Sunday, April 26, 2015

So, There's This Girl

It was winter, two years ago, Joe and I were driving home from Minnesota after Christmas.  Rita, my daughter's best friend from college, has written me from time to time.  This time, she was lamenting the difficulty of finding the right guy.  The drive is long, and I was mulling over her letter.  I think Rita is a marvelous young lady.  Smart, beautiful, good natured.

So, I turned to Joe, out of the blue.  "Joe, you'd date Rita, wouldn't you?" They'd met just once, he was fifteen, she was twenty.  Through Kate, they had become friends on Facebook.  "Sure", he said.  "I like Rita."  So, I called Kate.  (Northern Iowa makes for an uneventful drive...)  "Kate, should Joe date Rita?"  "Absolutely", she said.  "I think they'd get along wonderfully."

So, I wrote Rita back, telling her there was at least one good guy in the world willing to date her, and where there was one, there were more.  I figured that was that, but thus, the seed had been planted. Joe and Rita started to text.  Nothing serious, they lived 1000 miles apart.

Over the next year, they continued to write back and forth.  Both were single, both weren't finding the one they were looking for.  Somewhere in there, things turned a bit more serious.  She backed off - age and distance seemed to be insurmountable barriers.  So, things turned un-serious, they continued to be friends.

Joe has always wanted to visit the annual Tucson rock show (which is where Rita was living).  So, late last year, I suggested he take a trip on out there.  (the show is held in late January.)  He could see if Rita would like things to turn more serious again, and if things didn't go well - well, he's always wanted to visit the Tucson rock show.

He proposed the idea of a visit to Rita, who said, "That sounds wonderful, but I'm moving right around then.  I've taken a job in Lawrence."  (which is about 45 minutes from our place.)  The wheels of the Universe were turning.

They made plans.  Joe flew down, had a wonderful time at the rock show, helped her pack up and they climbed in the truck to move her to Kansas.  Tucson to KC is about a twenty hour drive.  At the end of a twenty hour drive, you have a pretty good idea whether or not you want to spend any more time, ever, with your driving companion(s).

I waited with bated breath.  Would the sparks they'd felt online ignite when they met in person, or would they fizzle and die?  I didn't hear much while he was down there.  I waited some more.  Joe texted just a little - they were getting along just fine.

When next I saw them, my questions were answered.  Yes, the sparks had met ready tinder, had ignited and were merrily burning away.  A couple of months later, they're still burning bright.

Young love is beautiful.  And fun to watch.
Good Is.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When the Storm Comes

Storms come into all lives.  Illness, accidents, poor choices, good choices gone bad.  Sometimes even when we've done everything right.  Sometimes, lightning strikes out of the clear sky.  Sometimes the morning is beautiful and we leave shelter and the storm catches us unaware and there we are, praying to find a haven where we will be safe until the storm passes.

The storms are terrifying, and rightly so.  They are fierce and so much larger than we could ever control.

But control is, at best, an illusion.  God Is and Evil Is and I remember again that all we can control in this world is our response to what happens to us. (to paraphrase Viktor Frankl.  again.).

Yesterday was harder for Kate than I can imagine - going in healthy, coming home heavy, bloated, sick to her stomach.  (The day was long.  The infusions were nausea-inducing.  Next time, she will remember to bring her noise-canceling headphones and some soothing music, so she doesn't have to listen to blaring televisions while also trying to cope with a headache and upset stomach.)

Yesterday was harder for me than I had anticipated.  And while it would have helped if I could have been there, it wouldn't have helped.  For I have confidence in the ability of her care circle to love and care for her and to be there.  But it's the part that can't be helped; the counterintuitive part - that making herself sick is the best bet that she will stay better - that roils my soul.

I feel so helpless; I can't fix it.
This storm is fierce and she is in the midst of it and I am much afraid.
so afraid.

but I CAN choose.
I can choose to look for the beauty in the storm.  
I can choose to trust her doctors, who are doing the best they can to keep the cancer at bay.
I can choose to trust that God Is, and to trust that Good is watching over her and will guide her through.

I can choose to remember that this, too, shall pass.

Monday, April 13, 2015


patio in progress
My talent for research has deserted me when it comes to Kate's chemo drugs.

The regimen starts tomorrow - four doses, hopefully three weeks apart (assuming she's able to tolerate the drugs), of Taxotere and Cyclophosphamide. I tried to look up the side effects, so I could know what she's in for, but I found I couldn't do it.  I'd read a bit, picture the drugs going into Kate's veins, recoil instinctively, and quit reading.  I just couldn't do it.  I'll take it as it comes - I don't have to know in advance all the yucky stuff that could happen, because not all of it will.  I know the drugs will most likely help the cancer stay away, but the part between here and there is going to be not pretty.


Her Christmas Elf struck again - this time with a daffodil bomb.
The kind people who help people with cancer showed up and cleaned her house today, so she won't have to feel bad tomorrow AND look at a mess.
There are other people lined up to do whatever she needs done if she feels awful.
She doesn't have to do this alone.

She doesn't have to do this alone.

that helps.  a lot.

I took all my excess energy on Saturday - and I have a lot of excess energy when mentally avoiding the picture of my daughter starting chemo - and dug a lot of the subgrade for my flagstone patio and path out back.  (Joe was helping with the project, but spent much of the day on parts of it that didn't involve shoveling.)  I can't do it as fast as he does, but I was steady, working my anger at the fates out on the poor defenseless dirt.  It's amazing what a mess one can make with a shovel and six hours.  I think the entire back yard is going to get raised a couple of inches by the time I get the dirt spread out.

Exercise helps, too.

She will make it through this.
We will make it through this.

God Is.