I find time difficult to conceptualize. It’s both a circle, mysteriously rotating in endless cycles, and a yardstick, mercilessly standing ramrod straight and forcing me to face all that I have yet to do.
But I like that about it sometimes. That I can look at a date a year ago, shake my head and make that big blowing out air sound with my mouth, and go, “Holy cow. We got there from here?”


A year ago, we were at a wedding in the Outer Banks. My mother in law picked up W, then 2, to go dance with him. I remember frowning, thinking he was tired and that it may be too loud for him. But then I let go, let him go forth, and I saw them a moment later, with his face resting on her shoulder, her eyes closed as she swayed with him. I took a mental picture. I remember the moment because it’s the first it resonated with me that my children’s relationship with their grandparents is as unique and comforting to them as theirs is with me.

The summer continued lazily, camps, heat, humidity. Just marching through, trying not to get stuck to the hot vinyl carseat. No idea things were about to get so, so scary.


My mother in law and mother were both diagnosed with cancer within two weeks of each other. One ovarian, one breast. And the world stopped turning in its usual fashion. The axis tilted, and nothing looked as it had. I was afraid. Mostly, I was afraid of change. Of losing them, or of them not being as they had been. I remember driving down the road one day, crying through the uncertainty, and saying out loud to myself, “I just don’t want change! Just make it stay the same.” Knowing, of course, what an unreasonable plea it was. Because isn’t change the only constant? But it was hard to see where things were going.


It was a year of surgeries and treatments and questioning and googling. But it was also a year of constant contact, and connection, and care. Not that you want people to have cancer so you can realize how much you love them, of course not. But does it make you more conscious of that fact? You bet.

So now I look up a year later and say, “Wow. We’re here.” and it’s amazing. My mother in law left for Italy a few days ago. Her treatment is done (except maintenance) and her scans are clear. My mom finished her reconstruction a few days ago, and her scans are clear. Every now and then, when I’m driving, those words pop into my head. “Scans are clear.” And they sound like a hymn, a prayer, an ode. What you always want to see when you look out over the horizon- no clouds, blue skies, sun shining.

This is a year later. And I know how lucky I am.


Carousel and trolley pics taken at Glen Echo Park, Maryland

I love this song by The Thermals, “Now We Can See”: it drives home to me how you can’t always see where you are when you’re there. Let me know what you think!

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Comments (5)

  1. Ann Tuesday - 26 / 05 / 2009 Reply
    My mom had breast cancer almost nineteen years ago. They gave her a year to live. She said "Horsesh**" and fought with every fiber of her being. I prayed and prayed and literally was granted a miracle. As I prayed out loud in a church in France I heard "She's going to be fine." And she was. They can't explain it but I have the answer. All of that being said, we, as a family look back on that scary year as one of the most rewarding for our family. The support from friends, family and even people who didn't know us was phenomenal. People are great! Thanks for sharing this. Ann Ann’s last blog post..New Discoveries
  2. susan Tuesday - 26 / 05 / 2009 Reply
    I love how the picture of W looks like a small child sitting peacefully under the wheels of a train. It's kind of perfect. susan’s last blog post..STDs (the s stands for social)
  3. rockrollmama Tuesday - 26 / 05 / 2009 Reply
    Ann- That's amazing. The support around us was a palpable feeling. I had a wonderful lady I don't know in California wear their names on her shirt as she walked for Breast Cancer (as my MIL is a 15 year survivor of that, as well.) And it did make all the difference to know we weren't alone. Thank you for sharing your story. Susan: I love that interpretation of that image- spot on. I took a bunch where you can't tell the tracks end, just to up the hobo factor and put the dubious element in my parenting skills.:)
  4. Sugar Jones Tuesday - 26 / 05 / 2009 Reply
    I think back to all the uncertain times (plenty of those the last few years) and I think about how afraid I was at not knowing what life was going to be like on the other side of each situation. I'm thankful for the friends that helped me and the kind words that lit my darkest moments. Things did turn out okay. Not perfect. Not anything I could've imagined. But here I am... on the other side. And it blows me away that it has all happened in such a short span. I'm so happy for you and your family for coming out of this year with a beautiful story. I love you for sharing your heart with us this whole time. Sugar Jones’s last blog post..Freedom and Independence
  5. 796688 Wednesday - 06 / 04 / 2011 Reply
    What a lovely day for a 796688! SCK was here

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