My favorite season has always been Fall: vivid colors of falling leaves against the tourquois sky, warm days, crisp nights – sleeping under a cozy comforter with the windows open. My memories include drives along Lake Michigan with my family to choose the juiciest Michigan apples to take home to make applesauce. They include the surprise of seeing my Dad get his one and only moving violation ticket near Michigan City for running a red light. In his defense, he thought it was a four-way stop – the only type of traffic signal in my small hometown. Nowadays, the crisp air and falling leaves mark a new transition.
In Kansas, the last week has been cloudy. And with the early evening darkness caused by the shift from Daylight Savings Time, the weather and external environment are reflections of my journey. For in the last week, my diagnosis has changed from stable disease to end stage, aggressive ovarian cancer. I’ve felt fear and pain. I’ve been embraced with kindness and compassion. I’ve known anxiety and anger. I have laughed and cried.“Living with what is” is the ultimate challenge. It is the dancing “and” … . Unless I seek to fully know the pain and suffering, I cannot fully know healing and joy. Pain and healing, suffering and joy, grief storms and peaceful calmness … I choose to allow the dancing “and” to weave the threads of my life, to fully expand my heart and soul. On Sunday afternoon as I sat among the people who will be my caregivers through my final transition from this life, I was overwhelmed by the enveloping grace and power of the love that surrounds us.