Monday, October 16, 2006


Time. It is finite. For us.

On Friday the 13th, I discovered my vet had Cancer, had had cancer since 2001. She had won the first battle, but as Cancer is the most cunning of evils, it had come back. She has lived 1/2 of the 1-6 years of life the her doctor had given her.

The Cancer continues to make life difficult, invading her spine, ribs, and neck. She is in pain, forced to cut back on the job she so loves, her clinic, her animals.

If you see her, you see a short ball of energy. Quick, happy. If she had not left that note hanging from her office counter, such a innocuous looking note, I would never had known.

After reading the note, I was overcome with a wave of sadness and anger. The anger was what bothered me the most, rolling over and over me.

I was filled with such a boiling rage that Cancer would win yet again, that it had affected not just another life but lives. It affects not one. It affects a family, a community. We all suffer.

I wanted to see her, to hug her, to say how sorry I was, how much she will be missed, to say Gambate and all those senseless things we say when we hear the awful news that someone is dying. Remember that poem we all had to read by Dylan Thomas? It was all I could think about. I wanted to tell her "do not go gentle into that good night ". "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

But I am so glad I didn't. I think those words are more for me than for her. She sounded like she had accepted death. I would only have made her day worse by my tears and my grief. She's made some peace with the idea. For me, having just learned, my grief is new and alive.

She is doing everything in her power to live normally in the time she has left. She fights through her pain to come to work. She really doesn't need me to remind her with my sadness. So I fight through my ideas and wonder if I am doing the right thing. Should I send her a note? What would I say? And would doing this make her feel better? Is this a selfish thing on my part? What I want her to know may not be what she needs to hear.

I'm sure her main worry is for the family she leaves behind. Certainly, I am sure, she is not dwelling on what I think or do.

So for now I do nothing.


kim said...

This is never fair. These types of stories always make me feel guilty/lucky/sad/angry. I think these stories need to be heard/read/shared/told. They make you feel. Feeling is good. I'm rambling because you never know what to say in these situations. Sad...very sad.

Anonymous said...

Having had worked in the cancer center I have had the opportunity to see such courage in the face of
death. Nothing will get in the way of someone who knows they are dying to live one more day. Their
courage makes you want to live for them. To feel life, to love with the same intensity that they do knowing that time is limited. If only we all could live each day as if it were your last. You have such an insight into the complexity of life.