Today. Life showed up.
While running in the foggy cool Kansas morning, I wanted to go home and curl up with the feels that sweep over about this time each year. It’s my brother, Pat’s, birthday. He hasn’t been around to enjoy it since 1986. Dammit Cancer. And it is also Madi and Z’s international anniversary, marking the day a few years ago when they said, “lo voglio.” in front of friends and very important people of Bassano del Grappa, Italy. Elopement never looked so good as when they laughed, cried and finally posed on the bridge over the river, Brenta.
Yesterday, I got word of one of the kids’ former occasional babysitters who is nearing the end of her five-year assault on cancer. She is moving to hospice. She leaves behind a family of – as my old friend said this morning when I bumped into her while we both ran in foggy downtown – young kids, husband, parents and more.
Another amazing friend and get-things-done-while-loving-people person begins her radiation treatment today.
(Can I say F*ck Cancer?)
And this weekend was so much of all of what is good and vulnerable about living.
Coffee was brewed. I had a sweet message from the fella. Hot water came from the shower spigot – easing the post-run stiffness and burning off the sting of a few critters from yesterday’s kayaking.
Friends – including the mayor of adventures in MHK – gave themselves this weekend to help other people realize their strengths and stretch toward more.
We met a few kids at the winery the other night who sat and laughed with us for an hour or two. I learned much.
There was chilly yoga in the park and monarchs flying overhead with a donut chaser for those inclined and coffee from a fresh new place for Katie.
Such people celebrating a birthday with a speakeasy, and the rescue from too much peopling by a friend in a turquoise cape that looked like a cardigan.
There were hands held and moments of fear overcome by a graceful kindness. Skipping rocks like Pat had taught me (and not very well), celebrating the wisdom and love of a son who is finding his own voice with confidence.
People moving away from the community they love, knowledge of massive clean ups on the East Coast and bombs over the heads of mothers and fathers and grandparents and children…still.
A recurring contemplation of a “dad waiting down the road for his kids to come home” by my favorite shepherd-the-sheep-can-understand.
So much good – calm waters and sun – and grief threatens to derail the day. Except it won’t. I am determined to live a great story. Suck it up, Buttercup, with a hanky in hand.
I will remember that this life is not a trial run.
As much as the grief wants to rule the day, life must remain. And continue. Even when it means changing our plans and how we communicate love with folks…family who are forgetting and friends who may feel forgotten.
This is not a trial run.
This is the big show.
The one big show.
Live well. Ask for forgiveness. Extend the same.
Sing in the shower.
Sign up for that race.
Jump out of that airplane.
Hold that soft and wrinkly hand. Listen to the stories (again.)
This is not a trial run.