If I met Sheri’s cancer on the street I would spit in its face. I would go all Quentin Tarantino and the revenge would be epic. We’re talking Samuel L.Jackson and Uma Thurman and Brad Pitt and Jamie Foxx all rolled into one big ball of smack down. It would beg for mercy but I would not be swayed. (Souuunnnd guud, inglorious bastard? Yeah, CRAZY good.)
If I passed Sheri’s cancer on the highway I would gun it to about 200 miles an hour, cross over the lines in full traffic and slam on my brakes right in front of that loser. I would eject out of my sun roof right before the fiery crash, the big C reduced to a million shards of shattering glass and twisted metal just as I land safely at the Dean and Deluca wine bar to buy Sheri a glass of red. We would toast the amazing sunset that had “somehow” appeared in the distance, the blazing yellows and oranges lighting the sky over the Brookshire Freeway.
If I was sitting next to Sheri’s cancer on an airplane I would notify the undercover Homeland Security officer that there was a known terrorist in seat 11C, and I would help open the twist and toss side doors (as I earlier agreed to do when approached by the diligent flight attendant checking my readiness to assist with the emergency exit aisle. Lady, I am so ready I am about to burst . . . you have no idea) and toss that psycho out into the rolling Atlantic, right into a bevy of swirling sharks. Ooops. So sorry about that. NOT!
When someone you love has cancer, you may feel powerless as you watch her fight and struggle, and recognize that she must bear such substantial physical and emotional challenges all alone. When you see someone you care for hurting it can make you really, really mad.
But that energy coursing through your veins may prompt you to focus on trying to help – and maybe you do help, in ways that feel small . . . but that somehow, all knit together with the efforts of others in your community of concern, grows into a blanket of support that covers the rough spots and offers some comfort. As it turns out, love can be transformed into something tangible – food at the doorstep, flowers in the yard, cards that bring laughter, words of hope.
While in the midst of her own battle, Sheri once offered some thoughts about the positive things that come from cancer. She described all the ways that she felt good, with a better focus on being healthy. She talked about her superstar family, how everyone had figured out how this was all going to work: when someone had to go another relative would come to lend a hand, ensuring that the help was seamless. She talked about how much she appreciated all of the support from friends: being there for her, helping with food, picking up the kids, checking in. She said that all of that effort underscoring her fight was an amazing gift – that with all of this, all she had to do was concentrate on getting better. All. Just battle the cancer part. Still, I did understand what she was saying.
Her glad words and infectious laugh inspired me and made me think perhaps that awesome quote from Marianne Williamson just might be true: “A miracle is just a change in perspective.”
(Still, if I saw Sheri’s cancer lounging on the sidewalk, I’d squash it flat like a bug.)
A version of this post originally appeared on the blog Choosing Sunshine