I was asleep when my thoughts rudely awakened me. In my sleep I had remembered that yesterday morning, cancer stole another life. Our little, quaint town lost its mayor. I did not know him well personally. I knew him more by reputation and through the loving words of his wife. Through those things, I know he was a man who loved his family and God fiercely.
My sleepy, barely lucid thoughts wandered from thoughts of his passing on to the level of emotional grief his wife and daughters must be experiencing. My heart ached for them. In half a second I was thinking of him not getting to see his youngest daughter graduate high school. Then, I remembered. I remembered my own personal emotional scars from losing my father to cancer. I was now fully awake. I remembered the things my father was not getting to experience because cancer stole them from him. I began to think of how much my oldest daughters have changed in the past seven years, how they have grown up to become such amazing women. I began to weep. I wept for the things my father is not getting to experience, the milestones he is not here to witness. I wept for the absence of him in our lives. I wept for my mom. Dad would be so proud of her, how strong she is. I wept for the parents who have lost a child to cancer. I wept for the McCullough family who now has to walk this path. I looked over at the clock. It read somewhere in the 4 o’clock hour of the night. I couldn’t really make out the last numbers. My tears were falling in hot drops of grief by this point. I tried to keep my breathing steady as to not wake my husband. I was unsuccessful. Out of the darkness I heard him ask, “What’s wrong?”
I could not answer for a moment. Then I replied, “I hate cancer.” He placed his hand across me. I thought of the things he and I are getting to experience together: the tough things, the beautiful things, the ordinary things we take for granted. I thought of how we often do not see the preciousness of the moments we live because we are just trying to get through life and do it somewhat well. We try to do this together with four daughters. We muddle through, somehow. I am grateful that I get to do this life-thing with him. I am grateful to be the mother of each one of my daughters. I think they have beautiful souls. Life can sometimes try me to my wit’s end, but I am glad I get to have experiences with these people.