Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The "c" word...

"CANCER SUCKS"   (That was the post I seen on Facebook and so once again I pulled out this blog that has been sitting on the shelf.)    This was stated by a young woman who is watching her sister-in-law ANOTHER YOUNG WOMAN have to deal with something that I wish no one ever had to deal with!!   CANCER!   And I pray for this family and am so sorry for what all they are having to go through!   Just the word makes me almost sick inside and my heart hurts for them.   And so I go back to earlier work that I have started and stopped writing several times...

Lately it seems that the "c" word--cancer--seems to be everywhere and it seems to have come to my kitchen table as well.   I hate that word...I hate that disease...I hate what it does to those we love!   I have put this one on the shelf because it was one that I know will be hard to write!  But I continue writing because it is one that keeps building...while my nature seems to be one to avoid if possible...these words and these people keep stirring me--touching my heart.

Like I said this one has been on the shelf but I am back working on it.  Perhaps just coming through my husband having a skin cancer removed.   While not as serious as some...it was serious enough to me.  And now he is healing up from having a "nose" job and they think that they got it all out and all he has is the scar left behind (lesson...use your sunscreen).

I lost my Grandma Bessie to cancer in November of 1981.   I watched her go through the pain and suffering that the cancer caused her but also the pain from the treatment.   My Grandma Bessie was one of my "people" one of my constants.   I still miss her and wish there were days she could enjoy my family...play with my grandaughter...know my children.   I wrote a poem for Grandma titled--"Grandma's smiling again!"   And that is what got me through having to watch her suffer so...knowing she went to a better place.

In 1989, after watching the fight of his life, we lost my Dad to cancer as well.   While I would not wish the experience on anyone...I know that my Dad held on and  fought just for his family.  It would have been easy to give up...but he fought to the end.  We had the opportunity to say things that might have been left unsaid.   Chances to appreciate everyday just a little bit more because it was another day we got to spend with him.   My Dad was one of the tough guys...strong as an ox and yet the cancer took little pieces from him.   As a young wife and mother with two little children when he was diagnosed...those were hard times.  Times I wouldn't wish on anyone.  But in those tough days there were some awesome days!   Some miracle days!   Some days that just made you stop and give thanks.   I have always wondered what I could have done different.  It has been in my mind that when I prayed for my Dad I prayed for perfect healing.  I used those words "perfect healing".    As a Christian, I know that there is only one complete "perfect healing" and I know my Dad is healed.   I knew the moment that the lightning lit up the sky at the very moment the phone rang with my brother giving me the news...that my dad was gone.   However,  I also know the kind of man my Dad was he would never have been happy if he would have been slowed down by oxygen or the like.  So instead we lost him only 51 years young.  I always said he lived hard, he worked hard, he played hard, and he died hard.   My Dad wrote a note in his last days that he could barely write and a copy sets with his picture on my fireplace but he writes:

                                                                                                                  LOVE YA
 Another loss that touched me and perhaps because it was so close to home was losing a guy that I knew mostly through work but also through just living in a rural community, knowing his wife and just having children close to the same age as my own.   Allen Ringle was close to the same age my dad was when he lost his battle with cancer.  He also had two children...a daughter with children of her own and then a younger son.   Much parallel to my own life.   I had wished I could have been there more for Cindy and her family but it seemed so close to home and seemed to bring old pain to surface.   And I know I wasn't as supportive as I wanted to be.    Much like my dad's memorial service,  there were so many people from so many walks of life there to give respect...it just made you hope that you might touch just a part of the many lives they touched.

And finally the other name that was put on my heart and came to me at my kitchen table was the daughter-in-law of a very special cousin.  I did not know Libby personally, but I remember watching a video put together to the song "What a wonderful world" by her sister-in-law that was an amazing tribute.   I seen pictures of  her and her husband along with her beautiful children...and my heart hurt for them all...and I wished they would have had a little more time--one more day!

So just as many of you have had these stories...reasons for us to hate cancer--we continue to hope because we know special people that are fighting this fight.   And I have come to realize that their stories are not my stories.   I hope and pray that their stories are the ones that continue to give us hope and courage.   Ones that will give strength to those who must fight.

I know a special man going through this battle and he too is one of those "tough" guys.   The "John Wayne" types that are filled with so much character.   The kind of guy that just makes you smile thinking about him or one of his stories.   I have known Curtis all my life.   He went to school with my mom and "Butch" has always been someone that was almost family.   His wife was a good friend of my mom's and a friend of mine as well.   One of those that are kind of like another mother/grandmother (sister:)and  not "just" a friend.   And I watch their daughters and their family and friends coming together and I see such a bond of love.   This family is growing and bonding through ways that I am sure they couldn't imagine.  After seeing Curt the other day, I am hopeful...and I continue to pray that this will be one of the stories that you love to tell.  One of the miracle stories how he took that nasty old cancer out behind the barn and he let it know what was what!

A motto of their family seems to be "One day at a time."   A song that we should all sing.   Because even though those with cancer are more aware that their time is not their own...they seem to cherish more the time they have...although none of us know how much time we really have.    So with that, I hope we remember the words "One day at a time--Sweet Jesus..." and be thankful for this day we have been given!

My love and prayers to all of you who are going through so much!



  1. Penny, I'm glad you brought this off the shelf and finished it. The "c" word has run rampant in my family as well, but we have success stories. You covered the gamut with this one and I especially love the emotion you shared with us, especially your dad's note and Curtis taking the cancer out behind the barn! Thank you. Smiles.

  2. Penny, my sister Betty passed away after two bouts of cancer. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer which she fought and conquered. She even had reconstruction surgery. Seven years later she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She fought a good fight but three years later she lost the battle. She was only 52 years old.