Always wanted to travel,
dreamed of exotic places,
thriving metropolises,
worthwhile destinations –
where I’d be
a somebody,
make a difference,

Aptitude tests proclaimed proclivity –
candidate for leadership –
confidence to reach to the top,
know-how unnecessary,
if the hat fits,
I’d wear it –

Wasn’t prepared for the halt
in progress – ending up
in rural Ontario, nothing
but a mall for entertainment –
told myself life is what
you make it –
keep your chin up,
and all that.

Let a few of my dreams slide,
they’d be better off
without me, moved on
before I could reclaim them,
abandoned common sense
for irrationality; a call
for help

Assured others I was all right,
not to worry,
swallowed anxiety,
choked on my confusion,
broke down when the road
ended again,
there is no control center,
only ability

to respond,
and that sometimes
life leap-frogs
and sometimes
backwards is forwards;
is topsy-turvy
and not a well-oiled machine,
and no matter the direction,
the journey
will be


Paradise Rattled

Change rears its scaly head
espies my fragile structure,
seizes opportunity, slithers

I recoil, attempt composure,
downplay danger, pretend
control, waiver, vulnerability
blatant …

Disturbance quickens, doubles,
advances swiftly, a sinuous
menace seeking its prey,

I am defenseless:  retreat
impossible, denial futile;
praying for mercy, survival

The serpentine beast knows
no moral boundaries, writhes
to an ungodly call, devours

I brace myself, recall past
attacks – venomous fangs
ripping through fragile flesh –

Resiliency restores equilibrium
(must have developed immunity)
as the predator slinks away, sated

“Exactly Right”

Thor and I have a favourite game: fantasizing about what we’ll do when we win the Lottery.  We like to play it Friday nights, before the draw.  “What’s the first thing we’ll do when we win?”  Thor will ask.  We’ve spent countless hours indulging this dream.

Recently, we won a different lottery:  Thor has been diagnosed with Stage III cancer.  I can safely say we have not speculated about this possibility, and now that it has happened, we no longer have the luxury of speculating about what ifs.

Some say that everything that happens in life is exactly as it should be.  I have sat with this idea for weeks now, unable to respond.  What could possibly be “exactly right” about cancer?

Coming to terms with the diagnosis and choosing a treatment path has caused many sleepless nights and a whole gamut of unexpected fears.    The delusion of a lottery win has been replaced by the cold hard reality of our life situation.  ‘Someday’ is now ‘today’ as we find ourselves forced to make tough decisions and clean up our lives.  Finances, health, and unresolved issues have a new immediacy.

“Your quality of life will change,”  the doctors warned.  Even though we haven’t started treatments, it already has.  We will be downsizing our living space shortly, and the trip we planned for the upcoming holiday season has been cancelled.  We have rid our cupboards of unhealthy foods, and plan to make self-care a priority.  The physical trials that Thor will endure are yet to be seen.

Through all of this, one thing has remained constant: our love.  Family and friends, who have always mattered, become even more precious.

Now that we have made decisions, and taken actions to support a healthy life, we are both feeling calmer.  Is what is happening exactly right?  Ask us ten years from now.

As for now, “Don’t be so sure we didn’t win the Lottery,”  Thor tells me.  “If we didn’t find the cancer, we’d be telling a different story.”