Thursday, April 5, 2007

An Eye to the Future

Time is a lot of the things people say that God is. There's the preexisting, and having no end. There's the notion of being all powerful--because nothing can stand against time, can it? Not mountains, not armies.
And time is, of course, all-healing. Give anything enough time, and everything is taken care of; all pain encompassed, all hardship erased, all loss subsumed.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Remember, man, thou art dust; and unto dust thou shalt return.
And if Time is anything akin to God, I suppose that Memory must be the Devil.
Gabaldon, Diana. (2005) A breath of snow and ashes. New York; Random House.
And so this is how Diana opens the sixth book in her Outlander series.  If the rest of the book is anything like the prologue, I didna think I'll be disappointed.  The only bad thing about reading Diana's books is the way her characters rub off on me; after a while I start talking like a Scot, using words like wee, bairn, kent, didna. Or maybe it's all a precursor to the Scottish Highland Games we'll attend in July.  :)  Either way, I am ready, willing, and able. 

Awakened from a long winter sleep, our contorted filbert reaches up toward the sky with renewed energy.
We just got back from delivering Dilynn's Easter basket to her, she had to sample everything before we left. I packed it with two baby animal books, a Beatrice Potter DVD collection, Dora the Explorer no-spill bubble blower (with Boots the monkey), M & M's, Reese's, Kisses, Pepperidge Farms Goldfish, Mini-pringles, and Marpoles (marshmellows).  We left her on a bit of a sugar rush.  Ah well, that's my job as Granma.

I've a bit of a dilemna and the answer, on the surface, should be easy.  But it's not.  I'm stuck betwix a promise I made to my father on his death bed, and giving someone hope.  How can that be?  In the days just before my father's lucidity slipped away, we had a conversation; a brief dialogue that I am inextricably bound to.

It was just the two of us in his hospital room, a simple quiet moment and I was watching him sleep while a thousand memories flowed seamlessly through my mind...and my heart wondered about the thousand and one memories of my life I'd face without him.  He woke, cringing from the pain inflicted by the cancer growing in the bones of his now fraile body.  I watched, feeling helpless, wholly unable to stop the wretched jolts that sublimated his spirit and brought tears to my eyes. If only I could ease his pain. Overcome by the look in his eyes, I announced to him my plan to support the American Cancer Society; even if they could no longer help him, they could still help another.

No.  Don't waste your money he told me.

It's not a waste.

Honey...keep your money.  You need it more than they do.

But I want to help them find a cure.

He turned away from me, this man who for years fought his battle so bravely, who refused to accept his illness as a death sentance and chose to live with vigor without burdening those he loved with his hardship.  He turned away and slowly told me they will never find a cure. Doctor's make too much money off people with cancer. Finding a cure would cut off the flow to their pockets.

I was silenced, because deep down inside I knew he was right. But...with or without a cure, the Society serves a purpose for the patients and their families.

He turned back to me with a look of profound intensity. Keep your money. You need it more. Do something for yourself.  Just promise me you will never donate your hard earned money to any cancer charity.


Honey, promise me.


Promise me.


Our eyes met.

I promise.

Three days later he was gone.

And now I find myself looking back on that day and the promise I made, grappling with my conscience (a promise is a promise, but a death bed promise...well, that is sacred ground).

Last year a co-worker's father was diagnosed. And I've recently learned the close associate of a couple of friends is ill.  The call to support the fight for a cure has been voiced.  I hear it, I recognize it. And I hear my father's words as well as mine.

It's true then, Memory must be the Devil.



"Beauty can't amuse you, but brainwork...reading, writing, thinking...can."

~ Helen Gurley Brown

Beauty inspires us but it is the active imagination that keeps us going. Be sure you spend as much time on your mind as you do on your looks.





pixiedustnme said...

No disrespect to the ACS intended - they do some wonderful things.  But you can certainly find a better cause to give your money to.  Research some local charities and find one where almost all the money is turned back around into helping your neighbors.  Or is research is your passion - find someplace that turns most of their money into research dollars.  Check with your local hospital and see if there is a charity that outshines the others in giving back to people in your community with cancer.  It will surprise you what you might find :-)  

I wish you and your wonderful family a very blessed Easter.

ajquinn354 said...

I agree with what the previous j-land commentor said about possible choices to go.  Like you I have lost loved ones to cancer and have several friends and neighbors dealing with it at this time.  Know you made a promise to your father....also understand your mixed emotions on this.....if you want to help with ACS, volunteer to help out at their facility, visit with folks at hospice facilities, do a Run for Cancer.....these are options without giving money that can really be helpful.  Arlene (AJ)

stupidsheetguy said...

I know that you find yourself in a mess here, because I know your heart would lead you to reach out where you see appropriate, but your loyalty to your Dad, and your integrity in keeping a promise sure has to be tearing at you here. Maybe look into that program "Chemo Angels". It can be very rewarding. Or donate directly to the hospitals in your area. They have many ways to do so.

Good luck

Never know when I'm gonna be on or off, so I wanted to be sure to wish you a Happy Easter!


queenb8261 said...

Sounds like a good Easter.  As far as wanting to do something for ACS.   As your previous commentors have said, you could volunteer. ANd if you don't have the time to volunteer, perhap another charity has touched your life and you can donate to them, if you feel it disrespectful to donate to ACS, because of your Dad. I hope you resolve your dilema and do what is in your heart.
Hugs, Barb