For years I have talked to my mom on the way to work.

Last year, around this time, I was taking a new route and in the morning there was this moment where I drove past a cattle ranch.  It was in a basin, often with a mist of fog filling the bowl, and this time of year it was moments after the most lovely parts of pretty sunrises.

I would interupt whatever we were talking about to say, “good morning, cows”

We talked about my new job.

We talked about her workouts.

We talked about my dad, who was dying.

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My dad died, and a few months later my route to work changed.  I didn’t see the cows in their fog bowl anymore.  Time passed and things happened.  In July my work route returned and I now drive past the cows again.  The light is changing and it is starting to feel more and more like the days last fall.  The cows are there, the basin filled with fog, conversations with my mom.

Different topics now.

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I keep thinking of reasons to go to Illinois.  I really want to see the pumpkin festival this year.  I miss my first in-laws because I didn’t get much of a visit this summer.  It is a pretty time of year up there.  Last year I was there a lot.  Some trips were planned, others were drop-everything, others were for memorials and hugs.  September lacks travel for me – but October is filled up, there isn’t a right time to go up there.  Not this fall.

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I’ve been trying to wrap my head around beginning my fundraising for Free to Breathe.  This lung cancer conference was amazing last year, their devotion to young researchers and bringing deep opportunities for involvement for laypeople, caregivers, and survivors is wonderful.  It is an organization pitched perfectly to the way I think about disease and healthcare and what we can be when we work together.

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I was sitting outside at the Free to Breathe conference eating a breakfast sandwich, looking at a fountain, and talking to mom on the phone when my heart really understood how close my dad was to dying.

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What I can do this year is fundraise and volunteer.  I might ask you to volunteer too, or donate, or hug me when you see me.

There isn’t enough research.

There isn’t enough understanding.

Not everyone “earns” their lung cancer.

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