June 21, 2007

a slice of life

I sat on the porch last night smoking a fine cigar. A gentle breeze blew the leaves on the sycamore in the front yard. I plugged my iPod into my head and watched the fireflies blink their Morse code. While Jim Morrison told me the music was over and to turn out the lights, I puffed contentedly. We had a late dinner of tacos after returning from the ball field. Baseball, tacos and a cigar -- a good evening. The wife and daughter cleaned up the kitchen as the youngest played Wii. For a few minutes bills and work and worry were left behind. When I came in, the wife was on the phone with her sister.

On June 18, 2005 my oldest son broke his collarbone. While my wife was at the hospital with him, she got a call that her brother had suffered a massive heart attack and was not expected to live. Three days later on June 21, her mother entered the hospital for a colonoscopy to remove a cancerous growth. All survived.

Two years later we have learned my mother-in-law is again stricken with cancer. There is a growth in her kidney, most likely a migration from the colon. There is an additional walnut sized growth in her lungs. Without chemotherapy the doctors estimate her days are numbered to four to six months. She is frail, Alzheimer's has claimed her memory. She is terrified. The family is not sure she can survive the chemicals. She is my wife's mother. Is there a choice?

I could rant and wail. The last couple of years have been tough. Every day brings a new challenge. Lefties might spin my sitemeter like a weather vane in a tornado and leave asshole comments, but life moves on. We just have to look for the silver lining of that dark cloud that seems to perpetually darken the Hoosierboy household. I just have to find a few minutes each day when the wind ruffles the huge leaves of the sycamores, the smoke curls from the cigar and David Crosby or Van Morrison or John Anderson croons in my ear.

If there is a lesson I have learned the last couple of years is that we cannot hide from our problems, but we do not have to let them dictate our happiness. The next months will be a challenge. I hope I can remember that lesson.

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