The last time you fought cancer, Aunt, I was away from home. I wasn’t under the cloud perpetually weaving through the hills, watering the moss growing on Oregon rocks, Oregon trees, and (sorry to say) Grandpa’s roof.
No, I was in DC, and, like most everyone living in DC, I was preoccupied with staying alive while driving on I-495.
Coming home after many months away, though, does have its advantages. I sometimes notice changes the others do not. After arriving home for Grandpa and Grandma’s 50th anniversary party and seeing you for the first time in months, I knew right away that you were different.
Sure, there were physical changes, both positive and negative – I think I made a comment about how nice your hair looked and you laughed at me for not recognizing it as a wig – but the change I sensed went deeper than physical change.
You were happier. You had confidence. You know, you may have even had moxie.
Cancer is beastly. Yet you took its beastliness and turned it to beauty and strength. You knew yourself better. You knew what you didn’t want out of life, and, even better, you knew what you did. So you have done something about it. You applied to college. Smarts aren’t exactly in short supply in the Fox family, and you want to cultivate your share of them. You have furnished a home and planted a rose garden. And you loved and cared for Grandma as she fought her own battle against cancer.
In short, you have walked the path of the cross of Christ. He entered into our suffering not to eradicate it but to transform it into hope. How? Who knows. It’s a mystery, and yet I think you know something of it. Your life is evidence of it.
And, spitfire that you are, we all know that life ain’t over yet.
Godspeed to you as you begin these next few weeks of radiation therapy. Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us all.
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