Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dirty Little Secrets #69 & #70

#69) I cry every day.

Three years ago today it started with great, gulping breathless sobs. My brother hugged me. He shook his head in sorrow and said, "This isn't supposed to happen to people like us." I suppose he meant that we, as upper-class, well-educated fortunates should be shielded from the oddly anti-septic experience of a messy emergency room death.

I briefly snapped out of my grief-stricken fog and angrily shook my head. "Yes. Yes it does. It happens to everyone."

And that's the sad, miserable truth of it. Cancer can happen to anyone at anytime at any age.

My father's drive to educate himself did not prevent him from being diagnosed with colon cancer at age fifty. His subsequent success in the world of business did not prevent the metastasis of his disease. His access to specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Mayo Clinic did not prevent his bloody, scary, untimely death.

Worldly good fortune will never shield us from grief.

#70) I grieve guiltily.

I will never lose sight of the fact that I lost my father as an adult. Hundreds, maybe thousands of children lose parents every day. I was lucky enough, however, to have my father see me through to adulthood. He walked all three of his children down the aisle, and witnessed the first few moments of the lives of two of his three grandchildren. When I find myself in tears at the kitchen sink, thinking of the moments I have missed with him, I force myself to remember that I am luckier than others: I am an adult who lost a parent. That will happen to all of us.

I am not a child. But sometimes, I feel like one.

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