This is my 100th blog post! I’m pretty sure it’s more writing than I’ve done in the whole rest of my life put together. I would be totally daunted by the idea of writing this many pages if that was the task I set for myself. Like everything else, it’s doable when tackled a little at a time. Writing is hard, but not as hard as some things.

I had some administrative business today at one of the Kaiser Permanente medical offices. Walking back to my car, I passed right by the Radiation Oncology Center. In the adjacent parking lot I saw a couple painstakingly stepping down from a van; she was leaning on a cane and he, well, he was just leaning. The man looked roughed up. Exhausted. Spent.

The devotion and concern they felt for each other was palpable; it lay across and around the two of them like a worn old family quilt. I felt time stand still for a few seconds as I watched them gather themselves together and prepare to make the short walk into the building.

“Excuse me,” I heard myself say. I was fumbling in my bag for the hundred I had stashed there. “Are you folks in a hurry?” “Yes,” the woman answered. “Yes, we kind of are.” She stole a glance at her husband, who was standing quietly next to her. “Well, I don’t want to keep you, but I’m hoping you’ll do something for me,” I said. “What’s that?” the woman asked. I told them about honoring my mom by making gifts in her memory, and I handed the woman the hundred.

“Oh, my!” she said. “Thank you! Thank you very much!” She said they were on their way for radiation treatment and glanced at her husband again. “What is it, baby, you have six more?” He nodded weakly. “This has been the roughest week,” he admitted.

I told them about the blog and they let me snap their photo but asked me not to publish it. “A lot of people are scared of the word ‘cancer’,” she explained. They were afraid it would threaten their business for people to know that he is sick. “This will come in real handy, actually,” the woman said with a faint smile, holding up the hundred dollar bill.

They both shook my hand and, with my hand in his, I felt a glimmer of the man’s strength: diminished but not depleted. “What’s your mother’s name?” the woman asked. “So we can keep her in our prayers.”  “Gina,” I said. She looked me in the eye. “Well, what a lovely way to honor her. She must have been quite an amazing person.”

As I turned to walk away, I saw them set out toward the building. She had her cane in one hand and his large hand in the other.



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2 Responses to The Roughest Week

  1. DJan says:

    As usual you are able to bring tears just thinking about these two special people. Congratulations on a hundred posts! Lucky number if you ask me 🙂

  2. Zenobia says:

    Like people who watch PBS without subscribing, I have been following you for quite awhile. As a blogger myself I know that you are doing this largely for yourself, but I also know that it doesn’t hurt to know others are with you. I love the way you bring us into the picture and the way you share your experiences, but most of all I admire the way you respect each of the recepients.

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