“With your life shredded, you quickly realize what’s important. Cancer takes so much, it’s ruthless, however there are some things it can’t touch. It can’t take how you feel about someone; it can’t steal what has already been written; irrevocable bonds of love. Be it for a partner, child, parent or friend.
“One of my primary decisions was not to get angry or resentful. It’s a difficult feat, especially when fatigued and in pain. But I have spent most of my adult life ill-expressing such emotions. Too much time in ‘grand hotel abyss’ has fed a quiet destructive fire. If cancer is a battle (and I’m not convinced that it is) then misplaced anger may be one of its greatest victories. For me, to rile and rage would be immediate failure — to lose.
“Equally, in hospital there was a fair amount of regression and reverting to type. With very little to hold onto, at times I did flick through the bedside Gideon Bible (cold comfort) — just the simple mantra of ‘faith, hope and love’. To be honest, I’m still confused by faith and hope — but love was something I experienced and still do. Not a cerebral easily dismissed love, but a strange, dark, unknown love — an apophatic open, love. What Simone Weil terms ‘reality’. During CPR, the tiny breath of air in my chest cavity became indicative of this. Love as thread, torrent, line, ison, or drone, something that goes way beyond representation. However, it was tangible, particularly in the thoughts, prayers and deeds of those I knew and did not know; I could feel it, it had a physical presence.”
Thanks Nic, for the inspiration. It was good to know you, if only a little.