Death and Life
While we were waiting for the results from my biopsy, we received the news that Mike’s uncle had passed away. He had been fighting cancer valiantly for three years and his time had come to an end. The last of Mom Kemper’s siblings were gone.
Bob had had a good life, a wonderful wife, and a great son. They were with him as he died. A good life, a good death. Still, it’s hard to accept the news.
I was at the studio when I got the call. My surgeon has me under some restrictions but I can still putter around with paper and pen. After the phone call, though, I wasn’t feeling very creative. The sun was shining so I went for a walk, trying to sort through my emotions. There is the promise of spring in the crips air, but I couldn’t really soak that in.
Loss is inevitable - a part of life. I’ve certainly experienced my share of it over the years. I won’t say it’s easier but I am starting to accept it more.
Is that a sign of growth?
The next call was from the surgeon. She called me personally to let me know the lump was cancer free. So thankful for that news.
Life and death in one afternoon.
I was sitting in my gown, talking with Mike as we waited for the surgeon to return. It was nice to have him with me. He sat there clutching my clothing as if it were a teddy bear.
“You can put that in the chair,” I suggested.
“Nah, it gives me comfort,” he said and smiled.
I grinned back. This might be nothing, but it also might be serious. All we had at the moment was each other.
“Do me a favor,” I said. “If this turns out to be serious and you find yourself on your own again, please don’t marry someone twenty or more years younger than yourself. That’s so cliché.”
He laughed. “Honey, I don’t have that kind of money.”
I gave him a look. “It’s not always about money. Just keep it in a ten year bracket.” We’ve witnessed several public mid-life crisis, seemingly always ending up in marriage to someone significantly younger. And while I honestly hope for the best for all involved (including, and possibly especially, for former spouses) it is often not a rosy picture after a few short years.
But the surgeon came back and our conversation was cut short. I was in this examining room because of a small lump in my left breast. Upon examination and looking at the x-ray, she said, “It’s very close to the surface and if you don’t want to wait I can take it out today. We can get it down to the lab right away for examination.”
We were little stunned and it took a moment to register. This was supposed to be a brief consultation and to schedule a biopsy. This was great news. “Let’s do it!”
So the lump is out and on the way to the lab.
We are thankful for this small mercy.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.