This Too Shall Pass
I cannot begin to comprehend what it must be like living this in your own person.
But, as an outsider who loves you, who cares about you more than life itself, the most painful experience of this whole journey is not from fear of the future, not from worry over what may or may not be. The angst that tears at my heart some days more than others emanates from the fear that you may think that, in this struggle, in this process which rips out your hair and your stomach lining, which breaks your ability to walk and even be awake for days on end, that you may think even for a millisecond that you become even a fraction less human. The pain tearing at my own stomach lining is from worry that you may believe yourself to have even a morsel less dignity now than ever before.
You had a rough day yesterday. There will be more. I hope that today is better.
But more than that, I pray that you realize that so long as you are taking care of yourself, whatever disappointment or embarrassment you may feel from this or that “episode” is just a fleeting bump in the road of cancer’s journey. It does not define you any more than your stupid dark brown hair which for the last fifty six years has hid your beautiful, adorable scalp. You are not cancer. You are Lori Ann Levinson Singer Bolotin. You are your history and your present.
You are as amazing a mother, wife, daughter and friend as anyone could ever ask for. You are a successful fundraiser. And you are adored by so many, all of whom join you in this struggle.
You are not alone.
This morning dad came with me to minyan here at shul. And after the Torah reading it came time for my daily ritual in self-flagellation – when the gabbai prays “Mi Sheberach” and I say your name aloud in the room. I stood, as I do each day, ready to remind myself, remind my community, remind my God, that I pray for your continued strength and blessing through this journey. Though just before I could say your name – Hanah Leah bat Azriel v’Sara Bela – I heard a voice from my side say softly, “Lori Bolotin.”
I was beat to the punch. Dad stole your name from me. For a fleeting moment I was furious. How dare he!? You’re mine to pray for! I’m the child fretting over his mother! I’ve been robbed!
But after that millisecond of distorted angst passed, I realized the blessing in that interaction.
I’m not the only one looking out for you.
We’re all here with you through this, in thick and thin. Some of us are there in person, others of us relegated to far away places where all we can do to help is write emotional words on an internet site.
But do not think, for one ounce of a moment, that in any part of this journey that you are in any way alone, or isolated, or have any reason to feel any less human, any less amazing, any less yourself. Not ever. Do not you dare.
The bad days will pass, the good days will come, but we’ll all be here standing with you – energy to talk with us or not – the whole while.
This too shall pass.
I love you,