I wondered why it seemed so irrelevant to me, all this while. They had propounded philosophies, built stories, constructed morals, lessons. And to me, it only expressed itself with a gracious simplicity: happiness and love. That is all I ever made of it, and thought I lived on stable ground: an easy flatland, serving and eternal--like love was an immediate favor. But now, at the verge of uncertainty, hanging there precariously….I felt terror whip through me like flashes of blinding insight. Again, again and again. Distress was never more sudden.
Is it possible for a single day to change your entire existence? One word: Cancer. One thought: let him live. One hope: God. One binding force: Love. One expression: I cannot do without.
Papa has cancer. Papa has cancer, Papa has cancer….
And today morning, the only thought that occupied me was which eye-shadow would suit wedding wear. Sure. Life can change, and in a split second, take a turn of magnanimous proportions. There is such a brutal beauty to everything. And the wonder, the anguish, the hurt, the questions, the fear of it all, left me in the dark. Literally.
I tried not to be loud with the crying, as grandmother’s steady breathing ensured she was finally asleep. They had tried to be as consoling as humanly possible, but this was way beyond absolute repair. Shock is not an easy thing to handle, especially when it comes unexpected.
The soft blue curtains billowed, and the eerie other world into which I would never anymore belong stared back at me: an indistinguishable veil of velvet black feeding the blindness. Every soul, every neighbor, every known face would wake up and walk these streets to enjoy a normal day tomorrow, but I knew mine wouldn’t be the same. The unfairness was profound. As was the determination to endure and emerge: victorious. God would be the only friend.
That was going to be the longest nights of my life, bleak, degreeless and expanding to accommodate the daggers of questions that I threw at the invisible walls, at the past, at fate. It was unending and unbelievable that the scepter of longevity now rested in the hands of this evil disease, trickling through the blood of my favorite person in the whole wide world: authority with the totally wrong agents. I knew that I had no choice but to stand up, be brave and put on a fight. It was time to awaken a new me, uneasily called forth.
The violence of emotion rattled everything. There was only this darkness, this pain, this reality. The terror crawled up and through me: I’ve never known how to be brave, or responsible!!!
I didn’t want to be noble, the valiant one who is affected by all the woes in the world. I didn't wish upon such things as a child. This wasn't like a choice. I just wanted things to be normal again: things I had never been grateful for, but now knew that I would be. I wanted to travel the world with Papa, to laugh with him, to talk to him right, to do him proud, to be his proud daughter, to live, love and celebrate every little thing that we've ever shared...to be able to sit with him and go over a huge mound of dusty albums and go, "See, papa, we've done all these amazing things together! Isn't our life awesome?"
The torment was raw, as the night sky changed from the velvet to somber gray, to pink to ochre—with an approach of a new dawn, knowledge dawned like a solace.
There wasn’t much, but there was faith: we would pray, we would cure, we’d be together….and that was enough for the light to shine upon us and melt the wispy clouds of doubt away. I couldn’t care for the statistics, the words, the science of it all. I just knew….I knew that in the back of my heart, we’d heal, papa. And for all it’s worth, I knew that from today, I wouldn’t take life for granted.
Because I’ve always loved you.
And because in the end, the sun will shine upon us.
And today papa, I'll say that we've come a furlong far. Hang in there. I'm with you and I love you so much that you wouldn't believe it! :)
Because even though everything seems painful, insane, pointless, or downright scary, I'm right in saying that in the end, we wake up from every nightmare that we endure.