If only life came with a box of Band-Aids, suitable for every life event.
a makeshift, limited, or temporary aid or solution that does not satisfy the basic or
I thought that was an interesting description, but one that did make sense. When you have a cut, you put a Band-Aid on it and while it may not heal it, temporarily it surely helps. It keeps it from bleeding, promises some protection from the world around you and gives you the sense that it is good enough…for now.
If the universe cracks, though, even slightly, there is not a lot you can do. Like when there’s an earthquake. There are suggestions of safety, like standing in the doorway of your house, taking cover under a mattress, or heading for an underground basement…but it’s certainly not the same as a Band-Aid. You don’t lie under the mattress and think, ok, we’re good here, let’s call a friend and make plans for the weekend. You don’t head for the basement and think, great, this is the perfect time to start organizing this place. No. You just can’t cover this kind of thing up and then go about your day. For sure, your day will begin again when the world stabilizes, but not until then. And even then, there may be some serious clean up to deal with at that time.
When cancer rings your doorbell though, you don’t event think to reach for a Band-Aid. Actually, you freeze. I don’t know if for a minute, or an hour, but for some period of time there is a sense of being frozen, unable to process the information that stands in front of you. This, was clearly not the kind of frozen-in-time thing I was searching for when I asked the world to freeze my life on that sunny August day.
Technically, cancer was not at MY door. It was at my mom’s door. But as far as I was concerned, her door was my door and if cancer had found her, than cancer had found me. I knew rationally that wasn’t true, but it was how it felt. There were no Band-Aids that would temporarily cover this one. There were no doorways to stand in, nor basements to run and hide in until the storm blew over. There was literally nothing we could do to protect us from this even if just for a few minutes. It was here and about to get worse.
In fact, it wasn’t just cancer. After several weeks of doctor visits, we found out it was Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer, as well as cancer in her liver. This diagnosis was the opposite of freeze…it was hurry up and start living.
How could that be? It seemed like a cruel joke. A ridiculous mistake. This was the healthiest woman you would ever meet. She didn’t eat sugar, processed foods, red meat, didn’t smoke or drink and worked out every day. This, could NOT be.
However, in spite of feeling certain that we had received someone else’s test results, we stayed in constant motion with doctors and Google searches and did a whole lot of praying. But inside, I felt frozen. I mean, to others I may have looked to be in motion, but I wasn’t. I felt as if the earth beneath me had become soft pillowy cushions. Each unbalanced step I took was more wobbly than the one before. I needed a Band-Aid. I needed something to stop the bleeding. But I kept moving. I went to work and came home. I cried and would sleep soundly as if my brain would deliberately shut itself down. I moved through my days wondering when the fog would get too thick to pass through. When my night-time shut down might blend with the daylight. I cried some more. I searched every minute for strength.
My only moments of clarity where when mom would call. Some mornings crying, some just trying to get a grip on our reality. Her reality. It was only in those moments where I felt strong, muscles appearing in my body that I didn’t know I had, the feeling that I could carry my mom around for a while if need be. It was only in those moments when I stood tall and solid, telling my mom the words I needed to hear. I reminded her to be present in this moment. To not look ahead in the midst of the unknown, but to just feel this moment. To not engage in thoughts of worry and fear, as if calling it our way, but instead to call out only what we truly wanted and needed: A Band-Aid. We just needed a Band-Aid for now, so we could figure out how to get real healing.
After all, we didn’t need a whole box of Band-Aids, we just needed one: something temporary would do. A sign that help was on the way. And then, in the place we call Paradise, with grains of sand beneath her feet, the sweet sounds of salty water out in front..hope and a Band-Aid arrived.