I just finished reading my cousin Jan’s book. The impact of which took me by surprise. It has made this week a journey into darkness and back out into the light. I visited places I had tucked away, sort of put into their own little file drawer with admonitions to remain there in quiet submission to my will to keep them silent. It took me three days to read, being forced to stop at times from my deeply emotional response to some of the visions she related conjoined to my own memories of the same times.
See, my cousin had the childhood, the Mom, the life I always wished I had. She had the very best Mom in the whole world. She said to me once that all her friends wanted her to be their mom. So did I. Her house was warm, friendly, accepting and spontaneous with the joy of being alive. In contrast my own was cold, dark, unacceptance of any differences and there was only fleeting moments of what pretended to be almost joy. At her house the first step across the threshold was a step into the warmth of love.
The parts in her wonderful book of survival and hope and faith and love triumphing were uplifting to my lagging spirit. The description of her husband’s loving walk beside her in their fight against breast cancer was a glimpse into what loving someone looks like in the living. I always knew Dave was a gem, but the glimpse into the days and weeks and months of their battle together showed me his true mettle. Every woman should be blessed with that kind of man beside her through everything life dishes out.
The unsuspecting blind-siding came from my own memories sneaking out of the file cabinet I stuffed them into. I think I felt sorry for myself, a tiny pitty party, for my lost childhood. Mine was lost in abuse. In almost every level one can imaging. Emotional, sexual, some physical but definately the other two. I learned at a very young age that life hurts. When Jan related stories of her, to me, fairy tale childhood my lack of it bounded out.
But, I kept reading. I wanted to read more, to return to that California bungalo up on 5th street in Escondido of the early 60’s. I still think of those three years we spent together in the sleepy little burg as “my childhood”. It was the best part of it.
Her comments of her Dad helped me to remember my own father. I lost contact with him in ’59 when my Mom and two brothers and I moved to Escondido, afer he and my Mom were divorced. That drawer of memories was opened up by me. Memories of being carried out to the car by Daddy, me pretending to be asleep. I think all Daddy’s in that time in the 50’s were pretty much cut of the same cloth. Jan’s Dad and mine would have probably been great friends, both loved to dance and enjoy life while working hard at their jobs.
I was once again devastated that my wonderful cousin had to have that insidious disease. I felt helpless then and again reading about the struggle she had in her fight. And I felt the overwhelming guilt that I could not drop everything and be there to walk with her also. Now, five years later, she has been ‘released’ back to her regular doctor. Thanks be to God!
I leaned from her to take better care of myself, to eat much better–mostly organic, to exercise everyday, to love openly with all my heart and to take each day as the gift that it is. As she was recovering and getting stronger from breast cancer, she came down to help me after hip-replacement surgery. Her giving, loving heart is our world’s greatest treasure.
Whoooohooooo!!!! She is cancer free!!!!! Good job Jan and Dave, Emi and Cali-cat!!!