From ‘b’ to ‘c’ to ‘eff’ to “Why?”


Nice way to start a blog, huh? If you caught my last ‘b’ themed blog entry, the words “blue”, “busy” and “blognostic” played key roles in it.  Cancer is not a ‘b’ word. But it certainly accounts for my ‘blue’ mood of late.

I had tuned into Sun Country 99.7 this morning for the morning show.  Our daughter, Tanya (@tanyaryanmusic), joined Jody Seeley to host a radio auction to raise funds for a local family. At the heart of this family is a young mom who has Stage 4 cancer.  An amazing woman… with an amazing story… and an amazing four-year-old son (more).

As I waited for the auction to start, “Chatahoochee” by Alan Jackson came on. This upbeat, catchy tune reminded me of another brave lady; my cousin D. On Tuesday, D was moved to a Hospice in Regina; yet, another victim of that horrible, unrelenting ‘c’ word.  D loves Alan Jackson and “Storage Wars” and “Two and Half Men” (and I would bet that she loves “Duck Dynasty” – my latest obsession). Her taste in music and TV shows is a testament to D’s wonderful wit and sense of humor. D was more than my cousin when we were kids – she was like a sister to me.  We got into all sorts of mischief that undoubtedly sent our parents and grandparents spiraling into madness at times.  For the record, we did have fun.

And did I mention that she saved my life once? I remember it as clear as if it happened yesterday. We were at a family reunion when I was four or five. A whole gaggle of us cousins/siblings were playing in the grandparents’ yard and I found a pail of fertilizer along the side of the house.  For some reason I thought that the fertilizer was ice shavings and I was going to eat it (Yep, I know. Not too bright.)  D grabbed the poisonous pail from me, set her fist on a bony little hip,  shook her finger at me and told me I was a stupid idiot. She then promptly tattled on me.  Although I didn’t actually eat any of the fertilizer, I was hauled off to the hospital and had to have my stomach pumped. It was traumatizing.

Anyway… back to Alan Jackson.  As the melodic beat of “Chatahoochee” resonated off the walls around me this morning, I thought of D and picked up my phone to text her sister C.  C and I have been texting back and forth in the previous days.  Me sending messages of love and encouragement… C keeping me up on the day-to-days… This morning, I wanted C to tell D that I had heard Alan Jackson and was thinking of her but…

It was too late. She was already gone.  D passed peacefully away late last night.

Cancer is not a ‘b’ word (but it can certainly make one ‘blue’).  And it’s more that just a ‘c’ word. It’s an eff-word which begs the question “Why?” Today this word feels like the worst word there is.  You can’t swing a cat without hitting someone who is afflicted with or affected in some way by this terrible disease.  I have lost so many loved ones to this disease.  My sister. My mom. And now my cousin.

D saved my life once.  At least that’s the way that I like to think about it.  But I couldn’t save her from the ravages of this sh*t show we call ‘cancer’.  I wish that her kids could have their mom back.  I wish that D’s husband K could have her back. I wish that her sister and brother could have her back.  I wish that her parents could have her back.  I wish that we could all be saved from losing any more loved ones through this awful disease.

D was an uncompromising personality; she was honest and forthright.  A ‘no bull-sh*t’ kinda gal.  I loved that about her. D will be missed.

“A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.” Marion C. Garretty