Sunday, August 23, 2009

the other side

This email represents one of many moments of reflection.

July 15, 2008
Subject: The other side

In some respects it seems as if we are on the other side of what happened when our lives were turned upside-down. Reflecting on these 6 months I continue envisioning a cavern, which has been an incredibly useful theme for me. When I look at the process of what I've been through with Aria it feels a little ghostly as if a play was enacted in my mind without my permission.

You see, Aria's diagnosis of leukemia felt like the most invasive, bullied, disrespectful, hard-hitting, no-apologies-accepted shove into this cavern where I found myself alone, dark, chilled to the bone, frightened and without any clear sense of where to go or what to do. While in this place, my mind was nothing but a swirl of thought and emotion all the while I was physically trying to remain upright. A path was very clearly lit for me once my eyes adjusted to this new environment but it took every ounce of energy I had to take the first step down that unknown. There were a myriad of branching paths; self-pity, empty questions, blame, unresolved anger, defiance and so forth. I knew to go down any one of those would lengthen my trip and so for whatever reason I was granted enough clarity to face forward and move slowly and deliberately. This isn't to say that I didn't rub up against any one of those paths. I did. I toyed with feeling sorry for myself. I entertained anger for a while and I even found myself asking absurd questions for which there are no answers. I think it all a very natural and unavoidable aspect of the path. I think it would be impossible to walk as I have with incredible fatigue and sorrow and not once bump into the wall of self-pity or knock your head against a little anger that seemed to come out of nowhere. These have been helpful companions offering me valuable lessons but I've chosen not to unite with them for I recognize that they are heavy loads to carry with an already burdensome pack on my back. I remember telling you about the pin-prick of light I could see that was slowly, ever so slowly growing larger. Well, I truly have reached that light and it feels as if I have pulled away a silky veil that hung separating my cavernous path from the wide-open airy rolling one I see now.

It is beautiful to be here.

Before me is a long path awaiting us but the light is brilliant. It is so tempting to take a deep breath, sigh and say, "phew! Thank God that's over with! I'm glad we're here." It would be so easy to take that gently flowing veil with me never once looking back, keeping that part of the journey in the dusty attic of my mind where I can easily pile memory after memory into a hodgepodge of indistinct thought. I could one day take a peek at that muddle and simply swipe it away with the view that "it wasn't all that bad." However, I believe in doing so, I would be doing a great injustice to Aria, who has had to endure so much more than I. So it is here that I must pause and look back for a while. As I do so, I feel compelled to extend an enormous banner of gratitude to you for allowing me this avenue of expression and documentation. I can retrace my steps through these emails acknowledging all the way the many reasons we have to celebrate without ever once dismissing, under the guise of "it wasn't so bad", any of the trials we endured. These accounts of 'keeping it real' and 'living true' have been my sustenance in many ways enabling me to carry-on one step at a time. Writing the details of this journey has been more than cathartic. It has been the tool that has allowed me to rebirth myself anew. From the womb of an old life, I tumbled through a channel of perspective that taught me how to surrender to what I cannot control. As I pushed through misery, suffering and pain, I stand before you covered in that veil of joy, gratitude and light.

As I stand ready to begin the long walk with Aria toward recovery I am consumed with belief. I believe Aria will continue to prevail. I believe she will continue to heal. I believe each step brings us closer to cure. I believe I have the capacity to walk with her come what may. I believe her life is a gift and I believe I'm learning how not to squander it. I believe the mystery of Life will continue to reveal itself and I believe I am opening up enough to pay closer attention. I believe in my strength to see the end of this phase with jubilation. I believe that you reading these emails have touched Aria in ways that has done nothing but caress and encourage her spirit. I believe in Aria. I believe in Doc, Reo and Rianna. I believe in all the many people working to help Aria reach cure. I believe in You and I believe in Me. ~j

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