger than before.
Your death and the loss of my health has left me with many scars. I think of my blessings as the gold that is slowly filling my cracks allowing me to change the way I think of myself as no longer completely broken but learning to embrace my strengths reframing my pain into something of collateral beauty.