Friday, October 26, 2012


Today is October 26th.

To some people, I suppose it's probably a birthday or an anniversary, and to them, I say congratulations.   Enjoy it.  All that jazz.

To me, it's not any of those things, though I suppose that an argument could be made that it is an anniversary of sorts.  It's also generally considered a good day to lay low in my family, avoid doctor's offices at all costs and refuse to answer the phone.

Thirteen years ago today (Jesus, has it really been that long?), I sat in an uncomfortable office chair in a sparsely decorated room and held my husband's hand when the doctor on the other side of the desk started talking about things like cancer and emergencies and tumors and surgery and that we needed to be at the hospital at 5am the next morning and did we have any questions and then he was gone.

It really went that way, it's not just my memory warping the events.  He was almost wholly devoid of bedside manner, a straight shooter if ever there was one.  He sugarcoated nothing.  

And that was okay, actually.  

And it told us this was serious.

When doctors hurry and don't give you options and have already scheduled the surgery they haven't even talked to you about yet, you know that there isn't really any time for discussion anyway and that any question that needs asked will have to wait on pathology.

These are the things you learn on October 26th.

You also learn that you can maintain your composure through the phone calls that have to be made right now.  You learn that most of them can wait.  You learn that when the life of someone you love is threatened, little else matters.  You learn a lot about people.

Three years ago today, my father heard that same group of words sitting in an uncomfortable office chair in a sparsely decorated room, my mother holding his hand.  It had taken months for them to realize that what was believed to be a rotator cuff injury wasn't.  It was a fractured clavicle because of necrotic bone tissue, decayed by what was sure to be spreading cancer.

A full diagnosis wouldn't come until after biopsies and tests and scans, but that word they started using on October 26th stuck.  It was cancer, and it would eventually kill him.

In my life, there are days that are reason to celebrate, and there are days like today.  

Days like today, I question why both my husband and father share this moment, ten years apart from one another.

Then, I am grateful.  Not for the evil beast of cancer, but for what days like today have done.

Without cancer, I wouldn't have my children - at least not these specific beings.

Without cancer, I may never have adjusted my priorities.

Without cancer, I wouldn't be so conscious of the fragility of life.

Without cancer, I would not have had a reason to spend so much time with my Dad before he left us.

And for that, I will be forever grateful.

These days, October 26th is no longer a day to be feared in my head and my heart.  It is a day to remember, to cherish, to find hope.

But I'm still not going anywhere near a doctor's office.  ;)

To my husband, I can honestly say that I never imagined this would be us thirteen years later.  We've been through so much, too much, but here we are...with a house full of kids that we never thought we'd have.  I love you.

To my Dad, I love you, and I miss you every day.  


  1. I love you times infinity and a million billion hugs <3

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, he was one of the good ones.

  3. So much love! &$@! Cancer. Sending you hugs, good thoughts and hope.

  4. stunning post. fantastic and so vulnerable. i loved every syllable. i am sorry 10/26 is so hard for you. but it has taught you well too. would that it weren't so, huh? love.

  5. Oh my word Kelly. I send you a million hugs, really good chocolate cake and excellent red wine. I think you may just be the strongest woman I know. I'm certain your father mut have been an amazing man to ave a daughter like you. And your husband? He'd be lost without you. I'm clapping for you, here on this side of the country. I'm sorry today is hard, but proud that you can embrace a new meaning for the day.

  6. "Without cancer, I may never have adjusted my priorities." This hit home.

  7. I am so sorry for your dad, but so grateful for the joy (and adorable little lives) you have blessed the world with.


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