A big apology to my online community–I do care about you

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Dave that said something like “OK, it’s close enough to thirty days since you posted that I’m worried about you.”

 He’s right. It’s not fair to just abandon things in mid-stream. But I’ve suffered from an amazing period of not being able to write. Here is the cause of the blockage:

My brother Tom is almost certainly dying. His doctor has told him that he no longer has any faith that his treatments will substantially improve his condition. The chemo has stopped the growth of the tumors in his lungs. The tumors in his head continue to grow. In a couple of weeks, they’ll try a slightly different treatment. But the prognosis is not good, and in the meantime, he is in pain.

I didn’t want to write that, but perhaps, having done so, I can go on and write about something else. I hope so.

At the moment, what I really want to do is go out in the night into the darkest part of the woods and scream at the universe about the unfairness of it all. If I thought it would really help, I would. But somehow I’m losing faith that the universe really cares.

Untimely death shakes your faith in “truth, justice, and the American way,” to quote someone (Superman, perhaps?). Death is a part of the life cycle, but it belongs in its proper place. It should not be allowed to intrude out of turn where it’s not expected.

One of my all-time favorite movies is Zorba the Greek with Anthony Quinn. There is a scene right after an untimely and brutal death where Zorba asks: “Why do the young die?”

The Englishman responds: “No one can answer that, although many men have tried to.”

Zorba, in exasperation, says: “What’s the good of all your damned books if they can’t tell you that?”

I’ve paraphrased the dialogue, but that exchange has stuck with me for 30 years or more. I’m a great believer in books. But I’m also a great believer in order, and frankly, the older I get, the less there is.

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8 Responses to “A big apology to my online community–I do care about you”

  1. Barbara Says:

    I’m sorry you’ve had such bad news, and especially that Tom is in pain. Loss is the one thing I hate most about getting older too. But I’m very glad to see your words posted here again. You were missed! Blessings to you and yours.

  2. Marianne Says:

    Barbara, thanks. I’m back and I’ll try not to go away again without warning. I just needed to get to the point I could admit the ugly facts to myself before I could go on around them.

  3. inger Says:

    there’s only one thing i know for sure: the universe cares about you as much as it cares about everyone else. that’s the beauty and the tragedy of it. you are small and significant. wrap your head around that one.

    even though i can’t be there, i am with you. as a human, as a daughter, as a friend. xoxoiak

  4. Marianne Says:

    Hugs, Inger. I may still go scream at the universe. ;^}

  5. another =) Mary Ann Says:

    Hi,
    I just happened by your blog and I am so sorry that your brother is so ill and that your family is suffering along with him. Life is not fair! Even though I don’t know you, I feel for your brother and your family. It’s hard to face this. I am glad your brother has you. I’m pulling for the new treatment. Never give up hope!

  6. Marianne Says:

    Thanks, Mary Ann.

  7. Patricia L.Lucas Says:

    Marianne: I knew something was wrong when I hadn’t heard from you for awhile. I’ve been cat and dog sitting these past months and don’t know when I’m home or away/coming or going (mostly to Catalina (60 miles north and Phoenix 100 miles beyond civilization.)
    I’m sorry to hear of your brother and suggest you DO give that scream! For me, when my sister died at age 42 (after five years of suffering), I took our favorite chinese checker board way out on a lighthouse pier one night and tossed the whole damn thing in — into the deep blue “sea” (Lake Michigan was sea enough for me.)
    Every DAY I think of her! In that sense she is still with me and my niece her only child, now 50. There is nothing I can tell you that will ease the burden. Just know that I am with you all these days — these hard days of pain and suffering all around. Peace and blessings!
    Pat

  8. Marianne Says:

    Thanks, Pat. I know I’m really a lousy correspondent, but as you can see from the long gap here, I’ve really not felt like writing anything lately. It’s getting better. Miss you.

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