On August 7, 2006 I was released from the hospital diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Some call itthe good cancer, and Curb Your Enthusiasm has a great episode about this. I just went on a three day rollercoaster ride without a safety harness. I knew I was sick but was not yetcertain if I was going to live to see some of the things I have seen today. I was scared. I did not want to die.
So many thoughts entered my head that weekend. I laid awake at night with my headphones on listening to the saddest songs I knew, trying to let go, letting my guard down, craving a moist pillowcase from a shower of tears. I could not let go. What was I afraid of? Was I scared to show weakness to those around me? I just wanted to cry and feel human.
Monday afternoon, as I packed my things and slowly made my way to the car, I just couldnt keep it in any longer. I was in the car with my dad, conversing without listening, just looking around at the things I have passed by for so many years without really knowing what it was I was seeing. A sad silence came upon us. I cannot imagine what my dad was going through. HIs first-born son may or may not live to give him a grandchild or pass on the family name. We may not go to another concert or enjoy many more meals. We crossed the Glenn Jackson Bridge into Vancouver on a perfect summer day. The reflection of the sun sparkled on the Persian blue waters of the Columbia, sail boats afloat without the worry of disease or death.
The Marching Bands of Manhattan began playing on the radio. I turned the volume up and was lost in dreams of the afterlife, seeing all the things I never got see in life flash before my eyes. I saw my family, my wife, my kids, my future, and my friends. We were all happy and in love with life. It was on this two mile strecth of bridge that I first felt that I was going to die. I heard the lyrics laid over the harmony of the song and the tears finally rolled down. I hid behind my sunglasses, staring out the window, wiping any sniffles away on my sleeve, and feeling a sense of reincarnation at the moment. This couldnt be all life was going to give me. With the last words and the final touch of the piano, I felt an immediate warmth come over me. There was too much to live for. Fuck cancer and fuck this disease. Let’s dance. Keep it coming, Im here to stay.
If I could open my arms
And span the length of the isle of Manhattan,
I’d bring it to where you are
Making a lake of the East River and Hudson
If I could open my mouth
Wide enough for a marching band to march out
They would make your name sing
And bend through alleys and bounce off all the buildings.
I wish we could open our eyes
To see in all directions at the same time
Oh what a beautiful view
If you were never aware of what was around you
And it is true what you said
That I live like a hermit in my own head
But when the sun shines again
I’ll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.
Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is gonna drown
Your love is gonna drown
Your love is gonna…