Monday, January 28, 2008

The Heaviness of Life

Reid, with one of his treasures collected in the wild, 2007

My brother, Reid, age 56, has just been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. A nasty, large tumor in his lower esophagus has taken away his ability to swallow. He is experiencing some pain, as are the rest of us who know him and have been privileged to be part of his family and his friend. On Friday, he was fitted with a stent, which will allow him to eat and swallow the foods he so much loves. We don't yet know whether the cancer has metastisized to any other organs.

On Saturday night, Bill and I visited and had dinner with J. and her husband, long time friends of about 30 years. J. was recently diagnosed with Non-small Cell Lung Cancer. She is undergoing a course of chemo which will hopefully allow her many more years of happiness with her children and grandchildren. This particular type of lung cancer grows slowly and is not terribly aggressive, giving all of us hope for a successful recovery. These days many people live with cancer for many years, as is evident with Presidential Candidate, John Edwards' wife, Elizabeth. It was a delight Saturday evening to spend time watching J. with one of her adult daughters, realizing the closeness of the two and validating for me once again, the meaning of family.

I've spent the last couple of days in shock ... feeling like someone has struck me in the gut with a lead pipe. I'm sure I have that glazed-eye-deer-in-the-headlights look. But the visit with my friend, J., brought me much peace and the reminder that the work of life does not happen while we're sitting on a comfortable sofa reading a funny novel. It happens during the darkest of times ... in times of sadness and in times of coming together to be supportive of one another. I will drive up to New Hampshire on Wednesday to spend some time with Reid and to once again renew our ties as family.

Please keep both Reid and J. in healing light and send them prayers of love.

8 comments:

marja-leena said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear this. Healing thoughts to your brother and friend, and you take care too!

Deirdre said...

I'll hold your brother and your friend in my thoughts. Medical science learns more and has so much more to offer every day.

You will be in my heart too. xoxo

Star said...

Keeping all of you in my thoughts as you navigate these rough waters.

becca said...

I'm so sorry to hear of this fresh sadness and worry in your life. I'll be holding good thoughts for your brother and your friend.

paris parfait said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. So sorry to hear about your brother and your friend. Hope they get the best of medical care; no doubt, the love of family and friends - and thoughts and prayers from strangers like me - should help smooth the path. Sending a big hug your way. xo

Visual-Voice said...

Much light and compassion being sent your family's way.

Lucy said...

Much love and best wishes to you and yours, thinking of you.

And there will be more times of sitting on sofas reading funny novels too!

jzr said...

Thank you all for your prayers and gifts of kindness!