April 01, 2005

Updated: Please comment. There is still one hour and fifteen minutes left. It can be done.

Beneath my banner is a button for the April 1st Commentathon for Breast Cancer, hosted by Greg in memory and honor of his wife, Cheryl. No matter my investigation, I can't see it though I am told that everyone else can.

I find it quite ironic and surreal that I have read so much about this woman's life and her death; her loves and triumphs; her strengths and the one thing that finally overwhelmed her body, but not without a tragic and Herculean effort to overcome, and just like her person, I am unable to see this banner in real time.

She is like a character in a well-written novel, when you reach the last page of the last chapter, you want more but mourn that there will be no more, no sequels, no more stories that empty your eyes, and split your sides, and pull your own heart out through your chest, forcing examination of things hidden and things treasured.

I am sure that each woman that reads through the tomes of Cheryl that Greg has meticulously collected and views the touching, sometimes funny photos in the image gallery, feels as if she would have been one of Cheryl's close friends. I attribute that connectedness to Greg's writing of his best friend, his lover, his partner in life. In presenting her as a human being, in sharing the intimacies of her fight against her body's rebellion, he has shown her to be uniquely herself, and yet presented her as every woman. Who wouldn't take the route that she choose, disallowing depressing talk, deeming it as aiding and abetting the enemy?

The story that he unfolds isn't just about her; however, but is inclusive of his own anguish, his own fears, his own fight for his beloved. I once queried Greg as to the number of male readers, guessing it be low. He approximates it at about ten percent of the readership. Through the display of his quieted and private fears as together they make decisions about Cheryl's treatment, he admonishes strength, requires fortitude of himself, and the men who read. In the ensuing questioning of the choice of such treatment, treatment that extended Cheryl's life, but did not, indeed, preserve it, he compels honest examination of the decisions that they made, and the support he lent his wife in the pursuit of her life, and how much he should have objected or demanded, or not done, or should have done.

I simply can't imagine not being here to see my daughters grow into women. The thought of facing it pains me. The fortitude with which Cheryl fought cancer from stealing their mother from her daughters, his wife from her husband, their daughter from her parents, the sister from her sister, the friend from her dearest friends, is astounding, inspiring, and so very sad.

Greg doesn't seek sympathy and that pity that comes from trite words, although he knows the intention of most people is to be kind. He seeks to find some resolution to his frustration, his sadness, the missing of his lover and best friend. He knows that there will never be a time when he doesn't think of her, and by writing hopes to ensure that no one else will either forget her luminous beauty that transcended physicality; that no one will forget her dogged determination to defeat the disease that sought to consume her.

The thing is, Cheryl wasn't just a well-developed character in a book. Her life, and her death were very real. Help do something about breast cancer. You don't have to run a marathon, a 10K, or go door-to-door, though all of those things are profitable. Go to Greg's site, California Hammonds, as soon as 12:01 A.M. PST and leave a comment. You may say as little or as much as you wish, but just do so. Cheryl was 36 years old when cancer finally devoured her body; it took five years. It will take you less than a minute to comment- less than a minute.

Read the post for today:

I hold her head, cupped in my hands one last time, put my lips to hers, inhale the last of her warm, damp breath, her beautiful hair between my fingers soft and fine, the muscles and tendons connecting her head to her neck softly limp, her chest no longer rising, and as I loose my hold on the vessel of the most passionate, searing, inviting and challenging flame to illuminate the space between the reality of else and the place we call our own, the last, regretful beckoning sigh departs her mouth, pillowcase wrinkling, crinkling under her unpressured weight, and I walk my fingertips across her yellowed cheeks, pressing the color back to normal for a moment, kiss her eyelids, the side of her nose, her parted lips still moist but breathless once more and again, touch her swollen ankles, rub the inside of her thigh just above her left knee, clasp her hand and pull myself close against her. She is still warm. And soft. And gone. And I tell her that I have loved her forever.

She never said goodbye.

Found here.

Posted by Rae at April 1, 2005 11:59 PM | TrackBack

Wonderful, heartwarming words Rae. Thank you so much. I look forward to "seeing" you and many others tomorrow.

Posted by: Greg at March 31, 2005 11:28 PM

I posted about it again Greg, hopefully my moron readers can follow simple directions and leave a comment.

Posted by: Hector Vex at April 1, 2005 11:23 AM
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