“When you’re smilin’, when you’re smilin’ the whole world smiles with you”
Larry Shay, Mark Fisher, and Joe Goodwin
One thing I have not considered throughout this grieving process is that someone might actually be reading these missives. I write them for myself, find them cathartic, and assume I am the sole composition of the audience. Yesterday I found out that was not the case. A friend of mine from high school told me she reads each post and, because of the ravages of cancer is also angry beyond words.
Does this new knowledge put added pressure on me to be conscious of this additional audience? Initially, I was worried that I now had an added responsibility to convey healing words sprinkled throughout each post so as not to dampen any recuperative effect any other reader might be building on their own. But upon further reflection, I believe that it is the honesty that initially drew any reader to continue reading past the first post. No amount of succor is going to alleviate the pain an individual feels regarding cancer’s relentless pursuit. So I have decided to remain true to the intention of this blog and post as if I am the only member of the audience reading each post. I hope that anyone reading finds some comradery in our suffering, some solace in knowing they are not alone, and that at the end of the day we will each make it through this process stronger than we were before.
We all have our scars. We are the compilation of the decisions we have made and none of us gets out of here alive. Every decision we make helps craft us into the person we are. Sometimes one decision can cascade into a series of decisions all of which are wrong (in hindsight), but we make the decisions we make based upon the best information we have at the time. Sometimes we are guided by emotion rather than logic. That’s what makes us human. But it is that human quality that also allows us to forgive, although forgiving ourselves tends to be the hardest. Why do we tend to give the benefit of the doubt to others but save our most caustic criticism for ourselves? Why do we give that same benefit of the doubt to strangers but limit its use on family members? Truly, who is more deserving of it? And so I will try to give you the benefit of the doubt if you will reciprocate.
Which brings me back to this blog and its purpose. Allow me to issue a blanket apology to anyone offended by whatever is written here, now or in the future. While I still can’t believe that anyone reads this, I am encouraged that some have read several entries and haven’t “unfriended” me or torched my house. Sometimes I write with the full knowledge of what I want to say. The thought is fully formed (usually these things come to me in the shower for some reason) and my fingers are simply the conduit to allow the thought to be expressed. Other times I am simply pulling at a string and don’t know where the post will take me. I find both forms enlightening and wouldn’t want to limit myself to only well thought out topics or to writing on the fly. It is this combination of methods that keeps me interested in writing. I don’t know how others feel about it or if they can even tell when something is fully formed at the outset or is developed through the process of writing. Certainly, cancer is a vicious enemy and we will be relentless in our pursuit of it as it tries to pluck member after member from our circle of friends and family. I will not apologize for the vitriol I sent its way. And loss hurts more than I ever thought it could. But I will keep writing because it helps me. If it helps others, all the better. Stick with me and buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.