Early this morning I received a phone call from my mom. When I saw her name on the caller ID and the fact that it was long before noon, I knew there was something wrong. Mom, like me, is not a morning person. Alas, she was calling with sad news: her dear friend, the lady that, years ago, I had once assumed would be my mother-in-law one day, had passed away. Marilyn had been battling cancer fiercely from the time she found out it had invaded her tiny dancer's body. This strong, vivacious woman who embraced life with all she had was not about to take this nasty disease lying down. She fought as hard as her little body would allow, and then some. Despite that, and all the love and support of her beloved family, she succumbed. It makes me angry - the unfairness of stupid cancer and the havoc it wreaks in families. I want Cancer to be an entity, a big giant, horrifying monster that I can attack with all my strength and rancor. Beat it, bash it, stab it while sobbing hysterically until I am completely spent. I am sick of finding out that people I love have received that devastating diagnosis. I am sick of hearing from every single person I know that cancer has infiltrated their families too. Why, oh why can't we figure out how to eradicate this beast?? Slay it once and for all so that it can't rob a single other person of his or her light and life.
My daddy lost his battle with Asshole Bastard Cancer on April 6th of this year. He was 68 years old. He died shortly after my brother told him that Mike's wife Monika was pregnant with Dad's 4th grandchild. It was heart-wrenching for Mike and I to realize that Dad would never meet this baby. Never hold him. Never beam his shining smile down into that precious little face. Cancer had stolen more than we were prepared to lose. Dad was the last of our family to have knowledge of the Old Country, our grandma, and the old family traditions. The last to know the Ukrainian language, to relate the stories of when he and his parents arrived in the US and all the things they went through during the war before they moved here, and then after they landed in their new home. The last person with whom we could share our memories of our culture, our family, our special experiences.
There are innumerable incidents that can throw us off of this ride that we call human life. Other than extreme old age, nothing that takes our loved ones away from us is fair. Whether you expect it or not, whether a person passes from disease or misfortune, losing someone is awful, life-altering, and emotional. The spirit that enlivened the physical body of the person you loved has retreated from its imperfect human form and, I believe, lives on in another place. This belief doesn't really make me feel any better about losing my daddy, or my grandma, or Marilyn...but it does give me comfort to know that Miserable Douchebag Fucker Cancer did not ultimately beat the souls of these unique humans who are no longer Earth Riders with those of us who are left behind. Bless you, Marilyn. May your beautiful soul be free to dance for all time.