It was a tough winter, but I hadn't any idea what lay in store for us this spring.
About a week before spring officially arrived, Rich was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was a shock to us all--something we were not expecting. Thankfully, his prognosis is the best we can hope for, as surgery removed the tumor and should be enough to be curative. There will be rigorous testing for the next couple of years, to make sure there are no changes. It's a small price to pay for peace of mind. And to have peace of mind is a wondrous thing.
I suppose we are fortunate. Our situation is one in which we can look forward and leave these moments behind. We will be cautious going forward, but we can go forward with hope -- with the knowledge that the odds are in our favor.
Oh, I have been on the other side of that fence too, though. I remember the weight of finding out my mother suffered from progressive dementia. There was no cure, there was only the knowledge that things would get worse, and then she would die. I know that pain and fear, and the dark cloud that seemingly follows you everywhere you go. From that experience (which I have the benefit of having some distance from now), I learned that sometimes, maybe most times, in order to endure the pain, you must find the good.
Strangely, this whole ordeal illustrated that good in many ways: the devoted and caring family and friends we have, and the wonderful community in which we have chosen to make our home. Rich's care while in the hospital (and even before, when we were still figuring things out) was better and more honest than I could've expected. I appreciate those people that know their limits, and are not afraid to voice them.
Even in times of panic, when I wasn't sure how to function, it was the people closest to us that offered us prayers, encouragement, meals, comradery, and enough humor to forget for a moment that darkness we found ourselves in. It's marvelous, isn't it? Sometimes I think these things happen to serve as that very reminder...we are not alone. We do not need to, and sometimes cannot, do things alone.
I am thankful for and humbled by each and every person who lifted us up. Your kindnesses continue to be felt by all of us, and someday, those kindnesses will most certainly be returned.
Rich has since recovered from surgery, he is back to work, and life is back to (semi)normal. We're now in the midst of a school year winding down, with lots of grading, field trips, and school functions. The kids spend a larger proportion of the day outside, and later sunsets mean later bedtimes. Our yard-full of mud and dirt beckons, with plans being made for concrete and *eventually* some gardening boxes. I am back to unpacking boxes, slowly and methodically, trying to make sense of how everything will fit together -- for now.
Spring is normally a time for renewal, refreshment, an opportunity to start over. I suppose in some ways our spring has been just that. We can look forward, continue onward, and enjoy what lays ahead.