Bent Words

Bent Words

September 17, 2010

It makes me wish I could buy you one of those Hallmark cards you used to get me. The one that says, "You're 2! You're 2! How exciting for you!" with a cuddly, excited and overly sparkly purple bear on the front. You added the 3 for my 23rd birthday. It was a fantastic way to make me smile.

And I wish I could share my elation with you on this, your third anniversary of being cancer (CML) free.

I wish I could make you smile.

I was wishing for the same thing just a few hours before you broke the news about your Leukemia. November 25th, 2003. Days before Thanksgiving. You weren't feeling well. I pressed you to go to the doctor. Your bones ached, you said. You were so tired all the time, you said. You were catching viruses more often than ever. And the lump on your side -- your spleen enlarged -- gave it away to the doctors.

"It's 6pm and I cannot imagine talking to another person," I wrote. Wondering about you, waiting for your call. Not know what lay ahead.

When you did call, it was half past 10pm. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. When you broke the news. I stared straight forward without the ability to focus on a single question of the millions that accosted my thoughts. I had barely a word to say and you recounted that later, wondering how my reaction could have been so mild.

You had no idea.

As though it were yesterday I remember it perfectly. The words repeating over and over and over again,

"You can't. You can't take him away. No. No way. You can't take him away."

I was in shock.

I wrote through the night.

"It was so hard for me to understand your attitude when you began feeling sick and I know that's how you are -- you try so hard to be well and only frustrate yourself because of it. It frustrated me, too, because I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how badly you were feeling or if I was half the cause of your pain. When you said Leukemia, I didn't know where I was. I didn't believe it or comprehend it or grasp it fully. All I knew and all I know for sure is that I love you and, whatever it takes, we'll get through this. There is no other option than success."

Whatever they were, the ceaseless the struggles of our relationship, I knew this -- that nothing would get in the way of your life, your living, your being. I never doubted it for a moment though I worried and wondered the whole way through. I argued with myself daily as to what was best for you and what was best for me in terms of 'us' but I never faltered, from day one, in knowing what was necessary.

A bone marrow transplant.

And while there are a million things that I should have been for you then (I should have been more focused in how I felt, I should have been more convincing with all the research I had done, I should have been less selfish and more understanding), I know in my heart that I could not have loved you or believed in you more. For all the days, down to minutes, I tried to hold back, let you live the life you lived separate from me without question, keep it under wraps and protect my heart, I know I failed internally. Completely. You had damn near every ounce of me and yet I never felt safe enough to let you know.

The best I can do now is say it out loud. Pour it out without a second glance or worry of repercussion. Let if fly freely and wholly and unreservedly.

You're 3! You're 3! And you mean the world to me!

Happy Birthday, Shane.

*** It doesn't take much to save a life. To be the difference, to mean the world to someone and their family and friends. I am proud to be a registered donor for bone marrow and all it takes is a little cotton swab to your cheek to get on the registry yourself. ***

what of words can chronicle all the days
in which we toiled in an uncertain haze
remiss that nothing we could give
would make him well enough to live

what of tears can convey the sorrow
that in each evening crept the morrow
pulling strength from deep within
knowing there was no giving in

what of stories could describe the pain
of a body beaten in this vital campaign
of a sleepless night and an endless mile
a mother's tears, an incognizant child

but hope be brilliant! hope is all!
it carries us though we feel so small
and hope for him I've held on, strong
for Here is where his soul belongs

so what of recognition can we give all this
knowing her who is his savior, his altruist
what of acclaim and what of cheer
does his benefactor not deserve to hear

just what of words can carry all the days
upon which we rest our fervent praise
and what of complete thanks can we give
unless thank you means the life he lives....

Thank you for being a donor

Written at 7:31 p.m.