Day to reflect on more than death

A lost day

The moment of Jane’s death six years ago stands barely an hour from now as I write this. I’ve had a miserable day, as I should have expected. I had hoped to make cookies this afternoon and do the prep work for decorating the tree tomorrow. But the afternoon dissolved into mindlessness. I should have seen this coming.

…how we can make a greater difference…

I went to a play last night–a romantic comedy I hoped would lighten my soul. It was funny if the laughter from the rest of the audience was any indication. I fought back tears, throughout. It was a play about growing old together–from wedding day to the end when only one partner remains.

Roads to recovery

Six years is a long time to mourn in the eyes of the modern world. We move so quickly from relationship to relationship, from problem to problem, from job to job. We seem committed to everything and nothing and no one. Sometimes, I think people thought Walking with Jane would prove a passing fancy–a means to heal the grief and failure I felt after Jane died. In a couple of years, I would heal and move on.

…when only one partner remains.

Yet here I am. Now some people tell me my NET cancer work and Walking with Jane hold me back from healing. That may even be right. But I can’t walk away. I know too much. I know what a cure would mean. And I know it not about faceless strangers, but about people I know and have come to care about. I know what they face in their day-to-day lives because I saw Jane’s life fighting the same disease. I know how their stories end if nothing changes.

Enter Scrooge

Each year, I go to a local theater company’s re-imagining of A Christmas Carol. Each year, I watch the George C. Scott film of the same story. I am haunted at this season of the year not only by Jane’s ghost, but by all my other ghosts as well. I know my failures intimately. And I am haunted by Scrooge’s ghosts as well. They tell me not only his story, but my own.

I know what a cure would mean.

They remind me not only of my failures, but of my successes as well. Sometimes, I focus too much on what I have failed to do–the lives I’ve failed to save. Sometimes, I focus too much on the things that have happened to me that have brought sorrow rather than joy. I understand pieces of why Scrooge became the man he became because they so resemble moments in my own.

Actions matter

Ultimately, though, I am reminded that all our actions matter. We have it in each us to save or condemn Tiny Tim–and all his brothers and sisters–or at least make the attempt. Sometimes, we will succeed and Tim will throw away his crutch and grow to adulthood. But sometimes, no matter what we do, there will be an unused crutch by the fireplace–an empty place at the table.

… I am haunted by Scrooge’s ghosts…

That we may fail is not a reason to stop trying. That the problems seem too big does not let us ignore them and walk away. We can only do the best we can with the tools we have and hope what we do will prove enough. We can’t do nothing and expect things will change on their own. If we want to save a life–any life–it is on us to do what we have to do to make that happen.

Thinking about futures

For several months, I’ve debated what to do with Walking with Jane in general–and what to do with this website, specifically. I’ve written elsewhere about how others seem to fill the niches I envisioned this site and this organization filling better than I ever have. I’ve written elsewhere about the other NET cancer oriented demands on my time. I’m still debating what precisely our purpose is in the emerging NET cancer world–a world very different from the one that existed the day Jane died.

That we may fail is not an excuse to stop trying.

I do know this website will remain in one form or another–and that Walking with Jane as an organization will not go away anytime soon. But both need more thought about their future than their past. I expect the coming months will see some changes in both in terms of content, here–and goals for the parent organization. We need, 5+ years in, to re-examine who we are and where we are going–and how we can make a greater difference in the world.

Each day is a journey down an unknown path. Sometimes we can work out where it is headed. Other times, we can't. Today's path was predictable.

Each day is a journey down an unknown path. Sometimes we can work out where it is headed. Other times, we can’t. Today’s path was predictable. It was the sixth anniversary of Jane’s death.

Posted by walking with jane on December 10, 2016

2 responses to “Day to reflect on more than death”

  1. Annie says:

    I am so sorry to learn that you still suffer so much. The relentlessness of your pain is obvious in your words. I wish the very best for you and think about how you are faring; if there was something I could say, I would say it. Perhaps 2017 will bring some hope and peace for you.