So many of our friends are concerned. How are you guys doing? is the question we hear most frequently. Then, how is Jeremy?
Probably, the answer to that is pretty much summarized in the hand-printing given to me by one of Jeremy and Angela’s neighbors on his business card. Loren Iverson visited Jeremy when he was sound asleep and asked me to pass this on to Jeremy. Which I will do, when he is awake and I remember!
Angela’s post last night gave the most recent update. Go to their Facebook Page for an articulate explanation: Jeremy Angela Mains. Briefly, doctors think they have discovered what looks to be a spot of lymphoma near the auditory nerve in Jeremy’s brain. This is grave, of course; and they hope to start a 15-day round of radiation on Monday—at least that’s the last word. Sometimes I feel that the Lord is creating an environment in which He can display his works and using my son as the object lesson. Stay tuned.
As to how we olders are doing. Loren’s card says: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight . . . It’s the size of the fight in the dog!!” Certainly, Jeremy has fight in him, and we have been known to be pretty dogged scrappers ourselves.
Last Tuesday, sitting for almost two hours in the dentist chair, I finally had time to consider what I would miss about Jeremy if he would die. When this Cancer Journey first started, I couldn’t bear to think that one day I might not hear his voice on the phone, “Hi Mom! It’s Jer.” Then I thought of my parents; I clearly remember their voices, the things they said, and they have been gone for decades. I wouldn’t lose this gift. One way or another, I’ll be hearing Jeremy saying, “Hi Mom! It’s Jer,” all the days of my life.
I began to discover in this dentist-chair-meditation (“Bite down a little harder,” says the dentist) that I would recount air bands on long car rides, of two little boys calming their spirits—one on one church pew and the other on another. Jeremy, the great conversationalist, who has been tutoring me on the last 50 years of popular music during the early days of his cancer, always rising to intellectual exchange. His passion for those no one else has passion for: the immigrant community grateful for his help. My surprise at how great a Dad he has been. His pride in his wife, Angela. There will be 41 years of memories. Our Mom/son trip to Guadalajara (last kid/travel privileges.) Jeremy leading David and me through Italy with his just-acquired tourist Italian.
Suddenly, I looked up from the dentist chair at the empty television screen (which I thanked the dental assistant for turning off) and I could see Jer striding toward me, handsome, smiling (with hair!), while a soft light grew behind him. Imagination? A moment of pre-cognition? Spiritual vision? A notion of Heaven? I do not know, but he was also swinging a baby in the ubiquitous infant carrier, which has been constant equipment over the last years. Do they have those in heaven?
There is a phrase that keeps coming to me, “Love is even stronger than death.” I have repeated it as a mantra to ease my heart. “Love is even stronger than death.”
This morning I had a moment to look up the full quote in my prayer journal. “For to him that loveth, nothing is difficult, nothing is impossible; because love is stronger than death. Oh, may love fill and rule my heart. For then there will spring up and be cherished a likeness of character, and union of will, so that I may choose and refuse what Thou dost.”
Give me that kind of love Oh, Lord. Let it be the grace I carry forward from all this.
A friend and I made plum upside-down-cake for the 11th floor hematology staff. I left it in the kitchen with a note of thanks. The sitters, women hired to stay with a patient who can’t fend for himself, and I often pray together. Sometimes Jeremy’s room is like being in a Black church. He would like that. I wish I could find a friend who could play jazz, classical music and hymns (someone who lives nearby). There is a grand piano in the visitors’ lounge, and when it is played, all the patients in their rooms and the staff who tend to them can hear the sound.
Love is even stronger than death.
~~ Karen Mains