This morning walking to Prospect Park, I came across a family that made me want to rage. On their behalf that is.

First I noticed only mother and son walking the wide sidewalk on this beautiful summer morning with no humidity. A boy about Lysle’s age with the same length hair and, close by his side, his mom with the telltale pallor and artfully wrapped headscarf of undergoing chemo.

Passing them, I noticed that two more family members — a bearded dad and a little girl about Micah’s age — were already standing at the bus stop. Dad looked exhausted and crabby and the little girl turned after her mom who was slowly moving past the bus stop and called in a voice that I cannot come close to describing but that made me feel the need for a serious talk with God: “Ma…”

In her one quiet syllable was all the little girl’s worry and sadness for her mom who had to go sit on the nearby bench, so weakened by treatment.

I walked on. I was grateful for my sunglasses. I found a spot behind the low-hanging branches of a tree to sit and plead on their behalf that things may turn out okay. I don’t know how to address God, so I addressed life instead.

May she be cured.

May she be around to see her kids grow up.

May this little girl and her brother have their mother for many years to come.


And may cancer be damned.

And may those who deliver cancer to us in steadily mounting doses come to their senses and stop.

It is so pointless to be furious at a disease. Illness is never just a breakdown of defenses but always also a body’s attempt to cope. If only people weren’t so adept at creating and spreading poisons that push bodies past their coping abilities.

May there be a counterpoison strong enough to save this woman’s life.

On behalf of this family, I want to tell death to go take a hike, a really really long one.

4 thoughts on “Fury

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