When Brooke Lee won the Miss Universe pageant way the hell back in the day, she famously answered the interview question “if you could do anything, what would you do?” with “I would eat everything, twice.”
I didn’t wait that long.
A few years ago my beloved Aunt was diagnosed with cancer. It was the damnedest thing. She has no real symptoms until one day she fell in the shower, which resulted in a strange swelling. Turned out to be cancer.
There was hope. Chemo. Remission. Joy. Recurrence. Hope. Chemo. Hope. Desperation. hope. hope. hope.
Then she was gone.
Then there was just grief. Despair. Disbelief. Sadness. Anger. Bargaining. Despair. There is still despair.
I’ve been thin. It wasn’t much different than being fat, except the food wasn’t nearly as good. I remember an off comment I made once in our kitchen on Christmas about eating less, getting thinner. My aunt, in remission at the time, commented kindly but firmly that size and weight were the last things someone on chemo, who could barely keep any food down, worried about.
I remember feeling guilty. (The default feeling for Catholics.) But she was in remission. There was no cancer.
Joy. Joy. Joy.
Eight months later we were in a hospital room. My aunt was no longer talking. She certainly wasn’t eating. We kept bringing food, just in case. (hope) We brought vanilla cream soda. She loved vanilla cream soda. We brought every brand. Because maybe if she could get one sip in…
She never did. She wasted away. Then she died.
So I decided to live now. Enjoy everything now. Eat everything. See everything. Do everything.
Turned out fat was better. I (re)met my husband. Fell in love with him. Never worried he was here for the wrong reasons, or ever wanted anything but me. I never worry he’ll leave if I can get sick.
So there’s food. Hope. Laughter. Hope. Beauty. Hope. Music. Hope.
And once again, almost, nearly, there is joy.