Sara Whitman

No Running Away

Filed By Sara Whitman | May 19, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: cancer treatment, chemotherapy, ill family member, sick sister, stay in the present

The chemo was hard, very hard for my sister. It's hard to accept such poison is actually going to help her in the long run.

running.jpgA very long run, as in marathon, not 5k.

We talked last night about how to be positive, how to stay in the moment. It's not easy. My mind races to what ifs, when... of course her mind is doing the same. It's normal to be scared.

I was in Chicago over the weekend for a conference. It was easy to be there and totally forget all that is going on.

Or so I thought. I know I was running away from reality. On the plane yesterday, sitting on the runway for a mere two hours waiting for something to be fixed, the recycled, stale air brought me back to the real world.

My sister is dying. Not today, not tomorrow, or even this year. There are more treatment options after the chemo and she'll do anything to feel better.

It reminded me of when my mother was dying. Slowly, for years, but in the last few months, I was painfully aware this time would be it. No fabulous, remarkable recovery was going to happen.

My mother was so mean to me, it was easier to let go. Her body wracked with pain, it was a relief when she finally slipped into a coma and shortly after died.

It won't be like that with my sister. I love her too much.

I started to cry. It's odd to be sitting on a plane, surrounded by strangers, having such an intense moment of recognition.

Worse when they hear you snoring, though. I did that later.

I stopped myself. Here I am, racing down the road of writing the story before it happens. Stop it. Be here. Now. We have five more months of treatment before we even have a clue to it's effectiveness. Calm down.

Being thoughtfully in the moment is the biggest gift I can give my sister. I know that. It doesn't mean not having discussions about how she wants the rest of her life to look.

It means not being afraid of the future. Not acting impulsively- which is a huge challenge for me. I want to take care of, fix, make better... I can't.

When I got home, I raced out to Ben's track meet. Jeanine was there with Jake and Zachary. I walked up and they were wrestling away, as always. I felt my heart come home. And then, the magical song of the ice cream man played and those two stopped mid-wrestle as if in a cartoon. They came running over- ice cream man! ice cream man!

That is my life today. It is about the ice cream man, track meets, and family dinner. It is about meeting with the MA Senate president tomorrow and telling her trans rights bill or no support from me. It is about my friends, going shopping for fabulous flowers, talking about politics, parenting and the wonder of how socks go missing in the laundry.

It is about holding my beautiful wife at night, being grateful for how much love I have.

And it is about my sister's journey.

A good friend told me to buck up. Stay present. Focus on you and what you can do.

I'm trying.

No story writing, just an even pace. Lots of love, compassion and kindness.

No running away. This is a marathon of holding, staying in place.

Like I said, I'm trying.


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Sara there is healing power in love. Use all that you have. I send you blessings and love to pass along.

I love you. That's all I can say. But know that you're always in my thoughts and I'm sending you positive energy.