Monday, September 01, 2008

Epilogue #1

Here we are. Back in town. Back at the house. Back where we started, but of course not really.

The memorial service was beautiful. I can't imagine a better representation of Thomas's life, of our life as a little family. We were joined by people who loved Thomas, and people who loved people who loved Thomas, and people who loved us before Thomas was born, and people who wandered into our lives after cancer blew the front door off. We all cried and laughed and listened to some beautiful singing. There was cake. All the important stuff.

Scott and I went away to quiet places for a few weeks, and then we came back, eyes blinking in the bright light. Everyone asks, "How are you doing?" It's hard to say.

And even when I know the answer it's hard to describe. We're doing better, in a lot of ways. There is less stress and more sleep. Our awareness of Thomas's suffering and his sad fate took such a large toll these last years. It feels strange and exciting to make plans of any kind, to cook dinner, to do a silly dance because we're feeling light-hearted.

And then, of course, we're doing worse in others. We miss him. I spent some time looking through all the photographs of Thomas before we left town, and I was amazed to see how clear the effects of the cancer were in so many photographs. I think I couldn't admit to myself, until it was safe, how hard this has been; how hard it was for Thomas.

So when someone asks, and the listener has the time, I try this exercise to explain how we are:

Hold out your left hand in a fist. Now put out your pointer finger and your middle finger. Imagine this is all your joy.

Now put our your ring finger and your pinkie. This is all your sadness.

Now take your right hand and squeeze the left fingers, really, really tight. That's what living under threat of cancer has done for these last years.

And then take your right hand away. That's the strangle hold of cancer letting go, leaving both our sadness and joy behind. It's just that there's more room for both of them now.

Scott and I are taking it easy, taking care of ourselves, taking care of each other - all the things you all told us to do in your kind emails and letters (20 thank-you notes down and 146 to go, by the way!). We are making careful and slow forays back into the world of work and friendship, and we are being welcomed back very gently.

In fact, it's like this: hold your left hand out again, and think of the tears and silly dances that those fingers represent. And then let a friend hold on to it.

Read more!


At 10:47 PM, Blogger kate5kiwis said...

oh sarah
you are so beautiful, and so real.
still thinking of you X

At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott and Sarah,

I am so sorry for your loss. I have read your blog every week since the beginning. You are such an inspiration to everyone. I truly wish you both peace and comfort in the future. May God Bless You!

Debbie Bartlett Perkins

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Carolyn said...

Just know that you and Scott are greatly loved and on the minds of many!! It was SO GOOD to hear from YOU!!!

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Monkey Momma said...

((((((Scott and Sarah)))))))

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of you often.


At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Dee said...

I know that I am not a friend that you can see or physically talk to - but I - like so many others- feel as close to you and Scott as we possibly can. I pray that something I/we write is able to convey a soft - friendly touch to your wounded hearts. I'm glad you and Scott got away. I'm glad you're back. I'm glad to hear from you again. I love you both!

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

Good to hear that you are back, and that you are sleeping and eating.

I've thought about you all, and prayed that you would find some stillness, and quiet to do whatever you needed to do.

That hand exercise worked, never thought about cancer edging in on your sadness as well.

I do hope that one day when you are up to it, that you go back and read this blog. You have a lot of good times, true times, and sad times, but it will help you to remember Thomas, and all that you both did for him as his parents.

Take care, and please keep blogging when you feel like it.



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