Since COVID is the closest thing I’ve experienced to a cancer diagnosis and the reality that followed, I thought I’d share some of my Truths. In hopes that they help calm, affirm, whatever. 

Here’s what I know about cancer:

-That I had no choice. I couldn’t go over, I couldn’t go under it, I needed to go through it.

-That it hurt. 

-That it stirred in me a sacred perspective which allows me to know pain and glory deeply, fully, truly.

-That the surgeons’ carvings left deep holes. Holes that invited my understanding. And when your depths become known, so too do your heights. Cancer allowed me to know just how low, and just how high I could go.

-That we cannot do it alone. Never alone.

-That “normal” will never return. A quick glance at the mirror or the selfie mode on my iPhone reminds me of that—so many scars. When I inhale, still, it burns slightly—chemo killed little bits of lung. The new normal felt scary at first, and it made me angry, but once I nestled in the breathing didn’t hurt so badly.

-That I was scared constantly. And peaceful constantly. In the same breath.

-That there was a date, dates, markers, that would forever require honoring.

-That there were moments I had crumbled into such unrecognizable pieces I was sure it was all over; and death sounded like the sweetest relief.

-That I learned about my community and what they were (and were not) capable of.

-That I learned how to eat a little more lovingly.

-That doctors are rarely healers, they handle triage mostly. They slice and stitch and read and diagnose and review and think hard — and we love and need them for that. But they are not in the business of Healing. Healing is facilitated by those who know their own depths and heights, and want that same understanding for everyone else. So they create lots of space for the digging and soaring of others.

-That even though the stitches have been removed and the bruise is faded, a human can still bleed and weep and rage and laugh and skip and build and parent and kiss and harvest and abandon in pain. All of it, still in pain. A life, pained.

-That even though the stitches have been removed and the bruise is faded, a human can still bleed and weep and rage and laugh and skip and build and parent and kiss and harvest and abandon with joy. All of it, smiling. A life, infused with joy.

-That nothing will feel safer and real-er than Mama Earth.

-That nurses will forever captivate me with their natures.

-That the kids will be okay. That you can still love a child and be dying. And that child may have some wonky ways, but as long as you let them dig and soar they’ll be alright.

-That there is a current swirling around and we get to choose how we engage with it. We can fight it and control it and harness it or we can swirl around and make choices that people think are “bad” or “unwise” or “crazy.” But we know that actually it’s just that wild and holy current (I call it God) pulling us toward our bigger, truer selves.

-That the American healthcare system does not care about our health.

-That going into debt to get healed by the real Healers felt like the dumbest hardest thing, but it all turned out okay and I would do it again in a second because now I get to wrestle with my kids in parks on weekends.

-That the weeds will get pulled someday.

-That hydration and skilled, compassionate massage/bodywork will save us.

-That pain meds actually cause more pain than they relieve.

-That every single flower I pass deserves to be noticed. Until the end of time.

We all essentially received a cancer diagnosis in mid March. Whatever you’re feeling is normal and good and fine and hard. I am here, you are not alone. You are here, you are not alone. Inhale. Exhale. 

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When we walked through our house with the previous owner, before we purchased in March of 2015, she referred to the apple tree out back by name. Stella. I come from a lineage of gardeners and my green thumb sits securely attached to my palm, but I’ve never named a tree.

I scoffed inside.  Until Stella bloomed later that April after all the papers were signed.

Her perfumed skirt of light pink blossoms shades me every spring while I watch the fruit between her legs ripen until we harvest in October so that when Thanksgiving rolls around we’ve got apple pie.

Stella is a miracle. My miracle, every April.

This year, two days ago, Denver experienced record low temps. The green leaves on her branches are now brown and withered from the deep, deep freeze; her blossoms burned. She is a miracle that is true, but I think even Lazarus had a little more life left in him than the poor tree does at this point.

Today we entered Day 33. They’re simultaneously fighting and laughing over Legos? They’re eating nonstop. One is navigating gender identity while another is learning how not to wipe their shit after a bowel movement. One is begging me for a violin IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC and another has taken a liking to water-picking the dog. 

I knew Stella was coming and I felt calm when I remembered her scent and the sound of the bees impregnating her while I voyuered from the sofa on the patio out back.

When you’re sober it means you can’t impulsively buy face masks anymore. So you just get very excited about flowers blooming, especially during a pandemic. And then those flowers freeze. So now I’m dealing with a Sephora cart locked and loaded; I drove by Target yesterday just for a whiff. I want to eat that. I need to control this. I want to text him. How can I avoid feeling that?

What do we do when our miracles freeze to death? During quarantine? With four kids navigating gender constructs, shitty fingers, creative blocks, and animal torture?

And then…this is the bestworstbest of it…

The hardest thing to hit me in these 33 days has been a silly barren tree.

Thank You.

Who knows where her skirt and her fruit is this year. What will I do without them? How will we recover? Even Lazarus had more life left in him, I think.

Sephora will have to do. Please don’t scoff, my miracle died and left me here on the sofa with clouds rolling in again. And I can still smell the shit on her fingers…

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I decided to write again, as one does during a global pandemic.

I decided that the weight could be shared instead of constantly tugging on my own insides.

I decided that we needed a place to put the Good and the Hard.


This morning we slept it.  This morning we fought.

This morning we had to slice the PB&Js in half because there wasn’t enough bread defrosted. And we prayed for the families who have none thawing on the counter.

This morning we walked around the neighborhood, left messages of hope on that one garage with the magnetic alphabet, and followed the directions someone left for us in chalk on their sidewalk (“hop 5 times” “downward dog”). We picked small purple flowers to put in a vase near the large purple spray can of Lysol. Then we Lysoled, just a lil’.

I’m not going to edit these, because how can we edit our accounts of a new reality? To what could we compare this? Editing implies that there’s an exemplar rendition somewhere keeping watch. 

There is nothing here. Nothing but lost wages, and Europeans singing on balconies.

Nothing but an email invite from Atticus’s room mom inviting us all to a Zoom chat during lunch so the kids felt less alone, and exhausted health care workers. Exhausted grocery store clerks. Exhausted…everyone.

Nothing but humanity, resting here in the blinding Rocky Mountain sun picking at our cuticles. While the dog chomps on a large branch. While the kids stagger down the stairs after naps. While we text our siblings and our soul mates and our bosses.

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