Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To the shore

I thought I was prepared.  I really thought I was.  If one could ever truly be prepared for a silent earthquake that swallows families whole.  I told myself I would be able to hold onto the railing as strangers wiped their eyes, speaking of the ones already in the water and the ones lost long ago.  In reality I was ill prepared to know the scope and depth of how much cancer has touched the lives of so many.  As I undertook the challenge of running my first marathon for Dana-Farber I knew it would change me.  I just couldn't imagine how much.  My chest feels now these many months later like it's been cracked open with a sweetness only rebirth can claim credit for.  I know now.  I have seen. I have touched.  I wake sometimes in the middle of the night remembering how you talked about your Sister or how your Father was so brave.  I will never forget your face.  It is my face, staring back at me in the mirror.  I listen when you tell me not to wait to come visit.  I don't.  That is what cancer does to us.  It takes us by the shoulders, shakes us to our core, tells us that life will never be the same.  And one thing is for sure, cancer does not fuck around.  It means business.  In all the powerlessness swirling around cancer we sometimes forget that we still have choices.  How to treat.  To forgive or not to forgive.  What we want to say to those we love the most.  To fight with everything in us.  What to bring forward, what to leave behind.  

I know now that I will not forget what a miracle love, support, kindness & friendship bring.  Cancer can have none of it.  When we rally for those we love the energy that surrounds those afflicted is changed, and in that, their lives are changed.  When we hold a hand, when we listen, we bring healing to those who need it most- sometimes the person with cancer, sometimes ourselves.   We can also feel a roller coaster of emotions.  We sometimes cannot recognize ourselves in the midst of the wave that is pulling us down. 

 I struggle with hating cancer.  And when I say struggle I mean I have to actively work to not punch walls when I hear another and another and another is fighting.  Taking.  Taken.  I have to actively tell myself it is OK; when there is nothing OK about it that the person I have loved beyond measure is only alive in her photos.  I sit with them telling myself the fade will not begin.  I remember.  I remember, her. 

 I wonder if all my moments of hating cancer give it more power- like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die.  But there is no sense in cancer.  She did not come to argue, she came to rip and shred.  Or heal.  Or awaken.  Or sometimes we don't ever know why she came.  What we do know is that everyone, everywhere, rich or poor; the joyful and the miserable, the lonely and the full, all have a story.  Their stories are the life rafts we cling to, and like religion, how we choose to navigate through is a very personal choice.  One thing I am certain of, however we choose to travel the road with cancer; it is those who are on the road with us that matter most.  And that is a blessing that cancer cannot touch. 

Andrea Ardito is a Mother, Writer, Reiki Practitioner &Teacher. She is running the Boston Marathon on April 16th for Dana-Farber in honor of her Mother Barbara, who lost her battle with cancer.
You may reach her at andrea.df.bostonmarathon@gmail.com or to donatehttp://www.runDFMC.org/2012/andreaa

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