My coworker passed away tonight. News travels fast and, it seems, bad news spreads especially quickly. It will be a sad group that arrives at the office on Monday. Fortunately, I am off that day. This sort of news and how people will mourn can catapult me into darkness. Tuesday won’t be much better but at least the initial shock will have worn off. Those first raw conversations will have been replaced by numbness as people reflect on how brutal cancer is.
It is brutal, it is arbitrary, and it is shattering. Life turns upside down in one fraction of a second. You hear the words and everything drops away around you. I vividly recall when Kevin got his diagnosis. We went to the hospital for a pain in his back. He left 12 hours later with a death sentence. But that moment when the doctor came and sat with us to tell us what the pain truly was, I remember so well. His words, cancer, advanced cancer, stage 3 at minimum. That moment in time felt both long and short, the time and place we were in seemed to stand still. Everything fell away in that one moment of time. The noise and the chaos of the hospital, we didn’t hear it. We just looked at each other. The shock of the moment created a connection through pain. There is no thought, just pure anguish.
We went home, we were far different people than left that house 12 hours earlier. Prepared to fight, scared beyond words. And so it began for us. It ended, just as it did for my coworker and her family today. Heartbreak, desolation and despair. Dark days and darker nights. Here I am two years down the road and I still find that the darkness can press against me. You never stop loving, you don’t.