I want to share a happy memory with you. I figure, if you’re following a blog about having cancer long enough, you’ll read some painful things. I want to remember good things, too.
It was earlier this spring, March 1. My boyfriend and I had gotten up before daylight on a Sunday morning, dressed in nice clothes, and driven three hours to a Cincinnati church to see my nephew be baptized.
Monty was born in November to my brother Daniel and sister-in-law Gabby. He has big, round cheeks that make him look Daniel in pictures of him from that age.
Dressed in his tiny, blue button down sweater and camo pants, he’s already more hip than I’ll ever be.
The church is an old building that’s been remodeled. A giant mobile of God’s eyes (crafts from the congregation’s children, I’m told) hang from the wooden beams that line the church’s high ceilings. Purple light illuminates a dark wooden altar at the front of the church.
It takes both my arms to hold Monty, whom I’ve been handed before his big moment during the service. As we sing hymns, I shift his weight from my hip to my shoulder, marveling at how much he’s grown since I’d seen him last at Christmas.
When the baby gets fussy or my arms need a break, I pass him off to my mother at my right. She and dad have made the trip from Ashland.
By this time, a virus that originated in Wuhan, China had already made its way to the United States, claiming in Washington state its first of tens of thousands American lives.
Stay-at-home orders to stop the disease’s spread will keep me away from loved ones and church services for a while.
By this time, I already had cancer in a lump I’d discovered in my right breast.
But I don’t know any of that yet.
What I do know is that I’m sitting in a wooden pew with people I love, singing the church songs I sang as a child.
Whatever happens, I’ll keep this memory, too.