When it rains, it pours.
Bad news comes in threes.
Luck is on loan.
I’m a bystander this week. In my circles, people were hit again and again with bad news. We received too many important phone calls. An email. Word-of-mouth deliveries.
A death. A diagnosis. A death. Hospice. Another death.
When the Zimmerman verdict was announced I was conceptually outraged, but I couldn’t feel anything.
I’m a slow reader so getting through The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s tome on the history of cancer, is a time-consuming process. My book club discussed it last month. But my slug’s pace may be appropriate for the tick-tock progress Mukherjee describes in his book. Over and again he recounts the lure of the disease for scientists through the centuries. Fascination, horror, awe, devastation and hope all accompany doctors’ relationships with patients and with the disease itself. Mukherjee makes miniature connections throughout the book, showing the ways these doctors are, ultimately, like cancer: dogged and brash and able to make a comeback. When theories are ravaged, they are devastated. Then they turn and pick up the gauntlet again. It’s a macabre dance between a group of diseases and the hopeful and arrogant and convinced and deferential researchers and clinicians who seek to obliterate what they don’t yet understand.
So it is. I don’t understand any of the pain and fear I’ve been privy to this week. So much the better that I carry on with my plans to take a break from the computer for a few weeks while we enjoy the sun, attend to the yard, travel and celebrate. In August I’ll be back with photographs (one of my self-therapies) and time to cook.
Here are the ever-bearing raspberries we’ll eat as we go. In their second year, they’re yielding about a pint a day from the six plants we put in last year. Eating them is an immediate comfort as is picking them. We will continue to do so, meditating on the pain and on the role of consolation.
Love to you all. I’ll see you in a few weeks.