My grief support group improved last week, thanks for asking. I got a chance to tell a bit of our story, and actually, it was kind of good to let it sort itself out in my mind for a week. Listening to the other cancer spouses tell their story from beginning to end was just so traumatic.
It occurred to me that so many aspects of Chris’s cancer were so trite as to be almost banal. ‘Strong, healthy spouse experiences unusual pains, goes to family doctor,surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, hospice specialist, mortician.’ Good grief. It’s just so awful. And infuriating. We can spend billions of dollars on things like Cash for Clunkers and not know the symptoms of common cancers like the one that took Chris?
Well, enough ranting. Let’s see if I can make this next part interesting for you. PG,though, so be warned.
I stalked off the hillock with my brain buzzing with activity. My blonde dreads flew behind me as my organizational plans gelled.
Pen the animals and safeguard the children. Stockpile the food and dig for water.
Inventory the weapons, get a census of able bodied men and women warriors. Plan, plan, plan. The battle would be upon us, and I would not be caught unaware. I leapt into action.
My partner climbed the ridge to survey the distance. The advancing horde was rapidly approaching. It was as if an undulating darkness was spreading over the land.
He ran down the ridge, barking orders as he passed each situation.
“Lara! Bring me my lance. Kris, food, quickly. Mick, hide the horses, and take care of them.”
He looked at me. “I am depending on you. This is going to come to a battle like King David did with the Philistine in the old scrolls.” I remembered the story, passed down from scribe to scribe. But that was a myth, wasn’t it?
“How do you know?”
“The Captain told me. His orders are directly from the Prince. You are to support me, but the battle will rise or fall among us, and only here. “
No. How can this be true? Never.
“You are to start with the children. Go and pray, help them safeguard their own hearts and wear their armor solidly. Next, get the warriors together. We need to talk to all of them.”
I gathered the children together. Their faces were so beautiful, I could hardly bear it. Bravery, ignorance, naked fear, all of them on the faces of our flock.
“He’s going to have to fight this alone, but we will be with him at every place we can.” Heads nodded.
“We’ll find the things that give him strength. We will give him all the weapons we can find. Like the fathers of old, if his arms get tired, we will hold them up.”
More nodding. “But he’ll be okay?” One of the younglings, in a trembling voice.
“He could be. People have been. That’s what we’ll ask the Prince for.” We got on our knees and held hands. We pleaded with the Prince to save our leader, and to lead us away from the encroaching darkness.
Something hovered at the outside boundaries of my hearing. I strained, trying to make it out. Cursing, growling, repulsive retching growing slowly nearer.
My partner appeared before me. “Come with me to the narrow way, we can hide there for a minute and talk.”
We crouched against a granite passageway that lead to a grassy meadow and a stream. There was only one way in, a perfect spot to safeguard the food animals. Or be cornered and die.
“I am going to run out to meet them, I’ve eaten, and all of my weapons are sharp. You brief the rest of the company about what is going on, and then run behind me to catch up. Don’t you forget to prepare before you come.”
I looked at his face, scarred with so many years of effort. I had grown to love every one.
I hugged him fiercely across his broadly muscled chest, and turned to bound across the scree to the waiting company.
“People, the hordes are advancing. This is indeed the day of battle. He has been told that he is going to have to fight this alone, but that isn’t exactly the case. This is what I think we have to do.
Alex, organize transport. We may have to relocate in a hurry. Abi, if we have to leave, make sure the enemy can’t find a trace of us. Beck, don’t lose a child and make sure we have enough for them to eat at all times. Drew…”
“Drew. Walk with me.” Some said Drew had a special connection with the Prince himself. It seemed like Drew had an answer for everything. Drew was a gentle, diminutive figure, and masked a fierce devotion to our cause.
Tears threatened to cascade down my face as I spoke to Drew. Rage rapidly boiled up to take it’s place.
“What the hell is going on? How can the Prince let this happen? After all these years, decades even of devoted service, and he leads us into an unwinnable battle? Is He like David and Uriah in the old stories? A traitor who serves his own strategy and leaves his followers to die pointlessly? What is going on?”
Thanks again for listening, gang. I really appreciate it.