I started this blog as a way of remembering.
When your world changes drastically, you’d think it would be hard to forget, but eventually you right your upturned apple cart and keep moving and what was once unimaginable is just…your life.
I was afraid, at first. Our cabinets were filled with chemotherapy pills and my bedside reading was replaced with books and pamphlets about tumors. I was going to Wikipedia for all the wrong reasons. I was sucked into a rabbit hole of sick people and their sad family members and it was terrible and terrifying.
And then I stopped. I threw out every book and every piece of pastel collateral provided by the hospital in an honest-to-goodness accordion folder with tabs like “prognosis” “prescriptions” “receipts” and other depressing items that indicate you have a long, fucked up road ahead of you.
I rejected a well-intentioned offer to visit a support group and I banished myself from any of the message boards I’d lurked on because we didn’t need sickness and sadness and fear. We could make plenty of that on our own, thanks.
Like all personal pains and tragedies, this is scary and it can be lonely. Each of our human troubles is 100% universal and 100% unique: we are not the first couple to fall in love and face down brain cancer, and we won’t be the last, but damn if it doesn’t feel sometimes like I’m discovering emotions never felt by any human heart in the history of the world.
These are the things that connect us through space and time and the things that isolate us in our own sorrows.
That shadow of death can scare you into giving up or push you to live, and that’s exactly what we needed. We needed life.
So I started this blog to stoke our light in the face of all this darkness, and through the magic of the Internet I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with other men and women enduring a journey they never intended to take, been touched by people who care enough to see us down this path.
Each email, each comment, each like and tweet is a little light, and light by light by light this path is easier to walk.
Nora + Aaron + Baby Buster
PS—If you use the “ask” feature on Tumblr but don’t include an email address I have no way of replying to you outside of publishing your question. If you’d like a private reply, please include your email address or email me at nora dot mcinerny at gmail dot com
Aaron’s brain tumor has given us a ravenous hunger for life that’s directly proportionate to the intense gratitude we have for every day on this planet.
It’s discovery kick-started us to do all of the living we could: to get married, to have another wedding reception, to have a child, to sell our house, to drive North until we hit the edge of it all, to head west into the desert and consider turning south and never coming back.
It’s made us want to stay up late and wake up early. No, go to bed early and wake up late. To go to IKEA on a Saturday afternoon. To watch Friday Night Lights until 2 am. To read him my childhood diaries out loud. To eat more. To eat healthier. To eat a Shamrock Shake even though it’s poison because it’s a poison that is only available for a limited time. To run. To meditate. To grow (and kill) a garden. To spend a full day in our pajamas. To generate ideas for new businesses to start and new movies to write and new places to go that neither of us have ever seen before.
No amount of gratitude can satisfy this hunger. Our baby’s face makes us want five more babies (or one, according to Aaron, who isn’t as Irish Catholic as I am). NOW. Aaron casually suggests I dye my hair pink? DONE. We see something we like in a store? PURCHASED.
I want to find every book or poem or song that ever meant anything to me and read it out loud to him until it’s as much a part of his being as it is mine. I want to build a time machine and watch his whole life unfold so there isn’t a minute of his existence that is unfamiliar to me.
"Why don’t you slow down a minute," my dad said the other night, "you’ve got enough going on right now."
No, sir. There’s no such thing as too much. And even if there were, we’d be nowhere close.