I’m alone downstairs in the quiet relative darkness of our home, thinking about May 27, 2016. Today. Versus May 27, 2009, the day I was told that yes, the lumps in my breast were cancer.
It’s a beautiful night tonight. There’s a slight breeze, with silhouettes of swaying trees barely visible against the dark sky. The oppressive heat of earlier has dissipated; the air conditioning units are also quiet, gone to sleep for the night, too. Fergus lies across the room on his bed, vigilant, watching me type, likely wondering why I’m not already in bed. It’s because I’m thinking. Trying to remember what this night is like compared to the same one seven years ago.
The comparison lies in the weather. It was a beautiful night that night, too. I was at a friend’s house for the evening with a large group playing a mindless game called “Bunko.” My head wasn’t in it, so thank goodness the focus was on the social; but then again, my head wasn’t in that either. I was waiting for news I already knew wasn’t going to be good. Not that I was being negative. I wasn’t. I just knew. Knew from the two weeks of concerned physicians, intense ultrasonographers, hurried tests, and general quiet. Everyone and everything had become suddenly quiet.
So that part is the same, too. The quiet. But back to the weather, the hush. The night air when I stepped outside Laura’s house and onto the porch when the surgeon’s late-night phone call finally came. The breeze as I sat on her front steps, trying to absorb every word he was saying but not knowing what anything he said meant. I didn't know the words. I didn't know the future. The trees swayed as he spoke.
The contrast of seven years' time lies inside. I gladly celebrate going to bed in gracious peace this evening. Seven years ago, I am quite sure I didn’t sleep on May 27 nor many of the nights that followed for quite some time. Tonight, my family rests around me, and I am grateful for their comfort and the ease in which they breathe softly, soundly. Sunflowers brought by my best friend, Katherine, bloom in water to my right, open to the night and still bright as the dark clock ticks somewhere behind them. Seven years of memories I didn’t know I would get to make, share, and discover will dance in my head as I crawl under the covers and repeatedly give thanks for time, precious time.
Fear is a whisper tonight instead of a scream, and I’m thankful for that, too.
So here’s to another May 27th I am so very blessed to see. Its greatest gift this time around: quiet. Quiet great and small.