Readmitted to the hospital, a flurry of doctors and orders attend to her. They cannot stop the pain or nausea, venting the tube that feeds chemical food no longer helps. It was her greatest fear, that the end would be ugly, the two year fight spent devoted to laughter and joy of the moment. Her partner writes, “They have to stop the pain and nausea. She must let go in peace.”
Writers, poets, artists and sculptors spend hours, days even months perfecting their craft, each sentence, word, stroke and pause. I would not think the birth of the heart’s pouring ever made it untouched, perfected and edited to those who would behold. I giggle to think of the Christian creation story where God created the world and humanity, and pronounced, “It is good.” God did not say perfect. From birth, like the birth of the heart’s creativity, we feel perfection is the standard and edit, retouch, throw away, scrap, rewrite our lives to conform to that anonymous standard of perfection. We forget that precious moment of birth when with the first cry, the newborn is recognized by heart, body, soul and mind as ‘simply perfect.’ We lose that moment and parents, child, society and institutions begin to edit.
With ports, shunts and god knows what else, she swam with the dolphins, dove into the sky from a plane with her brother holding her hand, she flew in a side car to sit by the waterfalls, friends four-wheeled her wheel chair to Lake Superior’s shore with a handmade grabber so she could gather agates, she planted perennials and trees that will not sprout til next year. She did not edit neither has she allowed the cancer to edit. Each moment, each pause, word and painted stroke perfect in itself.
“Hiiiii, thiiiis iiis my stuttre hadn taht yiiii do not see. Thiiiis iiis teh way my eys see adn my hadns wriiiet befoer Iiiii work throuuiiihg teh iiiniiital scriiihces of my heart to leaaev hre for any taht may seee.”
An unedited offering to the Sweet Hands of Life, naked and unshielded, that Annie may have her peace and that her courage to live unedited will continue in the lives she has touched. I take my stutter hand from its closeted pocket where it is hidden, and take yours in mine, Annie. As you said, ‘We all have our cancers.’ “Lettiiiinng go iiiin peaec…….unedddiiiiide.”