In defence of tears

“Summary: No discrete lung nodules. No abnormalities.” When I read those words I began to cry. Softly at first, but with increasing intensity, until I decided to stay in my room until I could control the tears and keep them  from my wife. It took a full 20 minutes before I could venture out. In the interim I texted each of our kids with the good news and whispered a couple of heartfelt thanks to my maker. He surely had helped.

It all made me think of where I am in life and how I got here. I met my wife some 38 years ago. She had legs that made me decide immediately that I must dance with this woman, and we’ve been dancing together (figuratively) ever since. She was a widow with five kids, great legs, and an attitude that still surprises me after all this time. We married at Christmas time that year, and I’ve never looked back.

The kids were truly their mother’s children: all with that honest, open attitude of hers. They welcomed me warmly (not usual for kids aged 9 to 16 who find a new guy in the house), and over the years have made feel as much their father as anyone could ever be. They call me “Pop” now, because to THEIR children I’m “Papa”, which seems to give the excuse to address me fondly without actually saying “dad”. That was the honor reserved for their natural father, whom I’d insisted I would not and could not replace when I married their mom. I was simply  called Vince until Pop became handy.

This wonderful family and I struggled through the usual kinds of things that families do, from fights over dishes and other chores to “grounded” for this and here’s a couple of bucks for that. Even when we lost the second oldest boy in a stupid car crash we all held each other and kept each other going. We stayed strong for each other and we all survived it, though I still wonder how.

And now there had been this terror. In the midst of grandkids getting advanced degrees and great grandkids (there are 2) learning to walk and talk and enjoy the world, there was the unspoken demon. To even say the word “cancer” had been unthinkable. Yet the CAT-scan had been ordered because of “multiple nodules” spotted on an earlier x-ray. And the subsequent waiting for this test and rescheduling of that test, and finally having the scan and waiting for results had taken a great deal out of each of us until I read those words: “No discrete lung nodules. No abnormalities”. All except for my wife and that amazing attitude of hers, because she had never even considered “cancer” to be a possibility, even as I and my kids sweated bullets. And it was HER CAT-scan.

And that’s why it took me so long to stop bawling and go tell her how glad I was about the results. God had given her back to me for a while longer.

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