Saturday, March 25, 2017

Loss, Strength and Ben Kenobi

I didn't blog in 2016. I didn't have the time. I didn't have the strength. 

First, my mother got cancer, then my father developed terminal cancer suddenly. Then I got cancer, and then my brother got cancer. All of this happened in a six-month span last year. The day I found out that my brother also had cancer, I started screaming and screaming and couldn't stop. I think I continued screaming in my mind for a long, long time. 

All four of us, my entire family of origin, were dealing with our own cancer treatments, appointments and surgeries. Mine is thankfully gone for now. Mom's is gone for now. The same is not true for my brother or father. My father died on Thanksgiving Day with me holding his hands and my brother and mother on the other side of him, watching those last breaths. 

After that, I ran out into the woods and sat alone for hours. I spent the next four days high on pain pills, sitting in the woods by myself. I knew what this was. I knew exactly what I had to do and what life would be like. My father had been the cornerstone of us all, the one who taught us all everything, who knew everything and took care of everything. Anything you wanted to learn and anything you really needed came from him. All of that was over. I was now the man of the family. 

Ben Kenobi had to die to make Luke continue on his own, to learn and grow and take care of his own sh*t. Gandalf had to die, for a while, to leave the hobbits on their own to discover their own destinies. Dumbledore had to die to make Harry Potter a man. That's what this was. I had to take care of everyone now. Unfortunately, I couldn't leave the woods. I couldn't comfort anyone. I didn't speak to anyone for about a month and didn't write a word. 

But, strength always resurfaces. If it's there, it doesn't go away. Despite three surgeries in less than a year, I'm coming back. I've written three stories this year, and I'm discovering what it really means to be the cornerstone of a family. It means sometimes not being liked, sometimes being rebelled against and taking a hard line when needed. I've had to tell the family, Rick Grimes style, that this is not a democracy. My kids, jokingly, asked whether this was a Ricktatorship. 

You're goddamn right it is.